The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Alexander Noice
Noice Nick Roseblade , August 29th, 2019 08:17

Alexander Noice's new record may appear cacophonous and claustrophobic at first glance, but don't let that fool you – it really is cacophonous and claustrophobic, but underneath that, there's some wild pop inventiveness, finds Nick Roseblade

Sometimes the theme of an album is hiding in plain sight. The artwork for LA composer, guitarist, producer and polymath Alexander Noice’s new album Noice depicts him sitting in the corner of an upside down room. At a first glance it raises smile, but you don’t pay it much mind. As the jazz-art-rock album progresses, the cover starts to take on more significant meaning. Noice sitting upside down appears to subvert the nature of gravity and his music subverts everything about popular rock and pop.

‘Affectation’ opens with almost indecipherable vocals before maelstroms of guitars, synths, saxophone start to whip up. Then a third of the way through, Noice takes things up a notch and it just kicks off. This is fast and frenetic stuff, but there is a joyful bounce to it that is hard to ignore. And this is Noice’s skill. He creates incredibly dense and layered pieces of music that at first sound nausea-inducing, but gradually become skewed pop gems.

What makes Noice immense is Noice’s guitar work. His playing is virtuosic and unrelenting. Each track feels like an unceasing wave of riff after riff. Some are nothing more than a few scattershot notes, others jazz scats, and then there are the full blown face melting solos. Punctuating this are operatic vocals that adds to the maniacal glee of the proceedings. Opening track ‘Ambit’ exemplifies this.

Noice is a real step up from his last album, Music Made From Voices, in which Noice took a single note sung by eight different people as the only source material. He crafted eight songs that were filled with filigree melodies and fragmented loops. On Noice, he uses the same vocal techniques but with the added texture of unrelenting guitar solos and saxophone to create a richly textured album.

At first Noice feels cacophonous, claustrophobic and impregnable, then after a few listens you realise that the album is cacophonous and claustrophobic but just under the surface there lurks a lavish and rewarding album, filled with poppy hooks and inventive arrangements.