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Confetti - Your Future

Music Is Torture

7 September 05 words: Amanda Young
Pushes the amount one can digest aurally to the point of hearing double, wobbling on the spot and being violently nauseous

“Music is torture” is the sort of thing that pushes the amount one can digest aurally to the point of hearing double, wobbling on the spot and being violently nauseous... yet I love it. It has an endearing quality of reminding me that I am human, but that I can escape this very containment too.

At the back end of August the Old Angel was host to a line up of American, Swiss and British noise and sound-performance artists. This experimental evening was presented to us by Mr Scarr and Harbinger sound of Nottingham. Mr Scarr had warned that it was to be a “ruthless explosion of adventures in noise.”

Emil Beaulieau, America’s greatest living noise artist gave a unique performance. Like an insomniac on speed he was grinding to the pulsating rhythms of the one-armed turntable, spitting gruelling vocals down the mic. Pulling and distorting sound, his live frenzy found new avenues in the LP track “Emil is pain jerk” taken from his new release “America’s greatest noise” on Sonic Youth’s Ecstatic Peace label. A crowd pleaser full of physical comedy he would dash about in the space made by the jeering audience pointing a contact mic at each member and then lunge back to the deck and fumble the mic on the record sending a surge of shambling noise out of the huge speakers. Love it.

Female Analog noise artist Jessica Rylan had the audience physically on their knees with her voice distortions and delays. Like being caught in a menagerie in Carol Lewis’ adventure story. There is a sense I could understand a word but before uncoding it, the sound seeped into another void as wires are criss-crossed and Rylan swept back to the other side of the audience. Graceful, disastrous and well applauded for the unplugged rendition of “wishing well,” she has a voice like jazz fingers on a piano. I caught up with her P.R. Ben Mitchell. He told us Rylan is influenced by Emily Lou Harris, Mary J Blige and Johnny Scarr. Intrigued by her style she apparently aspires to the likes of Alley McBeal with a bit of Sarah Jessica Parker ready to break through.

Finally, worth a mention is Grant, UK artist from Onomatopoeia who performed throttling vocals from a bellowing voice box. In terms of rhythmic complexity, Onomatopoeia was in a league of its own. Clean thrashings of mic on metal building a drum and bass line was re-hashed with precision. A twiddle of knobs and distortion rattled the foundations of the Old Angel. Beautifully executed, the two sheets of metal gaffer taped together and sat atop two beer crates, like an angels harp with punk-arse scrawled on it.

The other acts became a little tiresome, hards-ons were had, and sweat was flung in the room whilst blood was dripping from a sliced knee. Performance to its capital as men ravaged the stage ripping and ribbing at reggae beats with hiphop talking noise-sense over and over whilst indie art school kids broke the grove in stripy t-shirts and plastic pearl necklaces. Come on then give us more and let’s try it out for size.



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