Here is another review from reader Adam. Thanks Mate!
It is not easy to write about The Haters, one of the longest running noise acts around. It is basically the project of one man, GX Jupitter-Larsen, although he has played with many people both live and on recorded material too. Writing about his work is not easy because it’s very conceptual – in fact, music is only a part of it; his concerts are performances too (and for a long time there actually wasn’t any music during his performances). I have to say I’m not exactly sure what Jupitter-Larsen is trying to express with his art, but my guess is it’s absurdity: absurdity that perhaps he sees as permeating life in general. Or perhaps he just loves absurdity. Or maybe he wants to show that he finds life and/or a lot of everyday actions meaningless. At least these are some of the ideas that come to my mind when I consider his obsession with counting sand grains, strange mathematical and time-space concepts, entropy and decay, making a blank video tape and then sending it to film festivals and so on. And of course, he’s obsessed with noise too – pure noise, such as the sound of glass breaking, fire crackling and cars crashing.
I guess you could say he’s just a snob or an idiot who claims to be an artist. As for me, I really like his ideas (even if I can’t claim I understand them fully): how he often mixes the absurd with the mundane, like making noise with shovels and suitcases, or having a noise generator built in a wrestling belt (he likes wrestling too). Everything he does is in his own style which was already pretty much fully developed around 1980, when he started releasing records. In 1983 he released a 7” which had no music on it and the instructions said to complete the record by scratching it so it could be listened to. Some “serious” avant-garde composers might have released similar records by 1983 but probably no one in the sort of underground that GX became a participant of.
There were more conceptual releases to follow and more regular releases too. Based on the roughly 15 CDs/records I know, the style of The Haters is harsh noise with no “musical” elements whatsoever for the most part. Monotony is typical too. Sometimes he loops the sound of car crashes; sometimes he amplifies the sound of stapling records together with a stapling gun, and so on. However, his Further CD is a great mix of his pure noise approach with more sound elements that ultimately make the CD more musical. The funny thing is, at the end of the day it’s still not musical at all. There’s a basic flow of electronic feedback, but in the background there are various sounds and effects such as screeching tyres and even synths. Somehow it creates the effect of being musical due to the contrast between the foreground and the background, but at the same time it’s still very much anti-music.
Probably a lot more could be written about the work of Jupitter-Larsen – for those who care, there’s a book about The Haters that was published by John Wiese not long ago. There’s a very nice career-spanning article by GX in the magazine As Loud As Possible too. For those who like the music of The Haters, Further is highly recommended. And for those who want to get to know his music, this album is a great starting point – but if you like it and want to hear more, prepare yourself for serious anti-easy listening that may well leave you scratching your head.