Noise as ??? (series: The Word on Noise, part 11)


by Dave Skipper

One of the many hats that noise wears is one of anti-expectation:

Negatively, noise as anti-expectation is a harbinger of disappointment or fear when expectations are curtailed, ruined, or otherwise not met. In this mode, noise quells what you were listening to, or intrudes with its classic unwantedness (like things that go bump in the night, startling you out of slumber), or enacts a sub-par version of what you were hoping for.

Positively, noise as anti-expectation is the delightfully unexpected: a new experience wrought as a jolt, a surprise, a U-turn, a mystery… thus side-stepping expectations like the humour of that brazen beetle who will not crawl onto your finger, or even surpassing expectations like an over-zealous catapult. Noise music compositions or performances sometimes tap powerfully into this zone, to memorable effect.

Out of place sounds: decontextualised, recontextualised. Extreme dynamics: quiet-loud, soft-harsh. Unrecognisable noises, bizarre sonic combinations.

In this article,

(Disclaimer: If you are disappointed that this article has not met your expectations, please read something else on this blog, or wait for future scripts about heavenly harmonies, earthly escapades, and hellish happenings…)

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