The HXA New Art Ensemble / ZGA

Noise & Fury: Noise Music Festival -- June 15-17, 2000

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Although the title of this Russian compact disc implies a compilation covering the activities of a three-day festival, the recorded program consists of works by only two different artists, one of which is a solo despite what sounds like a group name. The first part of the CD's title certainly makes sense, however; the HXA New Art Ensemble perform the piece "Noise," while "Fury" is a creation of St. Petersburg's Nick Sudnik. Although the former piece might cause serious physical injury if force-fed to a lounge music buff, listeners who really soak up a lot of noise music might find it a trifle on the light side, as many of the sounds have an overly processed digital computer sound, whether they were created that way or not. The performers do have an endearing way of entering after a long silence with an obnoxious sound, the results again possibly dangerous to anyone taking Beta-blockers. The opening of the extended "Noise" performance sounds like someone trying to hook up an '80s keyboard sampler with the wrong patch chords, blowing up several fuses in the amplifier along the way. A certain complexity is sacrificed along the way, but it is almost admirable the way the three musicians are able to limit their involvement with each other to the simplest and most slowly developing events. It is not music which anyone is making to impress anyone with technique, that much is true. "Fury" strains the listener's appetite for trivia by announcing itself as an "answer" to the piece "Tranquiliser" by Otomo Yoshihide. Both performances are collections of dozens of tiny pieces, everything created with turntables and electronics. The larder has been raided here; it is an incomplete version of Sudnik's work that is featured here, at 45 minutes combining with the previous piece to make a disc that is loaded. While the first seconds of the performance immediately establish the ground rules for noise content, as in plenty, Sudnik does not immediately disappoint by letting the most commonly and easily created turntable effects rule the roost. He has a great compositional sense, even when using sounds that might remind the listener of a wagon full of rocks being dragged up a driveway. "Noise" is divided into four sections, while its companion gets sliced up into 40 individual parts. Skipping around randomly amongst all these tracks is enjoyable, sometimes even providing more contrast and excitement than the performers themselves were able to come up with, although that might be part of the idea.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick