Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Part One: On Providence and noise rock

So this is my first blog, first "e-communication." I'm not sure about protocol or methods of procedure, but I figured that just putting fingers to keyboard would be a good place to start.

First, a bit about myself. I am a 32 year old father who's abiding passion in life is music in its many forms and facets. I am a New Englander by birth and a musician by combination of whatever factors imbue ones life with any sense of interest.

In terms of geography, my home base of choice would have to be Providence, Rhode Island. This is primarily due to the fact of the music scene and the type of music it produces.

For the uninitiated, let me explain a little about the "biggest Little." Rhode Islands' size is, in terms of community and transportation, its biggest advantage. Musicians who come here to perform at the Living Room or AS220, to name a couple of venues, are often seduced by the sense of support and intimacy that permeates the arts community. This, coupled with the unabashedly liberal demeanor of RISD and Brown University serves to produce a D.I.Y./indie scene that is insular and fairly self sustaining.

For the sake of disclosure and to imbue the current proceedings with a bit of transparency, let it be known that the current typist is not a key player in this scene. We have actually missed out on a lot of goings on over the last few years due to the fact that our own trajectory through this life has led us out of the state, during a period of time that was crucial in relation to the current aural unfoldings. That said, it must also be understood that we have had some inkling of an idea due to the fact that we were around when things started heating up and do possess an unabashed enthusiasm for the quality and type of sounds produced in this particular environment.

And what is the nature of this sound? Well, "THE MUSIC SCENE", in sum total, in the context of R.I., comprises most of the styles and forms known to man. Classical, country, rockabilly, jazz, bluegrass, blues, hardcore, hip-hop, metal, thrash, deathmetal, grindcore, etc... all seem to have some place in this state. What is being touched upon in this current word-lumping is a type of "post-punk" sonic assault that is particular to Providence: NOISE ROCK.

From what I have been given to understand, the noise scene is in decline. The geographical center of this scene, located somewhere near/within the west end of town, was rocked by a series of loft closings sevral years back and currently exists in a somewhat hush-hush state, requiring some doing on the part of an interested person to uncover venue locations and the like. Addresses for show listings are generally posted as "you know where", "ask for directions", etc... leaving one to assume an attitude of elitism in relation to those involved.

Actually, this is not so. This secrecy is due to one thing: fear of scrutiny from the outside world, which leads to police harrassment and ultimately the shutting down of show venues. So, the end result is that a wonderfully rich scene of left of center types operates in a type of void, driven by the desire to simply survive.

And what of the music itself? In a nutshell, this style/aesthetic is fairly varied in and of itself. We are, however, of the opinion that one band stands above all others as defining the essence and nature of this aural experience: ARAB ON RADAR.
Exactly who is this group? Well, the band itself had two distinct line-ups, the first being a traditional five-piece arrangement of drums, bass, two guitars and vocals, the second line-up sans bass.
Aurally, one enters a new sound-world. When the music starts playing, ones sensibilities are consistently and constantly assaulted. Incessantly. Without pause.
There were and continue to be many great bands in Providence performing in the style known as "NOISE." Pink and Brown, Vincebus Eruptum, Olneyville Sound System, Daughters, White Mice, Tinsel Teeth, Tiny hawks, Made IN Mexico, Chinese Stars, Athletic Automaton... to name but a few. But Arab On radar are still the greatest.

Go to Arab on Radar's myspace page: