There are some albums that you just remember where you were when you heard them. It was a Wednesday lunchtime at school when I first heard Green Day’s Dookie on crappy portable speakers hooked up to a Walkman whose battery was slowly dying. I was in a friend’s car driving cruising Bournemouth’s Westover Road pumping out Add N to (x)‘s Avant Hard. I was on a college trip heading to Dublin when I heard Carl Crack’s Black Ark. Outside the coach was pitch black. I had no idea where I was or going for that matter. The music matched my paranoia, and excitement, perfectly. And I was at my in-law’s house reading an Anna Quinn book and listening to Girls Invented Noise Not Industrial Coast before going to bed. Needless to say, I stopped reading very quickly and didn’t think about going to bed until the album was over.
My first impression of Girls Invented Noise Not Industrial Coast is that it feels more like a time capsule, or cross-section of the best of the best than a collection of songs. Each artist involved is at the peak of their discipline. Despite the tongue in cheek title, there is very little capital N noise going on. The music flits between DIY pop, lo-fi techno, electronic workouts, spoken word pieces, dark electro, and music with an abrasive gleam in its eye.
The standout tracks are from Bacon Grease, Betty White Noise, and Evicshen. What makes these tracks rise above the rest is hard to say. This is a pretty stacked comp. However, these tracks really spoke to me in a way that the others didn’t quite manage to do. The wonky techno of Bacon Grease would sound incredible coming out of massive speakers in the small room of a club. Bacon Grease’s music is mostly improvised. This gives it a slightly hypnotic vibe and you never really know where it’s going. Evicshen’s on the other hand feels meticulously planned. Nothing is left to chance, but that doesn’t mean it’s rigid. Far from it. ‘Worsted’ never rushing to the point, instead skews along chucking out abrasive tones and juddering basslines. It could be one of the most destructive things Evicshen has released and one of her most charming. Then we come to Betty White Noise. Which feels like somewhere between the two. What separates ‘Mother Earth’ from ‘I Need You to See’ and ‘Worsted’ is that it feels like the whole song is built around distorted soaring vocals. They are the focal point, the rest is just nice texture. Jagged synths jut out like thorns on a rose’s stem. You try to avoid them as you reach to smell the flower, but you get a few nicks. The same is true of ‘Mother Earth.’ As you try and decipher the vocals you get snagged on the audio detritus surrounding it.
If this is your first experience with this kind of music you have been spoilt. My advice is to go down the rabbit hole with every artist. Most of them have a load of music online to engage with and are well worth your time. If you are already familiar with the music contained, how great is this album? It feels like an instant classic like The Japanese/American Noise Treaty did. In years to come, there will be people who can list these artists, and track names, like football fans, remember winning teams and players.
What ‘Girls Invented Noise Not Industrial Coast’ does is firmly put the spotlight on 20 female/non-male artists who are pushing the boundaries of what experimental music can, and should, be. Yes, at times a lot of the comp isn’t actually noise, but I don’t hold that against anyone as it’s such an awesome title. Rumour has it that there won’t be a follow-up. This is a shame as I’d love a series of these tapes. Like a noise Now album, but it probably has more power as a one-off. Whatever happens, nothing can detract from the sheer power, and enjoyment, of this comp.