Noise Music: A History
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Noise Music: A History

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  21 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 Hegartyargues that noise is a judgement about sound, that what was noise can become...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published August 15th 2007)
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Carl
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.
Graham
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
Walid
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
M-R-N-D-R
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...more
Connor
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.
Jürgen De blonde
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
pianogal
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
Chris Bissonnette
Dense and a bit of a chore to read at times. Explores the depths of noise in number of genres.
Dennis
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.
Christoph
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.
KC
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.
sam
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.
Jeffrey
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.
Bryan
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.
BW Diederich
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.
Aaron
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!
David
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.
Jesse
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
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.
Justin
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.
brendan dougherty
still reading it - but great so far.
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