Experimental
Islamic Noise

Islamic Noise

Characterized by waves upon waves of feedback, atonal beats, and strange sounding squelches and squeals, power electronics is purposely and unapologetically abrasive, even more so than most noise music, of which it is a subgenre. To listen is to be immersed. Without that tonality, that rhythm, there is often little for the listener to grab onto but what is being put forward, thematically. More»

The Noise of War

The Noise of War

Context equals genre. Or so one might surmise, concerning Israeli noise. With labels like Tophet Prophet gaining international recognition, and artists playing to growing audiences, the idiom has touched a nerve. This is a recent development. In the mid-1980s, when ur-band Duralex Sedlex – Latin for “the law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law”–  first started, it was in an environment dominated by pop and folk rock.  More»

From Crisis to Sol Invictus

From Crisis to Sol Invictus

Tony Wakeford has been making music since 1977, starting with political punks Crisis. Wakeford and ex-Crisis members started the seminal postpunk/neofolk Death in June. Afterwards came his current project, Sol Invictus. Wakeford’s career has not been without controversy. He recently discussed his legacy with Souciant. More»

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon are one of the big guns of contemporary neofolk. Arriving a generation after founders like Death in June, Sol Invictus, and Current 93, Of the Wand & the Moon have breathed new life into this beautiful and perennially misunderstood genre. OTWATM’s 2011 The Lone Descent LP is widely regarded as a neofolk masterpiece. More»

The Party is Still Over

The Party is Still Over

Political activism, and especially political music, has always suffered from the problems of nuance and restraint. In order to get your point across to the masses, you can’t just stand on the street corner with a megaphone and scream at everyone. If you’re lucky, all that will happen is that you’ll be ignored. If you’re unlucky, you might find yourself in jail or a mental asylum. More»

A Brief History of Noise, Part I

A Brief History of Noise, Part I

In the 1970s, older folks regarded punk as untalented, amateur, and above all, noise. Only a few years after its arrival, British artists affiliated with the punk and postpunk scenes co-opted the “noise” designation, turned it into a badge of pride, and pushed the sonic envelope further than many believed possible. More»

The Postpunk Legacy of Crass Records

The Postpunk Legacy of Crass Records

Record labels are a funny thing. Just like bands, they can be objects of cultish devotion. Factory, Dischord, 4AD, Rough Trade, and others all have fans who look to a label’s branding as an indication of a band’s style, ethics, and quality. This goes back to the days of Sun Records in the 1950s. Crass Records‘ reputation as a purist punk label is due for reexamination. More»

Willard Avenue

Willard Avenue

Part of my daily routine includes a walk to and from a subway station located at Bloor and Jane, one of the streets I walk almost every day. This route has become almost second nature to me. I can almost walk it with my eyes closed. In fact I often do, trying to find my footing, one step in front of the other, by listening. More»

Hungarian Mettle

Hungarian Mettle

This is a piece I recently rediscovered while transferring audio from old DAT tapes. It first developed as a guitar practice exercise in 1988. I was rehearsing non-standard time signatures, while listening to 4/4 rock beats. What evolved was a little figure in 7/8 that sounded similar to a tune by one of my favorite groups, Massacre (Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Fred Maher.) This riff may have developed while trying to learn how to play Massacre’s Killing Time. What emerged from this exercise was a Massacre pastiche. More»

Decline of the Record Store

Decline of the Record Store

As I was finishing a Hawaiian plate lunch with my daughter and her mother in Encinitas, they announced that they were going to do some “girl” shopping on the main drag. I said I’d come along. But then I was overcome by a familiar urge. More»

God Didn't Like Them

God Didn’t Like Them

The Christal Methodists began working together during the late 1980s. Formed at Portland, Oregon’s Reed College, the group went through several lineup changes (and one band name) before it released its first cassette under the Methodist moniker on its own Goy Division label, in September 1994. More»

Ambient Means Subtle

Ambient Means Subtle

Most mornings I wake up in my personal panopticon and set myself to making quiet guitar, tape or music box pieces over coffee.  This collection includes some such pieces encompassing the past year or so.
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