Austin Noise 2015
Austin Noise 2015 (Instincto)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., June 19, 2015
You can't come at a compilation like this from the traditional angle of spinning an album for pleasure. The sound erupting from Austin's apparently thriving noise underground – 60-plus acts' worth sprawled across three CDs – challenges notions about both music and listening itself. Forget about melodies, hooks, and even the use of instruments as we commonly know them. Most tracks not only don't bother coalescing into anything resembling a "song," they obscure the sonics emitting from digital grooves. A series of controlled underwater explosions by Breakdancing Ronald Reagan ("73 and Counting"), the screaming scrape-and-whine of Dromez ("Boys Dot Cry"), and ADD-addled glitch noise of Daze of Heaven ("For Stockhausen") mock the very idea of accessibility, while the squalling din of Architeuthis Dux ("Homunculus"), Lifewaster ("Dragged"), and X Tara Bhattacharya ("The Beak Is Gonna Get Ya") laugh in its face until it breaks down in tears. Some – Air Traffic Controllers, Anus Morissette, and the Jandek-like Jonathan Horne – craft actual compositions out of aural manipulations. Then, along comes the tortured guitar wailing of Enochian Call Girls' perfectly titled "Whale Abortion." In fact, most of the tracks settle for whatever cochlea abuse spewed forth when the record button turned red, their creators unconcerned with how their audio self-expression will be received by anyone unfortunate enough to come across them. The tracks strewn about Austin Noise 2015 neither entice nor dare listeners to come to terms with them. They simply are – growing like weeds in a lawn of easier-to-mow grass, oblivious to whether we enjoy hearing them or not.