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The Manufacture of Noise

Synthesis: The electronic generation of sounds, imitating or at least derivative of instruments like drums, horns and guitars. Accomplished with tone generators and timing circuits, sine, triangle, and square waves are modulated, distorted, and clipped to give the auditory illusion of the complexity found in woodwind and string instruments.

Sequencer: A piece of electronic equipment that can play back audio samples in accordance with the composition of the artist, and many times can add distortion effects like flange, reverb, and roll.

In 1912, the beginnings of hardcore were born, with the advent of “The Noise Intoners” (`Intonarumori`), noise producing machines designed by Luigi Russolo, an Italian Futurist composer and artist. The machines artificially produce natural sounds, and have been used by composers such as Stravinski. Drawing on this initiative, anarchists Hugo Balle, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco and

Richard Hue-lsenbeck form the the Dada artistic movement following their initial meeting in Zurich at the Cabaret Voltaire. The basis for abstract music started here: as part of their rebellion, the Dada created music based on industrial noises from such machines as the Noise Intoners. Composer Kurt Schwitters, with “Anna Blume” (1919) and “Ursonate” (1923) marked the first appearances of such styles in the 20th century (Gate Comm). In progression to modern times, these styles of music continued to exist, and hold responsibility for the advent of the synthesizer in 1920, from Leon Theremin, a Russian electronics researcher, which led ultimately to the Roland Sythesizers, the TR-909, TR-808, and the TB-303. The 303 and the 909 were invented by Tadao Kikumoto in 1982 (danko). These synthesizers dawned a new age in music, creating a genre now referred to as electronica. The bulk of the music comes not from instruments but generated waveforms that are manipulated, distorted and sequenced by machines and microcomputers.

One style spawned another, resulting in a plethora of nomenclature. An extremely simplified hierarchical tree is as follows:

Electronica -Synthesized, sequenced pattern, or electronically enhanced music.

Drum And Bass -The focus is on the bassline. Often considered the most innovative branch of electronica.

Dub -An electronic variation of Reggae. Comprised of things like bongos and didgeridoo.

Synth -Think Casio, Boy George, Yanni.

Techno -The above, plus the lead melody is synthesized.

Dance -Static driven beat, extremely simple melodies.

Breakbeat -Similar to drum and bass; beats sequences could be described as “inverted” or “trip”

Trance -Incessant beat, much like Dance, but melodies are more complex and multi-layered.

Hardcore -The above, plus the beat is extraordinarily fast paced.

Intelligent Hardcore -Hardcore with more than one melody being sustained through most of the song.

BreakCore -Breakbeat, lots faster.

SpeedCore -Ridiculously, insanely fast beats. Often so fast that individual beats are indiscernible.

Terrorcore -The above, and the “melody” is anything but melodic.

The style we are interested in here is the high energy, mysterious terrorcore. The beats typically start at a fairly low frequency and become rapidly lower, i.e. 600hz-60hz in 500ms, and are followed by each other in rapid succession. The melodies are often simplistic, high frequency distortions with screeching tones, but are usually stacked atop one another to add layers of complexity, and to allow for progressions in the song with a minimum of interruptions in the main driving beat. The synthesizers and sequencers producing these sounds operate similarly to a music box or a player piano. There exists a spreadsheet-like table of instruments, arranged in time by position, with denotations for pitch, volume, and effect. The messages interleaved in the music are often filled with angst; sometimes simply facetious tales of horror. Terrorcore also can contain any of the qualities of the music outlined in the tree above: breakbeats, jungle beats, wind-like trance-ish drones. One of the inequities with electronica is its tendency for the rapid flow of trends to all genres from an innovation in one particular genre, resulting in crossovers and blends of style that become so multi-faceted they seem to taunt those who would attempt to classify them.

History of Electronic Music. Gate Comm, http://www.fastpromotion.com/techno/html/history.html, 1998.

History. danko@censor.net, BassLineLand. http://303.techno.org/history.html,


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