One of the things that has struck me about noise is that for a genre that encapsulates useless or left over sound, noise artists seem to get a kick out of documenting their output with elaborate box sets. Kevin Drumm, Jazkamer, Incapacitants, CCCC and of course Merzbow have all released quite significant box sets in recent years. The question is why? What makes the tracks that are placed on these discs representative or more significant than anything else they’ve done. The answer is that they, for the most part, are not. There is of course some significant noise pieces on some of these discs, Kevin Drumm’s Organ on Necro Acoustic comes to mind but in the case of Merzbow for instance why is Timehunter a box set and 1930 not. The answer may be in Merzbow’s rather famous interview with Edwin Pouncey in the Wire from 2000. In that interview Merzbow’s fascination with transgressive sex and the erotic are explored. Had it not been for that interview (and the Merzbook)I would have missed the whole erotic nature of noise recordings because, frankly, it is all a bit lost on me. Merzbow was a bit of a perv in the day and he described a box set like the Merzbox as a fetish object. Now that is something that any record nerd can relate to because these box sets with their well thought out liner notes are fetish objects for people like me. Am I ever going to listen to Merzbient again? The answer is probably not – but would I ever sell my copy? Shit no!
This now brings me to Werewolf Jerusalem’s Confessions of a Sex Maniac. My lovely wife ordered it from Second Layer for me for Father’s Day at year. Nothing says Happy Father’s Day than listening to a few hours of Richard Ramirez’s static harsh wall noise project. Over its four discs, Ramirez explores the manipulation of something which can only be defined as pure noise. This is not a project where you listen to it over and over again to tease out the layers to reveal hidden sound and recognisable forms. This is noise in its most primal and dense form.
There is a great essay from Sam McKinlay in the booklet which accompanies Confessions. In it he says that after listening to one of Werewolf Jerusalem’s early works … that release led myself and other in the constantly evolving harsh noise scene to firmly believe that texture and concentration itself can mean violence, drama and even dynamism within the crackles and crumbles.
I absolutely love the idea of deep concentration of noise, free of layers and distractions can lead to a subtle yet violent variant of drone. The texture and tone of the noise might change but the intent is always the same. Sound which carries this much violence should not be as calmly meditative as it is. Everything on these four discs is pretty essential for any noise nerd especially the collaborations on Disc 4 and the packaging is like a sugar rush to a noise fetishists such as myself. This was one of my favourite releases from last year and deserved more attention.