Saturday, October 01, 2005

Joseph Roemer's Noise Manifesto

I figured that since this has gotten posted, emailed, cut-n-pasted everywhere else, then why not here at the Harshnoise Blog? I present to you, Joe Roemer's (aka Macronympha) Noise Manifesto.

So many people have asked me lately , "Why noise?" What do I like about it and why do I choose to perform/record it? Obviously, some snobbish elitist will comment, "You all are talented musicians ... So why not do pieces more accessible, more traditional and more 'musical'." I piss on all of your heads and ask you, "Why not just jump out the goddamn window right now? You're going to die anyway." Fools. Here is one person's reason for being a noisehead. It is nothing more than my own vision and perhaps has little to do with how other noise artists define their purposes. We are indeed a varied and multi-dimensional group of people.

Joe's Manifesto of Noise. Not all of Macronympha. First, I'll admit it up front, Yes...making noise is a f&*king blast! To be able to crush a whole array of traditional guitar-player power chords on the demolition scale of merely using electronics is certainly a pleasant exercise in using sheer force to set a rhythm and an abrasive and crunching lead pattern.

Using noises, electronics, regular instruments and found metal to sculpt our sound is an endless challenge to explore and utilize. Until the advent of all this digital circuitry - one was somewhat limited (and very easily bored) just being able to experiment within so called "band" or "musical" formats. As players we all play all instruments - so I for one like the improvisation aspect of creating noise. We can do gorgeous piano, searing guitar grunge, industrial dance beat, etc. - all of the poplar crap, but it bores the living sh*t out of me - just like playing jazz or classical chords on my acoustic guitar. If you're good - why rehearse?

Performing noise is a constant roller-coaster ride of thrills. So much you can do. My techniques change regularly and once new pieces of sound or tech hardware are mastered - I can file them in my noise repertoire and bring them out or f*ck with them at any time in any way. Makes for a comprehensive tool-kit of so-called "instruments" at my disposal. I see them as sound generators. Noise is fulfilling on two levels. It is confrontational and emotional. If your crowd hates you, you can hate them back and make their guts churn and their ears bleed. Noise lets you perform how you feel exactly at the time. No having to repeat your songs the same night after night - no venting your anger inwardly or merely by thumping on a drum kit or chopping down on your guitar or bass a lot harder with your hands. Noise is power. It is an artist's dream when it comes to composing/creating an alien environment. Noise is its own dimension and when you are immersed in it you must (and do) go wherever it takes you. As an audience you are our prisoner or our collaborative partner.

I perform much how I feel that day. I have my noise arsenal fully loaded but one day I might use mostly effects and amps - another day drums and vocals - or that same week play keyboards. Sometimes I'll fly around like a maniac and do twenty different things or half a dozen all at once. Trying to harness the raw voltage, wattage, and power juicing over the stage is intoxicating with just enough elements of unpredictable surprises.

Imagine, full power up...5-6 amps all up to (10) ten - looping, crashing, feeding back creating layer upon layer of texture. I control the dynamics, the range of pitch; the rhythm and speed of the attack. It's like trying to harness electricity in a jar or trying to put a lasso around a lightning bolt. Noise is the mood setting king of all soundstages. Just look at how much great noise grabs you by the throat and beats your senses around when you're up close to the speakers at a movie theater. It disorients and it is not the kind of stuff an audience can expect to hear or sing along to. I love noise because it is obscure and hard to listen to.

Studio work is the more creative side of noise and it is within this environment that actual composed pieces are most often realized. I can exert far greater control over my piercing electronics and use all of the multi-track dubbing tricks at my disposal to distort even further the sound sources and the basic rhythm foundations. Not all noise pieces however need recognizable structures within textures. Sometimes no rhythm exists or simply a static wash of white noise is constant. The out of control stuff usually turns out to be incredible when recorded properly and I like the fact that much of the noise I make is more aggressive in the Japanese or English terrorist style; than in the academic or more minimalist styles of the collage artists, the concretists, or the sound poets. Power electronics are the minimum standards I need to personally get excited about creating an artistic explosion of sound. I guess to some extent I am a cultural terrorist and I like to cause discomfort. So many things piss me off about greed, politics and government. The fat and stupid mediocrity of Middle America. I could easily become a violent gun-toting mad man vigilante . . . and start a mass murder rampage targeted at corporate CEO's whose factories dump toxic waste in rural neighborhoods and against red-neck fundamentalist conservatives who preach jesus, pedophile children and who support republicans. I could choke the bankers who foreclose on small businesses in rough economic times and who likewise toss families out in the street to get their homes.

Instead, however, I make brutal noise. To me it is beautiful. It is soul-filling, peace-giving, and my muse. I can bludgeon you to death with it - or create haunting, eerie pieces of skin-crawling mayhem. It is the soundtrack to my life.

I can bang my metal senseless and take out frustrations and anxieties. I am noise . . . and noise is me. It is chaos but it is also comfort. It is all purpose, and then again it is random and continuous. It is everything all at once . . . and it is really nothing at all. To be the master of the overviolence is all the respite an artist can hope to achieve. While listening to Macronympha at loud volumes I guarantee you won't fall asleep or be bored or ambivalent. Come into my world - but don't stay too long. I could care less if anyone out there actually likes our stuff. We do this for our own selves, and I personally like distance between myself and much outside socializing. If I wasn't a noisician and if I didn't get high regularly, I'd be far too morbid and relentless - and wouldn't be someone anyone would enjoy being around for too long.

Someday I'd like to ultimately merge some of this soundscape-vision into a dual reality by composing noise backgrounds for film projects. If anyone out there has a feature or anything longer than ten (10) minutes to score or do a soundtrack for, please e-mail this account. Not just CMU students either. I want other driven and deranged people to send me ideas for what they want done with noise as music for their movies, plays, or performance/installation pieces.

Much of what is truly excellent in the realm of recorded noise today are in fact collaboration projects with many contributors. Still though most noiseheads are solo individuals who see their own vacant sound canvas with unique and exclusive eyes that ultimately make some kind of a mental picture. When I listen to Merzbow, I close my eyes and see images intended, and images never imagined. The appreciation (or hatred) of noise is purely an individual relationship, based on one's own taste.

Joseph Roemer of Macronympha

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Blogger Miguel Rodriguez said...

yes merzbow is good. as is mike patton. i wonder if you share any of the same feelings for any other sound artists?. Cage or Russolo?

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


8:54 PM  

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