Overwhelming IRL sonic experiences

Corpsey

call me big papa
Stuff that won't translate via YouTube. Or even via headphones (unless you're on acid or something).

I just saw an exhibition with a 9m X 9m painting. No way you can capture that presence in a photograph.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I've not been to a reggae soundsystem night more than once or twice. But that's the sort of thing - overwhelming bass, totally transforms the music, totally rattles your system.
 

Leo

Well-known member
La Monte Young, Dream House installation. Sound and light, truly immersive, takes you someplace else.

Ryoji Ikeda performing "+/-" at Sonar Barcelona 1999. Electronic music like never before, raw pulses so loud that you felt them to your core. at once punishing and meditative.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
These days, me too - I used to go clubbing a lot but not these days.

Actually Kodes night at Corsica was the last time I remember being overwhelmed by the bass.
 

RWY

Well-known member
Actually Kodes night at Corsica was the last time I remember being overwhelmed by the bass.

Evian Christ's Trance Party at Corsica is pretty full on with the smoke machines and strobes accompanying that soundsystem
 

john eden

male pale and stale
The Bug's Pressure night that DannyL and I went to last year.

Brought out all those influences so well- SWANS, Shaka, Iration Steppas, Loop and the Butthole Surfers. Pounding psychedelic dubwise noise.

What's interesting is that it has to be overwhelming and GOOD. These days if I see something super loud and overwhelming and it's shit I just put earplugs in, or step outside.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
It doesn't have to be loud either - you can hear a pin drop at Cafe OTO sometimes. The intricacies of a good improv gig also don't come across on Youtube or whatever.

I saw Neil Charles and Elaine Mitchener at Cafe OTO recently and Elaine's improvised guttaral non-verbal vocals were indescribably powerful. But not overly amplified or anything. I found a young man crying in the toilets afterwards and it turned out he was completely fine but had just found the whole thing very powerful - he'd never seen anything like it before.

Part of me was jealous.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Throbbing Gristle closing what turned out to be their last ever gig with 'Discipline'.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
I'm always amazed by how different an experience dub is on a soundsystem compared to listening to the tunes at a responsible volume at home. It's like the difference between looking at a diagram of the floor plan of a power station and walking around inside it while it's in operation.

And we saw Sunn O))) at the Roundhouse last year, which is another one where the musical impact is almost inseparable from the sheer physicality of the sound.
 

Leo

Well-known member
reading recent comments reminds me of similar things:

swans at white columns gallery (memorialized on the "speed trials" comp), the brutality of metal bashing up close and personal. before gira became a songwriter and and played acoustic guitar, roli mossiman with them at the time.

psychic TV in their first NY gig at danceteria, where they closed with a track called "skinhead stomp" in front of giant video projections showing things like close ups of a circumcision (also memorialized on vinyl on "NY Scum"), true shock and awe sensory overload. more than one hipster in the crowd looked ready to pass out.

lee renaldo, experimental solo gig at cbgb (opening for swans) where it was just him crouched down on the floor working a few noise boxes and pedals.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I need to get out more.

As I get older I take it for granted more and more that music is for headphones and home speakers. Which a lot of it isn't.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
This was around 6 years ago. I was on the Costa Brava, closer to the Pyrenees than Barcelona, in a duplex, part of a small group set into the steep slope of a wide, scalloped bay. I was sitting on a small terrace facing South East. Travel in a straight line from this point and you'd eventually hit Sicily, go left and you'd be heading for Marseilles.

The children had been put to bed and it was that time when you can settle and enjoy the evening before tiredness sets in. It was late May I think, warm at night, full moon halo mirrored in the Mediterranean, a slight breeze nudging the clouds.

As I sat there reading and looking at the sky I became aware of a low, deep drone. An engine I thought, maybe a ferry, perhaps a plane - but there was nothing in sight for miles. The noise expanded and amplified, seeming to emanate from the moon's reflection in the water, a smooth, gliding rumble pulsing outward in concentric circles and rebounding off the terraced inclines. The sound continued for about 2 minutes, growing in intensity and volume, then slowly faded, taking as long to dissipate, dissolving into the surrounding slopes, vegetation and structures.

Some acoustic trick I suppose, an aural brocken spectre, projecting an unseen sound, transforming the bay into a reverberant natural cathedral. Or maybe some escaped wild drone - a yawn of sea - or moonlight, augmented, magnified, and then made audible for a brief moment.
 
Last edited:

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Or maybe some escaped wild drone - a yawn of sea - or moonlight, augmented, magnified, and then made audible for a brief moment.
yall just know this

that droid is, among other things, a true druidic poet of an earlier and perhaps more spiritually noble age

and we do love him for it
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
mine. two. one non-musical, one semi-musical.

1) countless times in life: riding a bicycle underneath elevated tracks as a train goes by overhead, especially when you're going in the same direction and you ride under the train for several consecutive blocks. it's not necessarily the loudness - tho it is loud - but the totality of the sensory expense. live wire sonic energy vibrating down thru every inch of your skeleton, teeth rattling microtonally in their sockets, the heightened mind-body awareness of riding a bicycle fast through heavy track, the perfect illusion of an eternal now in which there is no future and no past, merely the current moment being experienced stretching out infinitely in both directions.

2) a basement hardcore show, ca. 2000ish: some more noiseish band ending their 20-minute set with like 10 minutes of squalling, overpowerlingly loud feedback. the crowd was 100% not into it. it was the first time I'd ever heard of something like that - like, you don't have to play songs? you can just make crazy noise with no discernible parameters? it blew my goddamn mind.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Not my experience and one I hope I never get close to - but I know the (British, co-) director of the recent documentary on Syria, For Sama. The other director is Syrian (Waed Al-Kaetaeb) and it's her amateur footage of the revolution and its oppression that makes the film. I was visiting him for unrelated reasons when he lived in a church - doing that sitting premises business. It was near some train tracks and that, in conjunction with the church acoustics, make a really strange and powerful rumble when the trains go past. He told us she'd commented it was exactly the same sound as the Russian jets coming in on bombing sorties over Aleppo
 
Last edited:

DannyL

Wild Horses
The Bug's Pressure night that DannyL and I went to last year.

Brought out all those influences so well- SWANS, Shaka, Iration Steppas, Loop and the Butthole Surfers. Pounding psychedelic dubwise noise.

What's interesting is that it has to be overwhelming and GOOD. These days if I see something super loud and overwhelming and it's shit I just put earplugs in, or step outside.

I'd just add this was insane. It actually made me laugh out loud when I first felt it. Haven't had my trousers flap like since Jah Shaka days.
 

sufi

lala
(non-musical)
Inside the data centre - huge white-ish noise of 1000s of fans pumping cool air over 1000s & 1000s of servers, and hefty aircon sucking all the hot air out of alternate rows of racks
almost deafening, you can't hear people speak or your own footsteps, the whole environment hums and vibrates.
then you get outdoors, it's right up next to the north circular and you notice that it's strangely quiet

the noise is one unworldly aspect of that unique weird non-human space that's the physicality of the internet - a massive power hungry warehouse crammed full of megagigaterabytes fizzing away, away from flightpaths and flood plains behind triple layers of top high tech security, rarely witnessed by fleshy eyes or ears
 
Top