Beginners guide to making noise/experimental

Talk about music gear for noise music

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Post by BIRDSTRIKE » Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:19 am

This whole thread is just ridiculous. I started doing "prepared piano" noise at less than 10 years old (in recital form), tape and "toy" music at 12 and electronic noise since I was 14. I just started using a computer in my (non)music earlier this year. I'm in my mid-30's now. I make a decent living off of noise. You probably have never heard of me (nor do I care if you have). I have, however, taken an active role in certain "popular" noise projects for years AND I know what I'm talking about.

A beginners guide is simple:



Noise does not always have to be "harsh".


imagery like serial killers, death, destruction, fascism, misogyny, evil, (what-have-you). Is super-overdone. If you want to be part of a "scene"...use the stuff. If you want to be a noise or experimental artist...come up with your own imagery.




Those that brag about their equipment or "suggest" equipment to a beginner generally fall into either one of two catagories: A) Those who have sunk far too much money into their equipment and want to impress people with their material shit rather than create anything worthwhile and B) those that are jealous of other people's equipment and want to make themselves sound cool by suggesting that beginners "not get" a particular piece of gear because...blah, blah, blah. I've bought and sold more equipment in my life than I care to talk about. The fact is that you'll have to spend some money to do exactly what you want to do. I don't mean spend a shitload on a particular "unit"...I mean trial and error... spend some money realizing what does and what does not work for you. Not only this, but to have variation in your sound, you'll be constantly recycling equipment. USE AN ONLINE AUCTION AND BUY USED EQUIPMENT AT ALL COSTS!!! YOU'LL SAVE TONS OF MONEY IN THE LONGRUN.

I know a guy that's been a fairly big name noise artist from Germany who uses nothing but a microphone, a glass jar and a signal processor. He doesn't reveal his equipment. People assume he's got racks of shit and he only has about $200 wrapped up in his whole career. So much for the elitists!!

Those who have done this for awhile and truly appreciate the "genre" know that "noise" is an extention and an expression of one's self. Noise for the point of noise is stupid and you will go nowhere. I disagree with ANYONE who says that noise is not an art. It is one of the most precious art-forms there is and it's being bastardized by techy little kids who are trying to look cool. You WILL go nowhere not because "it's already been done", but rather... people will see right through your poseurish crap!!

I can't believe someone would have the audacity to say "someone" has already done it...or play "god" by saying certain noise/experimental music is "good or bad". Sure people have preferences, but if person "A" doesn't like your sound, Person "B" will. TRUST ME!!! My advice is...don't listen to a bit of what's out there. Don't go to shows (play them). Do what you want, how you want to do it. If you listen to it, you're influenced by it...I don't care what many of these wanna-be elitist noise people "claim"....I personally think they're bitter because they've gone nowhere. Try e-mailing one of your favorite artists...people in this genre are generally easy to talk to and willing to help a beginner out; I GUARANTEE the majority of these people will say the EXACT things I'm saying. Just because some guy prefers pedals to laptops should not in the least bit sway or influence how YOU do YOUR music. Here's a little piece of advice "MR. ORIGINAL"... pedals are FAR played out in this "genre". Lap-tops are closing in at a close second. Be a "little" creative (at least). Pedals and laptops are cool if they're used in the right way (and the right way is your honest expression and feverish experimentation).

Bottom line. This genre is not what it used to be. You will be successful by being YOURSELF and by being PERSISTANT. You CAN also be an "unkown" to the trendy "noise collectors" (i.e. those that worship MERZBOW , etc.) and still be widely known by those truly versed in the artform. You CAN make a good living in this field if you know what you're doing (business wise), you be yourself, and you learn basic recording technique.

Most importantly, cut the crap and the posturing and have fun. Just last week I was at a private event with a fairly prolific "noise artist"... everyone in the room made noise (in one form or another) and NO ONE talked about it.

Do it because you love it.

Sorry for my rant. It's just how I see it.


Post by Guest » Sat Apr 21, 2007 8:18 am

wow. someone sure is full of themselves.
go over to:
ask one of the moderators to add you to the maniacs only forum.
i think you'll fit in over there better.

