Sunday 4 August 2019

Alexander Noice - Affectation

Sometimes you hear new music so unusual it seems like must have slipped through a crack from some alien dimension, if only because there is nothing on earth to which you can easily compare it. Alexander Noice’s recent releases fall into that category. Noice is a highly sought-after LA-based musician, recognized as a formidable jazz guitarist. He has been a composer and bandleader for various ensembles, most notably Falsetto Teeth and The Alexander Noice sextet.

His upcoming album Noice see him fusing electronic music, jazz, art rock, and minimalist opera, shaking them together like some mad composer-scientist. Somehow, instead of producing an unruly mess, Noice has come out of this process with intricate, compelling compositions.
The press release offers this description:

“Thumping drums and electric bass fuel the engine of NOICE, with interjections of tailor-made samples, organically woven into highly intricate arrangements. The samples include Ethiopian vocal recordings, 808 drum samples, and recordings of children with stuttering speech syndrome, among many others.”

This is music that is challenging, music that makes me squint as I try to remember music theory lessons from long ago, as I do my best to stay on top of the irregular rhythms, tapping them out of the table. This music is manic and explosive. If you want easy listening, you won’t find it here. Towards the end of “Affectation” there is a saxophone solo over a jazz drums, and you start to think you are familiar territory, but just as you feel you’ve gotten your footing, the saxophone begins to shriek, becomes more crude, more visceral than any saxophone you have ever heard before, and you are pulled back into Noice’s world, reminded not to get too comfortable as you watch this “hypnotic space opera” unfold.

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