Autolux And Noise Rock
Autolux; Why Do We Enjoy The Brutality?
Noise …. Rock you say . . ?
I’ve been a fan of the quirky musical genre called Noise Rock forever. You associate Noise Rock with acts such as Merzbow, or Sonic Youth. What, though, makes us such large fans of this Atypical form? How could one enjoy the sound of something that others classify as “wrong?”
Above, in all two sentences, Adam Evens explains what exactly I enjoy about noise rock and Autolux. It is the purposeful delivery and intensity of the noise that makes it so appealing. The music’s force and raw emotion draws its fan-base closer to this noise.
The Enticing Chaos In Person
I ventured to New York City for two nights, Sept. 14 and 15 years ago, to see one of my favorite bands. That band being the Los Angeles-based “noise-rock” trio Autolux. The band hadn’t made their way to the East Coast for five years. I could not have been more excited to experience the abrasive music of a band that no one has ever heard of.
Right On Top Of Those Monitors, Baby
My friends and I made our way up to the stage to ensure the maximum amount of sound hammered into our skulls. Part of Autolux’s style was, and still is a mystery to me. There’s so much technology afoot. Then, even more eccentric ways of taming it. Seeing Autolux in the flesh was bound to be as satisfying as hearing them.
Seeing and Hearing
I find this counterpoint between seeing & hearing a band important. It is the reason why I still frequent so many concerts. Watching the reconstruction of sounds. Many sounds, heard many times on recording is the most valuable tool for musicians. A non-musician friend echoed my own beliefs once. This was when he said, “I enjoy seeing the de-evolution of conventional music within Noise Rock”.. To a level where it somehow regains melody.”
Bassist Eugene Goreshter carries most of the melody. Doing so with a punchy and distorted timbre. As Eugene strums chords and hammers away with his bare, bony, fingers, you should look to your right. It is epic to watch Guitarist, Greg Edwards, envelope the lower register in a shroud of layers and loops. Tying all the chaos in a bow is traditional and syncopated Drummer, Carla Azar.
Guitarist/Backing Vocalist Greg Edwards
Of Failure fame, provides all the space-rock elements. Every which one you may wish to hear. As it turns out, a lot of the melodies you would assume are guitar parts are bass. Eugene’s halfway towards blowing every circuit in the place with distortion, is all.
Greg is more sneaky. He fluffs the core his bandmates hand him. Then, blankets the structure in effects, tweaks and twinges is most his specialty.
Drumming Robot In Human Form
Carla Azar, never fails to intrigue me. She plays the most chaotic and frenetic parts throughout the entire set.
Yet, you may never even notice. This is thanks to her affinity toward rhythm and syncopation. Autolux is the opportunity she uses this to her advantage. She hangs under the radar, until she’s coming at you with a shotgun.
It’s enjoyable to see that when she is not working with Autolux she keeps busy as a touring drummer. Most notable of late was her appearance on Jack White’s 2019 tour. Where. She tore. Shit. Up. Too. I don’t even recall cheering for Jack. For me, The night was all about Carla.
These three individuals blew my mind. Afterwards, I can’t understand how three people manage to create such a sonic assault. “This is the way they think,” I recall saying to my friend. “It is incredible that when they sit down to jam and flesh-out ideas this is what pops into their minds first.”
An Assault On (Not Only) The Ears
What is it that draws us to this ‘Noise’ concert and the aesthetic of ‘Autolux and Noise-Rock’? This is a concept friends and I have been questioning for some time now. The rumble of the Bass churns your stomach and slaps you in the face. The higher frequency spectrum screams and hurts at times. The vocals are near unintelligible. Why would we pay twenty-five dollars each to get attacked by sound?
We choose ‘assault by sound’ because catching this live doesn’t happen every day. Attacking our senses of sight or taste is simple. It’s done with a strobe light or the taste of rotten food, but sound is unique. The body is the resonant chamber which becomes part of the show. Your own form will distort the sound waves and shape them. Your very being at a concert asserts your aural importance to the event.
To get to the root of this issue I consulted some friends on their opinions. It seems we all agree, for the most part, about which attributes draw us to the excitement of Noise-Rock.
It’s worth mentioning no friends saw the Evens comment until I showed it to them. With this the case, it’s spooky how Evens’ comment applies two-fold. That is, to both not only my love of Noise but other fans’ preference as well. One friend said that, “For me, there’s a certain rush associated with it. And there’s thrill in the challenge of finding a melody under the sheaths of feedback.”
The “Attitude of Noise”
Another friend expressed how he “Likes the attitude of noise.” And that, “I can hear someone getting frustrated with their instrument and pounding on it.” Once I presented them with the Evens comment there was no dispute from any of them. Everyone agreed that the force of this genre is what calls them to it.
From the Basement
Watch this, Folks. Just trust me. It’s SO good. Be well!