Heart Of The Whore
The Music You Have Never Heard
By Kathleen Cahill
Artists of all styles have pushed their music into a state where it leaves the realm of what most people consider music to walk the fine line of noise. With roots dating back to the early 1900s, noise is nothing new. In fact, noise has even been heard in the mainstream, brought to us by such artists as Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, Jimi Hendrix and Nine Inch Nails. In the local area’s underground scene of noise, Luke Tandy, originally from, Muncie, Indiana, has helped to revitalize the already-existing scene by moving to Dayton in 2007. Tandy brought his style of harsh noise and opened a house venue named The Acid Fever House, now closed, that featured avant-garde acts from around the country.
Harsh noise is a sub-genre of noise. Like its name implies, harsh noise is more intense, loud and traditionally uses more static. Tandy, who specializes in creating harsh noise that uses heavy feedback, uses microphones, scrap metal and tapes, and has three noise projects consisting of two solo acts: Being and Tephra, and a third project named Heart of the Whore, with fellow members John Moloney and Matt Reis. “You tape the contact mic to the piece of scrap metal’s surface and it picks up the vibrations when you manipulate it and scrape other metal against it. It’s super loud amplified junk metal,” Tandy relayed about his use of special microphones called contact mics that he uses in his harsh noise projects.
Tandy was first introduced to noise music while attending Ball State University in Indiana. He started out listening to electronic music and bands like Sonic Youth. “There is the rock side to noise and the electronic music side, but I kept wanting to hear something more far out which led me to noise.” Harsh noise is not considered music by most standards, but for Tandy and others, harsh noise is more than music – it’s a way of life. The scene has an almost cult-like following as well, with album art that falls under a very stylized dark and minimalist formula. Within the noise scene, cassette tapes are still alive and doing well with the majority of noise releases today being produced on tapes.
Tandy’s latest release on cassette tape under his project Being is titled Slated for Evacuation. The album itself shows the true progression of Being as it reaches new heights by bringing in more highs, lows and mids to the music. “I tried to expand the palette of sounds and leave behind the monolithic wall of harsh sound,” said Tandy. “It’s more dynamic.” The tape is full of feedback layers that evoke thoughts of human voices hidden under the static. In his album there is almost a rhythm to the music, of which noise music is usually void. This rhythm of feedback static and dissonant sound brings about ideas of a violent ocean with beating waves against a rocky shoreline. The album is not for the faint-of-heart due to the heavy and aggressive nature of Tandy’s music. When talking about his live sets played out mainly in basements and art venues, Tandy states, “I start off minimal but then it turns violent by thrashing the metal around.”
When first listening to noise, most reactions tend to be that of confusion and
negativity. “It is very confrontational and is far outside the norm, and it doesn’t really sound like music to people,” said Tandy. “It sounds like something is broken and that can be bothersome for people.” While this is a common reaction people give him when exposed to noise music, he confessed his feeling about harsh noise and why he has been drawn to such odd music by stating, “It’s cliché to say but a lot of people use the word cathartic to describe it. I obtain a cathartic level, it’s a total release. A nice release I never get to feel otherwise.”
Tandy is also a producer of music, releasing albums on his record label Skeleton Dust Recordings, and was honored to do a release for the well-known noise musician Richard Ramirez. Besides running his record label and producing his three music projects, Tandy has managed to go on tour over the past couple of years. In 2007, he played at the St. Louis Noise Fest and has toured throughout the Midwest, Philadelphia, New York and Texas. This past summer, he toured with other noise musicians such as Paranoid Time, Taskmaster and Rusalka. When reflecting on his involvement within the noise scene over the years, he concluded, “Noise doesn’t feel like noise to me anymore, but a different kind of music.”
For more information, contact Luke Tandy at SkeletonDust.Blogspot.com or MySpace.com/BeingSound
Reach DCP freelance writer Kathleen Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org