Preview: Radio 1’s Art of Noise

By on Monday, 12th April 2010 at 12:00 pm

I’m not going to lie to you – my music tastes are pretty mainstream, sometimes a bit off-kilter, but generally I don’t go too much to the extremes of any genre. Most experimental electronic music has long been off my radar, with me thinking it was largely unlistenable blips, clicks and thumps with little melody made by bearded middle aged men. However, tonight in the first of a two part documentary, Radio 1’s Dev receives an education in the history of the genre and tries to make his own track in an attempt to get Mary Anne Hobbs to play it on her cutting-edge show.

Many of the names mentioned in the show were familiar to me (Autechre, Aphex Twin (pictured at top) etc), but I couldn’t tell you anything about them or their music, so the hour long show is a great overview of the whole scene, both historically and at the moment. I was surprised at just how much of the stuff played I liked, and Dev’s easy going daytime ways made it all easy to digest. Understandably, some of you will hate that a massive scene is being turned into a one-hour overview, but for the casual listener it’s a great start.

Some of the music (towards the end of the documentary form Wrong Music) is rather, erm, “different” (okay, an all-out assault on my ears) and not what I would choose to listen to at all, but like all genres, there’s stuff you like and stuff you’re not so keen on. Some of you will love it no doubt.

The underpinning theme to the show is Dev’s challenge to make a track decent enough for Mary Anne Hobbs to play on her show – in just two weeks. US artist Starkey did it a few weeks ago on Mary Anne’s show when he made a track it in just two hours, but he’s had years of practice so Dev had to learn quickly about what makes a good experimental electronic track.

Next Monday, Dev explores the live experimental music scene – going to large festivals ATP and Bloc, and smaller more underground nights around the UK. If you’re adventurous in your music tastes, but not sure where to start, you certainly could do a lot worse than checking out this documentary.

You can catch Radio 1’s Art of Noise tonight at 9pm, or on the iPlayer after the show has finished.

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