Houston Noise. Ah, yet one more minuscule music genre. This one's local, at least, but still pretty hard to describe in ten words or less. It's mostly distorted, stripped down, dark, moody, experimental music that seems to have no interest in being commercially successful. Wikipedia says it has "an aesthetic sensibility rooted in dissonance and a flippant attitude toward sonic clarity and technical virtuosity." Translation: It sounds like noise.
Houston artist and Rua Minx noiser Donna Huanca says her shows "tend to repel the audience 'cause of the raw, abrasive sounds that often occur." Huanca goes on to say, "I have replaced music with discussions, debates on contemplation, karaoke and train solos. The one thing that they all have in common is that I play a drum of some sort. My most recent instruments are a Bolivian drone drum made from baby alpaca and my sewing machine." See, noise as music. Noise music.
We think lots of music sounds like noise -- not because that's the goal, but because of a lack of skill, taste or talent. So when we find a genre that is purposefully and knowingly embracing its noise-ness, we have to give it props. Here are our Top Five Reasons to Love Houston Noise Music:
Houston noise music
1. How many times will you find a musical genre named after your hometown?
2. The fact that it's called "noise" means that even the musicians have no illusions about its musicality -- this is noise, just played with guitars and amplifiers.
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3. Houston Noise is an equal opportunity genre. Men, women, men who want to be women, women who love men who want to be women -- everybody has a shot at being a noiser.
4. The term Houston Noise gives KTRU-FM something to write down instead of "My roommate's lame-ass band" under "genre" on their FDC forms.
5. Houston Noise success looks an awful lot like regular old "starving musician" failure. That means mothers across the city can say, "My son's into Houston Noise," instead of "My son's a no-talent bum." It makes for much happier small talk with strangers.
As for us, we're getting T-shirts printed up with "Love the Noise, be one with the Noise!" Go Noise!