It’s all just noise! Despite the ear aching sighs of detractors, noise music has always been one field in which I have been drawn to explore. The genre knows no boundaries, and the many artists working within are easily able to carve their own territory without worry. While some musicians border on sexism, racism, homophobia, I have found that there are way more friendly and openhearted noise musicians than most people would think. In fact, it has probably been noise musicians that have most embraced Lagniappe Exposure, and by extension, I want to extend the olive branch.
So here is a small wrap-up on my year in noise, the labels I stumbled across, had the pleasure to listen to, and the kind supporters that I have met through Lagniappe’s first half-year of existence.
This isn’t so much a review of any artist, label, or release. Instead, it serves mainly as a shout-out.
Approaching the fourth anniversary of Zola Jesus’ Okovi, I wanted to reflect on and share what this album has meant to me. Released at a pivotal time of my life, Okovi has been a source of reassurance, a record I have kept in constant rotation and close to my heart since its 2017 release.
For fans of ambient music, searching for fresh releases can appear daunting. The rapidity of ambient musicians releasing new music can leave some discographies with upwards of a hundred records. So the question is where to begin. The best advice I can give is to find a label you can trust, one that acts as a curator of great drone and ambient releases more than a machine churning out something that only finds itself lost in an algorithm.
Whether you like it or not, noise music is waiting to embrace you. The way its pulsating fragmented sound, often heavily textural, envelops you in a sound world is something quite awe-inspiring. Of course, its job isn’t to soothe you; usually, it may summon dark thoughts, reflections on isolation, or grief, but for those adventurous enough to pierce its chambers, there is a reassuring quality to the best noise. You already experience noise in ways you may have overlooked for those uninitiated, utilized in film scores; great noise music can elicit strong emotional reactions, just as the best of any music genre can. In its envelopment, it centers you; I often find myself grounded when experiencing a record of noise or drone.