Emergency Automated Response System

Latest release from the French APO33 Association is by Harsh Noise Consortium and might be titled Bruital Automaton (FIBRR RECORDS Fibrr021) …the trend we’ve noticed with releases from this French quarter (often involving Julien Ottavi and Jenny Pickett, among others) is towards increasingly inhuman noise, made with ever-more reduced human input. If these observations carry any weight, today’s item indicates that the plan is getting even more extreme…CD contains 1 hour and 15 mins of fairly insufferable tones, quite evidently generated by automatic means, completely lacking in conventional dynamics.

With other emperors of the Harsh Noise Wall, a genre of which Vomir used to be a strong advocate, at least you had the sense that a human being was controlling the feedback, and with Merzbow you usually got a strong pulsebeat or rhythm to sweeten the deal as you sat there being assaulted by the painful digital lacerations. Here, it might as well have been done by a machine – most likely a computer, which reminds us of another FIBRR-related project called the GIASO, which proposed an anonymous community of hackers subverting the internet and web to produce a near-automated racket. Sure enough, Bruital Automaton comes with a “manifesto” printed on the card, stressing that it’s 100% automatic, produced by machines, and no human beings were involved at all. If you’re reminded of The New Blockaders, who have also lived by a manifesto (full of strong polemic) for about 40 years, that’s a little wide of the mark; the aims of Harsh Noise Consortium are not exactly anti-human or anti-art, but they regard old-school noise as something essentially hypocritical, since it relies on such old-fashioned nonsenses as a human being “performing”, with a start and finish giving it some kind of classical form, and injecting the event with emotional content. Instead the future of Harsh Noise, it seems, is to automate everything, as embodied in the acronym AHNW.

Along with the automation, I guess another “bonus” is that the noise generated could go on forever in theory, thus dispensing with that quaint composerly concept of beginning, middle, and end (which comes from ancient Greek drama in any case, and is long overdue for the dustbin). The ideal would be, I suppose, to click on a link or open an app and find the non-stop 24/7 Noise Channel is still roaring away. To be fair, there is another aspect to this, and it’s an extension of Julien Ottavi’s convictions about authorship and copyright; he’s put in a lot of effort to undermine copyright subsisting in art and music, not just by subscribing to Creative Commons licenses, but also through actively seeking anonymity in collectives and groups where no single player is the “star”, and the work reflects this brave new model of authorship. He – and probably other members in these associations too – has been consistent and firm about this position for a long time; he even regards copyright as an extension of capitalism, and sees similar “ownership” models in the fossil fuel and energy industries, for instance, which are so evil that they are effectively hastening us to the end as we destroy the world. Food for thought as you endure this unlistenable record…from 24th January 2022.

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