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V/A – Women Take Back The Noise

V/A - Women Take Back The Noise

CD, Ubuibi, 2007

“Women Take Back The Noise” is a massive three CD compilation of female noise artists in today’s music. With noise music having always been a primarily male-dominated genre of music one might be surprised that such a massive collection of female artists could be gathered in such a way. However, after three years of work from Ninah Pixie it all came together. The discs are divided into three main themes and are recommended to be played in order.
The first disc, “Orgonauta” represents the more dream-inducing and ambient side of experimental noise. Aedria Hughes “Moment of Truth” is a (mostly) high frequency drone piece that comes off to me as sounding a bit like “classical” drone composers (maybe Tony Conrad) mixed with the likes of many modern drone sculptors such as Andrew Liles or the Hafler Trio. The pre-recorded source sounds are droned out and messed with on the computer, most sounding nothing like the original sources. The sounds form different textures that are weaved in and out of each other, with rather nice results. Another highlight for me was “Plastic Footsteps” by Dark Muse. As the track name implies, footstep sounds are very prominent. Along with the other stuff going on it’s really not too hard to imagine this track as the sort of soundtrack when a person is walking down a dark hall being pursued by some fiendish being. Really, the entire disc manages to keep a very nice overall theme, which doesn’t seem like an easy task considering it is a compilation. One thing I love about “Orgonauta” is the bulk of it isn’t the type of Ambient music drift off to. It’s more a kind that creates a very dark atmosphere that I’m sure if certain people were to listen to it at night they’d be on edge with each creak of the floor and unexplained sound outside their window.
Next, when I popped in “Scheherazade”, I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the name Cosey Fanni Tutti on the list. Some of these tracks have an ambience feeling similar to the disc before. However, what I think keeps them different is what I suppose I could lazily call “glitchy” electronics, which are prevalent in many of the tracks. “Casio Flammeus” by Rotwangsrobot reminds me of a set of malfunctioning electronics being destroyed as they’re run through effect processors. For some reason, it almost reminds me of a malfunctioning version Faust track that I cannot remember the name of…I suppose I’ll get back to the earlier mentioned Cosey Fanni Tutti’s contribution, “Wired”. Prominent noisy guitar (that sounds very Throbbing Gristle to my ears) with electronics and programmed drums make for a very nice combination. Again, the theme of the disc is followed through with the rest of the tracks that further down the road of glitchy electronics, with each artist contributing something worthwhile.
Finally we have “Vociferous”, which is supposed to be the noisiest of the 3 discs. Since this is meant to be the noisiest, I was very relieved that it wasn’t chalk full of tracks blasting feedback with no direction or thought put into them. Tracks like “Signal” by Noveller, are quite harsh indeed but have direction and enough going on to keep them from being a wall of meaningless static. Insect Deli’s contribution “Cracked mandible” reminds me of some sort of noise-IDM hybrid, my only complaint with it being that it is so short (less than a minute!).
When all is said and done, we have a very strong collection of work by female Noise artists. If this is only a sample of what women are currently offering this scene, I think that the men who lazily blast feedback in the name of art have something to be truly scared of! This is a solid collection with a wide array of music, highly recommended for anyone with taste for something experimental or out of the norm. Another thing that needs to be pointed out about this release is the attached “Noise Cookie” which has an output jack and is a little circuit-bent device you can make some of your own noise with!


— Charlie Martineau

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