Music Review: Noise or Music?

Music Review: Noise or Music?

By AKHIL SOOD | | 12 January, 2013

Part of the Live at Clouds Hill box-set, the Omar Rodriguez Lopez (The Mars Volta's master of puppets) and Faust (i.e. German Krautrock experts Werner "Zappi" Diermaier and Jean-Herve Peron) collaboration is an exercise in, well, I don't know what exactly. What I do know is that it's a German man (Zappi) yelling profanities in German, backed up by his band-mate pounding the digital life out of an electronic drum kit, and Omar buzzing around on his guitar, specialising in tense, atonal sounds for the duration of the 20-or-so-minute improvisation.

This experimental, avant-garde performance piece pushes the threshold of music, transgressing into noise all too frequently and effortlessly, as the man on the mic proclaims, "This is not music, this is not us, we are not here." Soon enough (and right on cue), out comes some kind of a jackhammer drilling the floor, following which Zappi follows suit, decimating an acoustic guitar with a chainsaw, before smacking it on the floor. It's all some kind of vanguard horror experiment and, for the uninitiated (and the initiated too, actually), it's a highly unsettling auditory experience. Nevertheless, the purpose of this very indulgent process most likely spills over beyond mere aesthetics, testing as it does the idea of noise as a genre of music (or sound) and music as a performance spectacle.

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