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Noise/Music: A History
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Noise/Music: A History

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  233 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Noise/Music looks at the phenomenon of noise in music, from experimental music of the early 20th century to the Japanese noise music and glitch electronica of today. It situates different musics in their cultural and historical context, and analyses them in terms of cultural aesthetics. Paul Hegarty argues that noise is a judgement about sound, that what was noise can beco ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published August 15th 2007)
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Apr 03, 2014 Connor rated it it was ok
About as engaging and informative as a review on Pulse Demon written by a 17 year-old RYM user who just discovered the work of Gilles Deleuze and Karl Marx. Both tinged in the same boring pseudo-academia pretenses.
Jul 25, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: musicians, outsider music fans, fans of Merzbow and electronic music
I was initially only going to read a chapter or two as research for a paper that I was writing, but after that paper was done I got completely immersed. Each chapter is set up like a research paper in and of itself, but obviously relating back to the overarching topic of "Noise" - either as music, in music etc.

Several chapters in the beginning actually begin as a very in depth study into the history of rock music and "other" music and where other histories of "rock" follow that branch from the B
Aug 28, 2008 Walid rated it it was ok
starts off the discussion of noise on rather interesting therotical foundations, only to ruin things one step at a time with every chapter that is being read. despite his criticism of past teleological approaches to the subject matter (or avant-garde music), i find his book to be too chronological and teleological as it slowly leads the reader to a self-indulgent, culminating panegyric on merzbow (to whom he devotes an entire chapter, instead of exploring the richness of the japanese – or otherw ...more
May 23, 2009 M-R-N-D-R rated it really liked it
Shelves: music-history
really helpful book, covers all sorts of western transgressive musics, mostly focusing on the "popular" forms (noise, japanoise, industrial, techno, prog, punk, rock and roll, sound art), and their theoretical precursors.

This book has a lot of faults. Unfortunately, free improv is only mildly covered, and classical music hardly at all covered. Both of these Heggarty looks down upon as "high" art, even though I'm not so sure it's that clear cut of a distinction--I think this is just his personal
Apr 08, 2008 pianogal rated it did not like it
Shelves: tried-to-read
Ok, I can't read this book because I totally disagree with the author's viewpoint that noise is bad. The first ten pages of this book (which, admittedly, is all the farther I read) discuss nothing but how noise is chaos, and it's negative, and how all noise is dangerous. All noise is not dangerous...yes, it can be potentially harmful...but the sound of water in the shower is not going to damage my hearing. In fact, I think that most people who fall asleep to white noise machines might also beg t ...more
Feb 24, 2008 Carl rated it liked it
nothing like a grand heap of academic bullshit to dull an otherwise exciting subject. this is almost as boring as that one guy who comes into work and gives me the jung-ian perspective on Melville and the social ramifications of drinking coffee with a hard on.
BW Diederich
Jan 29, 2010 BW Diederich rated it it was ok
Suffers from the dreaded "I HAVE A LOT OF COOL RECORDS" disease, as well as the "REFERENCE THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY WITHOUT DOING MUCH ELSE" disease. There's some good there, but Microbionics, while not doing the exact same thing, is far, far better.
Jan 16, 2010 Graham rated it liked it
Well-done work on the phenomenology of noise which utilizes and subverts trends in both academic writing and music criticism, most noticably the sort of A+B=C linear progression of influences and diffusions so well-loved by writers of both aforementioned fields. Hegarty pays some lip service to chronological progressions, utilizing a linear, teleological approach (which could be seen as either hypocritical or self-consciously post-modern, depending on how forgiving the reader is feeling), while ...more
Jürgen De blonde
Sep 19, 2013 Jürgen De blonde rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Interesting insights and statements on the relation between noise and music. Some passages were rather difficult for me but in the end the point he was making always became clear. A whole chapter on Merzbow might seem obsolote or might come across as idolatry, but then again, as a case study and illustration of what noise can be about this was also very interesting and got me into checking some more Merzbow than I actually did. Having opened up for Merzbow once I was kind of bi ...more
May 30, 2015 KC rated it it was ok
Shelves: musicology
ugh. Miles Davis as poster child for Adornian aesthetic theory? no, thank you. a sloppy, uncritical application of Frankfurt School theory to a wide array of cultural productions, further obfuscated by the author's refusal of linguistic consistency. as metafiction, a brilliant burst of failure-as-noise-as-success. as scholarship, an attempt to cash in on noise's brief celebrity that doesn't even reach for substantiality.
May 04, 2009 sam rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent analysis of the evolution of noise from natural to cultural phenomenon. Features chapters on pretty much the full spectrum of noise types. While the specific chapters are themselves, and Hegarty admits this himself in the introduction, not encyclopedic in their scope, overall the book is a great overview of both the sound genre and the aforementioned social appropriations of noise.
Mar 04, 2009 Dennis rated it it was ok
This book was interesting, but horribly written. The first couple of chapters are ok, but after a while it becomes painfully apparent that this was written without an editor. It made me wonder if he was trying to make his writing an analogy to the noise he was writing about.

The names he drops are pretty good and reminded me to check out more than a few artists I'd either heard and forgotten about or heard of and never checked out. The discography is really helpful on this front.
Jan 10, 2009 Christoph rated it liked it
This is a book about music as noise: why it is, where it came from and how it came to be. Following in the footsteps of Attali's Noise this book extends the concept of noise as cultural jamming instrument and applies it to the modern era in several admittedly arbitrary genres (which would otherwise could not be respected based on the context). Those interested in abstract expressionist music and high-brow snobbery will love this book.
Sep 26, 2011 Jeffrey rated it liked it
I guess this book provided more or less what I expected it to, but it wasn't that much of a joy to read. I think it turns out that listening to this music is more enjoyable than reading about it. No prob, though, it's nice to see a thorough, scholarly take on this broad subject and I'm glad I read it.
Feb 24, 2008 Bryan rated it really liked it
Not perfect, but probably the best thing out there on the topic. I would prefer if the author would have stuck to either a purely theoretical-semiotic approach or a strickly formal analysis. It's a mixed bag with mixed results. It gets four stars because I'm in love with subject matter.
Jul 27, 2012 Aaron rated it liked it
Whew, welcome to academia!
You thought noise music was just scritches, throbs, fubs, whistles, snaps and farts? Nope. According to Hegarty it's
Derrida, Kant, Foucault and Masami Akita. Get with the program you Naysayers!
Sep 23, 2007 Jesse rated it it was ok
Not so much a history as an interpretation, and not nearly as compelling as it could be, at that. David Toop charts a much more readable/engaging course through similar material.
Patrick Brown
Aug 09, 2007 Patrick Brown rated it liked it
In the end, this was a good book. Although, clearly the author is into some crazy shit. Like music that consists of nothing but feedback and chickens.
Nov 30, 2007 Justin rated it it was ok
The book reads more like college textbook than fun historical rhetoric. My entire review of the book can be found soon on Tiny Mix Tapes.
Jul 16, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Very rigorous treatment of noise as both musical form and philosophical approach. Can be a bit dry at times, but I wouldn't spite a music book for being theoretically demanding.
Ross Baker
Ross Baker rated it liked it
Oct 19, 2013
Keefe rated it liked it
May 06, 2013
Ally Rzeszutko
Ally Rzeszutko rated it it was ok
Jun 03, 2015
Herb rated it it was ok
Sep 27, 2015
Tom rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2015
Kevin rated it it was ok
Jul 15, 2013
C.reider rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2014
Steven rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2013
Louis Vigo
Louis Vigo rated it liked it
Dec 07, 2016
Jozef Ignatiev
Jozef Ignatiev rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2014
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