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Post by obscurica » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:28 am

Kind of a high-arcing rant, but he did apologize. And I think I agree with a bit of what he said. I don't think Birdstrike would fit in with the maniac crowd, they believe in good vs. bad noise in absolute terms.

Howdy, new-to-the-board person... next time make it a manifesto!


Post by Guest » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:38 am

a "real" apology would have been not posting the rant.
while i do agree with some of his ideas, i just can't stomach his condescending attitude; the snooty, nose in the air, joe colley-type elitist b.s is totally maniac.

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Post by BIRDSTRIKE » Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:22 pm

You're missing the point. There's no "snooty, nose-in-the-air" anything about what I said. I simply stated that the beginner can do whatever he/she feels is necessary for what he/she has to do to make the "noise" that that particular person wants to make. They don't deserve to be thrown under the bus by people who are better at critiquing than creating. They don't need to be told that they will never be an original and it's all been done before; that's simply not true. I also hinted at being original (in all aspects of sound, imagery, marketing,etc) which seems to be a big sore spot with alot of "noise" musicians; come on...don't tell me that you can't "sub-genre" noise into groups due soley to their visual imagery and who they happen to market??? Come on...think about it. I was blunt, to the point and truthful. If anyone was being snooty and spewing elitist BS it is the slew of people who are feeding this nonsense to "the beginner". I'm welcoming the newcomer to the "scene" with open arms. Is there something wrong with that??? We were all beginners once, were we not? There is enough "space" in the "experimental" genre for everyone that has the passion to do it. It seems like some people (and I'm NOT WHATSOEVER speaking about the person trying to call me out on my opinions) are playing "boys club"/ high school games with people that are genuinely interested in expressing themselves by means of "noise". There's no need for ostracizing, is there? They will either survive on their own or they will not. Let them succeed or perish; that's not for you, me or anyone to decide. They'll do it to themselves. If they're good, they're good. If not...they'll know it on their own.

I hope I've clarified myself. I also will not apologize for my opinion. I will however, for stating the truth that people clearly don't want to hear; I hate to be the one to do it, but I couldn't let it go untalked about. I will apologize for the fact that this scene (like every other) is full of hypocrites. It's art. Some of it's good, some of it is (in my opinion) is not...however, it's 100% subjective. If we're (in general) breaking rules as a genre, who's to determine the "right or wrong" way to break them?

My main apology, by the way, was for starting off on the wrong foot, because I knew I'd be a thorn in someone's side, however, according to comments I've received outside of this post on my rant, there are more people that agree with me than disagree.

And, just for the record, I'm here to meet other people that have a common interest, share ideas, etc. This is just my feeling and I not allowed to have one? I'm sure this page is not about censoring thought, is it? If it is, then I don't want anything to do with it. I won't "label" anyone...and I refuse to believe (contrary to the "opinions" of some) that I'm "better" than anyone.

By the way, before writing this reply I did my homework... I listened to the noise/music of the person that is "bothered" by my me, I'm not kissing his ass, but I like it. We're all here thanks to a common passion. Allow me to have my opinions. I surely welcome yours with open arms. One thing I will never do is name call and carry on about ideas that don't agree with my mode of thought. We're all adults and I appreciate your opinion. Hopefully we'll agree on something in the future.

Take Care.


Post by Guest » Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:02 pm

no, i get your points fine. it's HOW you express your points that make you sound like a snob. it's the "i've been doing this since blah blah blah, i KNOW what i'm talking about garbage" that rubbed me the wrong way.
all noise doesn't have to be harsh, sure i go along with that. but look where you are posting, the harsh noise board. so it stands to reason that there is a harsh and an analog bias around here.
this place is all about sharing ideas, techniques, and gear recommendations that is why bob and i created it, also as a place to get away from the highschool locker room b.s. of some other places.
i don't agree with everything in the first post, i do think it contains some interesting ideas and pointers for a total beginner.
but anyways, i digress.
welcome to the board, enjoy your time here.

