Sonic City 2017

12.11 2017

The New Blockaders

Sonic City SUNDAY

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The New Blockaders may sound like a hip Indie Rock band, and they may want you to believe such a thing to lure unsuspecting listeners. As merchants of 'anti-music,' they embrace Luigi Russolo's 1913 Art of Noise manifesto and although Russolo is widely credited as being the first major noise theorist, contemporary Noise artists like TNB were the first to progress from the use of noise as assault on tonality to the development of a rich, complex language capable of subtleties of shade and nuance without sacrificing any of its feral power or ability to unlock repressed personae in the listener.
 
Their manifesto (1982) proclaims, 'Blockade is resistance. It is our duty to blockade and induce others to blockade: Anti-music, anti-art, anti-books, anti-films, anti-communications. We will make anti-statements about anything and everything. We will make a point of being pointless…’ Everything about TNB entails refusal. The title of their collection Gesamtnichtswerk is important here. It reminds us of Wagner’s dream of the ‘total art work’ – the Gesamtkunstwerk, but the art is replaced by nothing.
 
Lazier souls than I would place TNB within the pantheon-lineage of UK Industrial, although they have more in common with the Futurists and (maybe) Einsturzende Neubauten (without the ‘songs’): Electrical tools, metal, ear-shredding static noise - the very definition of nihilism through sound. Superficial similarities exist to forebearers like AMM's free form music aesthetic, Throbbing Gristle's Second Annual Report and Lou Reed's one-off decadent, noise-loop experimentation Metal Machine Music. 
 
They served as a major influence on legendary Noise pioneers as Merzbow and their influence on the current crop of popular crossover Noise artists such as Prurient and Wolf Eyes is immeasurable. Collaborations in recent years with artists such as Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore have brought their anti-sound to a younger and diverse audience. 
 

 

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