Art of Noises
October 28, 2009 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Luigi Russolo was a futurist painter, experimental composer, and instrument builder. In his 1913 manifesto "The Art of Noises" he declaimed the death of traditional Western music and foresaw the dawning of a new music based on the grinding, screeching, moaning, crackling and buzzing of mechanical instruments. He and his assistant Ugo Piatti built the Intonarumori to bring these new sounds - "the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags" - to life. Listen to them, then and now.
posted by fire&wings (10 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There was a post on this 41 days ago.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2009

If you are referring to my noise post, ironmouth, I am pretty sure that there is enough material for at least 30 more specific posts about artists touched on there without being doubles.
posted by idiopath at 12:03 PM on October 28, 2009

Previously: An incomplete and biased overview of the history of noise (as referenced by Ironmouth)

This post isn't so much about noise as music, but Luigi Russolo and the Intonarumori, which was mentioned almost in passing in idiopath's post.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on October 28, 2009

There's a Material album called Intonarumori. Bill Laswell with a bunch of left-field hip-hop folks (Rammellzee, Eddie Def, Killah Priest, etc.). Worth hearing, if that description sounds appealing.
posted by box at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2009

Cool. Great post.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2009

The funny thing about the Futurists (though maybe not exactly ha-ha funny) is that they were all so wildly exhilarated by their newly motorized world that they just couldn't wait to sign up for that great international exhibition of brand new diesel-powered do-dads we now refer to as World War I. As a consequence, Futurism, along with its fervent proponents, was quite short-lived.

The Intonarumori (new to me!) sums up the attitude quite beautifully. Great post!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:08 PM on October 28, 2009

"For you I am a Chrysanthemum, Supernova, Urgent Star..."

Einsturzende Neubauten - Blume

Swell video with futurist instrument props.
posted by ovvl at 5:50 PM on October 28, 2009

Whatever happened to Metal Machine Music?
posted by LSK at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2009

Metal Machine Music has been reprinted and is no harder to find than most other Lou Reed albums. Personally I prefer the sound of Russolo's instruments to that guitar feedback stuff.
posted by idiopath at 6:13 PM on October 28, 2009

What's interesting is how the intonarumori sound. In contrast with noise artists of my lifetime, the intonarumori have a physicality to the sound that comes from being generated physically rather than through electronics processing. They had a heft and body that was less convincing as, say, an angle grinder, but sounded more like a musical interpretation of an angle grinder than electronic noise would.

It's nice noise, a sharp-edges-rounded version of what we're used to now.

As a kid I remember seeing the photo of Russolo surrounded by his boxes with flared cones pointing at random angles, and thinking it was one of the oddest things ever. Thanks for dredging up that memory, and for the chance to finally hear them in action.
posted by ardgedee at 7:04 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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