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Post by BIRDSTRIKE » Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:28 pm

I respect what you're saying. I suppose I did sound a tad pretentious in that regard, I truly meant it as a reference point to the fact that I've explored this genre in full... there's stuff you're good at and stuff you're not. Hell... I would love to make good "ambient noise"... I've tried it and I suck at it. That was my reason for bringing up what "I've done". It was honestly geared to trial and error, attempt and fail. I was, in no way, trying to sound superior to anyone. I see how you thought that I was being "snobbish" and I truly apologize for coming off that way.

For the record, I'm an analog guy myself mostly of the heavily processed synth nature. Not a single digital sound ever. Use the PC to record and that's that. The "all noise isn't harsh" comment was simply to give the suggestion to the beginner to do what they will and explore what's within themselves.

All is well. Thanks for welcoming me. Sorry for my ill communication.
" the predator knows only strength "

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Post by A Fate Worse Than Jeff » Sat Apr 21, 2007 5:13 pm

I think the main "problem" with the original post in this thread is that it was written (I believe) as a somewhat annoyed response to dozens of questions that could've easily been answered had the people taken 5 minutes or less to do some research. There's times on boards like these where half the topics are "What's a contact mic?" "How do I make a feedback loop?" etc. That's the main reason this thread is still at the top of the page; because it covers most of the basic topics a newcomer might inquire about.

Unfortunately some of it sounds like it's trying to keep people from even trying, but for the most part I don't think anyone is going to let one or two peoples opinions stop them from giving this a shot. Overall it DOES encourage people to find their own voice and strive to be good at making noise, it just happens to sound really negtative at the same time. :)

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Post by NOISEassault » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:14 am

A Fate Worse Than Jeff wrote:I think the main "problem" with the original post in this thread is that it was written (I believe) as a somewhat annoyed response to dozens of questions that could've easily been answered had the people taken 5 minutes or less to do some research. There's times on boards like these where half the topics are "What's a contact mic?" "How do I make a feedback loop?" etc. That's the main reason this thread is still at the top of the page; because it covers most of the basic topics a newcomer might inquire about.
Nail on the head.
The guide was originally written for the "musicians lounge" subforum on
The idea behind it all was to throw some basic starting points, and ideas out there for those new to noise, with the idea of ultimately getting people to think more about what they want to do for themselves, and to experiment more instead of just doing whatever and thinking it golden.
It definitely saddens me that so many folks have taken offense to the whole thing, but whatever.
For the recprd. Ben wrote the first portion, and I the second.

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Post by MrBook » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:09 pm

From the bottom to the top

I like threads with a real discussion in them, even if it gets "heated."
My name is Rufus, and that's the trufus.

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Post by butter » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:21 pm

Birdstrike... you define noise as limitless and then you apply limits to it. Your argument is just silly.
There is absolutely no reason to hide what gear you use. It only pushes away new people, like me, and encourages them to find a different hobby. What I have found on this forum is love: love for noise, love for sharing, and love for new people.
If you want to be angry or try to tell people how they should do things, find a more structured genre to bitch about.


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Post by butter » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:23 pm

BIRDSTRIKE wrote:I've explored this genre in full...


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Post by crochambeau » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:10 pm

A man can piss his pants a thousand times and not piss himself to absolution.

It's endless.

Describing one's prior accidents in detail has no bearing on the next one.

Shouldn't this thread be in MISC?

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Post by Rev Bucky » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:24 pm

Wowsers a four year old thread makes a comeback!

I must have just missed this one, by a year or six months or so. Lots of interesting points, lots of posturing, but all very interesting.

What happened to a lot of the people who originally posted on this? A few names I recognize from them still being around somewhat or still around the scene, did some drop by the wayside, droip off the map, or just give up posting here?

Oh and who was the "guest" who helped Bob start this forum? Someone else I just missed?

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Post by Obsolete Office Equipment » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:54 am

Overanalyzing the context in wich you are trying to work won't help in the process of creation.

Action is the only reaction.

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