"What is music but organized sound?"
— French composer Edgard Varese
We spend our days submerged in a soup of sounds, especially when we're outside; from the bustling streets to the natural world, as acclimated to it as fish to water. The perceptual shift only happens when we put on some 'music' and start enjoying sound that is more organized; that speaks to us and stimulates us. Our ears are conditioned to these patterns of sound that can be distinguished via genres. This 'music' that grips our attention is discernibly different from the aforementioned 'passive' sounds of the world. Experimental or noise music aims to blur this boundary between 'music' and 'non-music'.
Noise/experimental fall outside of rhythmic patterns that make music music. It can have dynamics and structure, depending on the artist, but most of the fans of this genre seem to be more interested in the sound on a timbral level; focusing on texture instead of melody. Dispensing the conventional use of melody, harmony, rhythm or pulse, noise/experimental music embraces improvisation, extended technique, cacophony and indeterminacy, aiming to take listeners to uncharted sonic territories, to see what unfolds in the absence of the 4/4 beat anchor.
Recently, Nonclassical, a British independent experimental record label released a limited edition double-LP and digital album Disruptive Frequencies, featuring Black and South Asian artists NikNak, Dhangsha, Nikki Sheth, Poulomi Desai, Bantu and Dushume performing at the LPs launch release party for Sound Unwrapped, a year-long series of concerts that explores spacial dimensions in live performance and the creativity of sound artists at King's Place in London.
Watch its promo below.
Amit Dinesh Patel AKA Dushume embarked on a research project in 2021 to tackle the underrepresentation of Black and Brown artists in experimental music and sound in an initiative titled 'Exploring Cultural Diversity in Experimental Sound' at the Sound/Image Research Centre, University of Greenwich. Amit, alongside five other Black and South Asian experimental and electronic artists, recorded new music, which is now being released as part of Disruptive Frequencies.
"Crossing noise, high-energy electronic music, deep bass, ambient and experimental soundscapes, this compilation is a statement challenging institutional Whiteness, racist biases, lack of visibility and access to experimental practices. Each contribution pushes the boundaries of sound manipulation, turntablism, field recording, audio fragmentations and sound collage techniques," read the album notes.
Dushume, an experimental noise and sound artist deeply influenced by Asian underground music and DJ culture and whose work centres around the lack and loss of control.
Poulomi Dessai, a British multimedia artist whose modified sitar ventures into industrial, noise-influenced improvised art performances, challenging the strictures imposed upon the instrument, the player, and the assumptions made about her own identity.
Nikki Sheth, an internationally recognized sound artist and composer, who employs her talents to give voice to the environment and foster a deeper connection with the natural world through field recordings, soundscape composition, multimedia installations, sound mapping, and sound walking; channelling multichannel and ambisonic spatial practices.
Aniruddha Das AKA Dhangsha (meaning 'destruction' in Bengali) an electronic musician operating at the interface of bass music and experimental noise with distorted alien motifs, minimalism, repetition, and fragmentation in sound, culminating in dark, edgy soundscapes that imply profound political sentiments.
In a groundbreaking celebration of diversity and artistic rebellion, Disruptive Frequencies is a project that aims to challenge racial monopoly over the musical landscape and shed light on the creative identities of contemporary Black and South Asian electronic artists, unleashing a multicultural revolution within the realm of experimental sound.