Headline: The beauty of noise
Layercake: Three days of Norcal Noisefest in Sacramento
By ELENA BUCKLEY
Aggie Arts Writer
What is noise? Is it something that’s annoying and abrasive that wakes you up at three in the morning? Is it only liberating and fun for teenagers while harmful and ear-shattering for the older generations? Or, does noise have more potential to be appreciated as something radical and enjoyable?
Norcal Noisefest is a three-day event in Sacramento that will embrace and showcase 47 bands and artists who dabble in this unnamable genre.
Lob, the creative director for the event said in an e-mail interview that Noisefest started in 1995 in order to “showcase audio experimentalism and outsider sound art and its diverse sub-genres including but not limited to: power electronics, drone, experimental musics, free jazz, conceptual, feedback, glitch, IDM[cq], minimalism and others.”
The festival begins Oct. 16 and ends Oct. 18. The first night starts at 7 p.m. at Luna’s Café located at 1414 16th St., and the next two nights will take place at The Greens Hotel located at 1700 Del Paso Blvd. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for $10 a night, or $40 for a weekend pass which includes a complimentary t-shirt and compilation CD.
“NOISE is not really a type as [it is] a description. If you cannot describe what you are hearing with genre titles and type classifications that you already have knowledge of, chances are that it’s noise,” Lob said. “Noise in general is loud but that isn’t always true. Noise in general has no lyrics, noise in general has no melody, noise in general is simply noise. As a genre, it has popularity with people from early teens (and younger!) to 50-plus-year-old adults.”
Superzapper Recharge will be the first band to play on day three at 1 p.m. Band creator Blake Williams said in an e-mail interview that they are moving “more in the direction of being a rock band.” He said “the idea this year is to make as much noise as we can within our new ensemble, kicking up tons of guitar feedback, pedal noise and overdrive.”
The participants in Noisefest get creative with noise and put on a show that essentially breaks the conventional music mold.
“It gives a communal environment for atypical musicians and other sound performers to make each other deaf and marvel at the overall strangeness of the craft,” Williams said. “By the end of the second day, your brain pretty much turns to Jell-o and everything ceases to make sense, enabling either the start of a spirit quest or an epic bender.”
On Oct. 15, there will be two free pre-Noisefest events taking place in Davis. At 7 p.m. Chinapainting, a guitar duo from New York and Oaxaca, Mexico, will join Davis’ Mucky the Ducky and Sacramento’s Chad E. Williams to perform at the John Natsoulas Gallery on First Street. Then at 11 p.m., Noisefest acts and local artists Xome, Liver Cancer, Hypnotic Injection and Lob will be live on KDVS 90.3 FM in Studio A.
“If you listen to [Mucky the Ducky] you will hear that while his music is quite different than what you would hear on any radio station above 92.1 FM, it is quite listenable and beautiful, so it should illustrate the variety of music you can hear at a festival like this,” said Cody Duncan, senior technocultural studies major and local musician.
Noise, whether it be banging sheet metal around, increasing levels of feedback or playing with different electrical pitches, can be manipulated into a cohesive idea and an interesting performance.
“It mainly appeals to eclectics and extremists,” Williams said. “The average college student record collector who’s about burned him/herself out on everything will find a lot to see here. Punks looking for something louder/more violent than grindcore will love an act like +DOG+. Avant-garde enthusiasts who’ve suddenly decided that Sun Ra is just too well put together may find something in walls of distortion and banging sheet metal. Although it’s probably not for everyone, everyone should try it at least once.”
For more information and a full line-up and schedule go to norcalnoisefest.com
ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.