Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Noise Performer John Wiese To Bring Cacophony of Sounds to Sediment Arts 4/11 - RVA MAG


Posted by: brad – Apr 09, 2014


If you like your music dissonant and cacophonous, sound artist John Wiese will be performing live at Richmond’s Sediment Arts gallery this Friday April 11th, in conjunction with RVA Noise.

While noise may not be the most accessible genre, Wiese seems to have made a name for himself within the scene, boasting an impressive resume with his grind/noisecore band Sissy Spacek and his work with bands like No Age, Wolf Eyes, and Sunn O))). Although Wiese has an extensive list of collaborations, his performance at Sediment will consist of his solo work.

If you’re looking for melody in John Wiese’s work, you will be disappointed. Throw away harmony and rhythm; this music is all about sound manipulation, experimentation, and processed sounds. This is noise music by definition, and Wiese’s work is a mainstay in the genre. Luckily, we were able to speak with Wiese about his music and his upcoming show at Sediment.

Wiese says he doesn’t really think of himself as a musician in the traditional sense. Instead of writing notated music, Wiese works with manipulating, cutting and arranging sounds. The end product is more like a collage but nothing short of meticulous. Wiese’s music is dense, with a variety of sounds ranging from minimal and mysterious to abrupt and abrasive.

Wiese’s sees shows as being a momentary experience, and uses them as an opportunity for further experimentation. He doesn’t plan on playing anything previously recorded. He lets his music evolve and change over time. Through this approach, every one of his shows are different. “Even if I did try to play the same thing every night, I couldn’t,” Wiese said.

As far as his live setup, Wiese said, “Equipment has dwindled to barely anything.” However, he says he prefers a minimal setup because it give more focus to the ideas of the sound, and not the logistics. Wiese elaborated, saying, “I think it's important to be super-free, and can experiment and do anything that you want. I have very little interest in making material that’s recreated accurately [live].”

Although Wiese’s approach may seem unmethodical, there is a level of cohesion. Instead of arranged performances, Wiese relates his live show to a form of improvisation. “I’m using a palette of source material and sounds; but what comes out is based on in-the-moment decisions,” he said. As far as his sound palette, Wiese's sound is still in the realm of his last album, Seven of Wands. It’s an album full of dark eerie atmospheres, with moments of chaos but also bleak minimalism.

This is interesting, especially considering Wiese’s early influences. Wiese said, “As a 14-year-old in 1992, Deicide’s first album was the most insane thing I’d ever heard.” He dropped names of other metal bands as well, such as Obituary and Suffocation. Looking at his various music projects, it's no surprise Wiese is super into death metal.

Wiese also remembers his early memories of making sound collages and noise tapes. He recalls recording on his friend’s four track what turned out sounding like noise-core. It was something he had never heard before. “I was living in the Midwest; I had no concept of a noise scene. I had no idea that other people did this.” He started out just making noise music for himself and his friends.
Wiese explained that his solo work is inspired by his solo shows, and that his style is constantly and gradually changing over time. His solo records serve as a way to track his progress and the development of his sound. Wiese says, “I think of recorded music as an object, and live music as much more ephemeral.”

In light of all of this, there's no doubt his performance at Sediment Arts will be a unique experience. The show takes place this Friday, April 11, beginning at 8 PM. Local support will be provided by Broadcastatic and IGM. A suggested donation of $5-10 is requested. Sediment Arts is located at 208 E. Grace St. For more info, click here.

Words by Joseph Vargo

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