The Austin Chronicle

Austin Noise Enters the No Zone

By Waylon Cunningham, January 12, 2015, 2:20pm, Earache!

Take any Beatles song, then turn up the amps to maximum overdrive. Forget the melody. Give Ringo $200 worth of PCP. Replace the guitars with explosive static; John has a chainsaw. Actually, just forget about the Beatles, because this isn’t even music. This is Noise.

And it’s your typical weekend show presented by Austin Noise, the semi-organized local community dedicated to the promotion of “Harsh Noise, Power Electronics, Drone, Dark Ambient, Industrial, Noise Rock, Musique Concrete, Avant-garde, Noisecore, Grindcore, Outsider, Progressive, Free-Jazz, Improv, Spoken Word, and other Experimental genres.” Basically, if you are unsellable, Austin Noise wants you.

Friday’s performance at the No Zone (5809 Alsace Trail) promises rebellion beyond music. After a very loud bill of various homegrown and touring noise crews, Austinite and political activist Scott Crow (generally not capitalized) gives a PowerPoint presentation on creating collective power to confront capitalism. The New York Times has characterized him as an “anarchist, veteran organizer,” while NPR’s This American Life called him “a living legend among anarchists.” His latest book, Black Flags and Windmills, has been described by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! as “an important contribution to a history of movements that far too often [go] untold.”

Explosive in a different way will be the politically charged performance of Decide Today, touring noise-punk act of scene veteran Robert Inhuman. It’s punk in all its DIY ethos, anti-authoritarian lyrics, and relentless hardcore rhythm, plus the fact he’s from Cincinnati. It’s noise in that the guitar is reduced to a whining buzz, the beat a broken drum machine, with vocals shouted through a ludicrous amount of hi-pass filters. Call it more punk than punk allows.

Johnathan Cash’s Breakdancing Ronald Reagan also puts in an appearance. He’s the progenitor of Austin Noise, arguably the biggest name in the local scene. If you want to experience noise in this town, he’s the man to hear it from. Cash describes BDRR as “absurd performance (f)art” that utilizes cut-up and spliced noise, power electronics, and tape manipulation.

There’s also Randall Cunningham Dance Company, a fourpiece free jazz/noise group; Saca Mocos, offering the harshest noise of the lineup mostly with effects pedals and contact mics; Marcus Rubio, a San Antonio instrumentalist whose minimal, melodic violin compositions offer a reprieve from the otherwise relentless terrorism; and Blues Dog, an electric, bass-strumming blues act from Cincinnati that Cash calls a parody of the Stevie Ray Vaughan “worship in this town.”

Austin, you’re now entering the No Zone. 6-10pm, BYOB.

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