Don interviews Brendan Foster of the Tsar Power podcast who has a keen interest in Noise Music. They discuss Eugene Thacker's theories about the occult and noise, music theory, angeology AND demonology. And at the very end, stay tuned for an original noise music track by Brendan called "Adrenalchrome Junkie."
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The Devil in Noise
[00:00:00] Emily Quann: You know what I really want right now.
[00:00:02] Don Early: What do you want?
[00:00:03] Emily Quann: Corn nuts.
[00:00:05] Don Early: Ooh,
[00:00:05] Jeremy Spray: Why? That's a
[00:00:06] Don Early: odd.
[00:00:07] Emily Quann: it's so random. Like I haven't had corn nuts in like forever. And then I was just like, I want ranch corn nuts
[00:00:15] Jeremy Spray: Do you remember
[00:00:15] Emily Quann: barbecue ones. And I like, it's been.
[00:00:18] Jeremy Spray: are?
[00:00:19] Emily Quann: Are they stale? I don't remember that. I just remember like in high school, eating those and being like, oh, these are really good.
[00:00:25] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:00:26] Emily Quann: like, people would share them with me. I never bought them, but like, this is decades ago and now, like right now, it's just like, I wanna be eating corn nuts right now.
[00:00:34] Don Early: Wow.
[00:00:35] Jeremy Spray: incredibly salty, so you might be dehydrated, needing some salt, but they're also, they tend to be kind of stale. They like, they're like extra chunk crunchy, and then they're like that hard. Oh, right. This is
[00:00:47] Emily Quann: I'm gonna break my tooth type of thing. Okay. Yeah.
[00:00:51] Don Early: aren't they just dried harmony?
[00:00:55] Jeremy Spray: Yes, I think so. But
[00:00:57] Emily Quann: they're like the right size for that.
[00:00:59] Don Early: I think that's what they are.
[00:01:01] Jeremy Spray: they're, they're like staled out for something else. Like, like I remember getting a whole bunch of Mountain Man Corn Nuts and they called them something else and those are, those tended to be great all the time. And then I went to the like Corn Nuts. I was like, oh, these are really hard to chew.
[00:01:16] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:01:16] Jeremy Spray: genuinely, Too much.
[00:01:19] Don Early: Well,
[00:01:20] Jeremy Spray: can't crave them like, like crave on, but just be aware that like when you have them be like your memory of what they were decades ago versus now might, might be a little different
[00:01:29] Emily Quann: Okay, well now, now I gotta go get
[00:01:32] Don Early: now. it's
[00:01:32] Jeremy Spray: want
[00:01:33] Emily Quann: Now I have to see.
[00:01:34] Jeremy Spray: let's come back to this. Let Emily get her corn nuts. We'll come back and record,
[00:01:38] Don Early: I think this would be an audio nightmare for many listeners, including me.
[00:01:43] Jeremy Spray: including you, especially you.
[00:01:46] Emily Quann: Oh, I would mute myself.
[00:01:48] Don Early: Oh, my God, this is The Devil You Don't Know.
[00:02:12] It's season three episode one. We're talking about noise today. I am Don Early, and I am as always accompanied by Emily
[00:02:22] Emily Quann: Hello.
[00:02:23] Don Early: and Jeremy
[00:02:24] Jeremy Spray: Hey.
[00:02:25] Don Early: And I heard from Brendan. Brendan Foster today, uh, you'll get to listen to this interview. He is a co-host of Tsar Power. Which I think is very clever, named Tsar Power Podcast. T s a R. Um,
[00:02:42] yeah, right. You like Start, start.
[00:02:46] Did you
[00:02:46] Emily Quann: I
[00:02:47] Jeremy Spray: not quite star power. Got it.
[00:02:49] Emily Quann: sarr
[00:02:50] Jeremy Spray: Czar power.
[00:02:51] Emily Quann: czar power.
[00:02:53] Don Early: And the history of, uh, I'm still not gonna get this right. Sakhar Velo podcast. I'm not sure.
[00:03:00] Jeremy Spray: How do you spell that one?
[00:03:01] Don Early: S A Q A R T V E L O.
[00:03:06] Jeremy Spray: Yep.
[00:03:06] Don Early: S uh, I'm going with Shart fellow. The, the, the,
[00:03:12] Emily Quann: I dunno.
[00:03:13] Don Early: the emphasis is probably on the wrong syllable, but it's somewhere in the mix there. Anyway, he's a podcaster.
[00:03:18] He is been doing it for a while, and he approached me with some ideas about noise music. And Jeremy, I, I played him your question about noise, uh, around, you know, that Tool. Uh, yeah. So you said there was the Tool album. So I didn't know if that was right. I thought it, what he was gonna be talking about was something else entirely. We'll get into this interview Brendan Foster, talking about noise, music, the occult demons and all that within, so let's get into it.
[00:03:56] Emily Quann: Sweet.
[00:03:57] Don Early: Well, thank you Brendan for joining The Devil You Don't Know Podcast. I, I'm very excited to hear what, um, what you're excited to talk about today. Uh, we chatted slightly on the, um, History Podcast Discord Server, and, uh, I just kind of threw out, Hey, I, I would love to talk to anyone in this field who has anything related to the devil or AJ Devil adjacent topics, and you tell me what, what came to your mind?
[00:04:37] Brendan Foster: Um, what came to my mind was, uh, a substack essay I recently written it's called, yeah, Noise Music Dissolution and Disunity with the Divine: A Theory of Disorder and Music. And that is from my substack um, inventedorgans.substack.Com. Where if you're interested in, probably, probably a lot of your audience will be interested in this. I talk about noise music, I talk about body horror.
[00:05:02] Um, I talk about Junji Ito, a whole host of things that just pick my interest as, uh, a morbid, a morbid person who's also trying to put an intellectual veneer over everything.
[00:05:17] Don Early: Got it. Well, tell me about your, your podcast, your background, and who you are in that space.
[00:05:24] Brendan Foster: Yeah. So anyway, my name's Brendan. I'm from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Uh, and, uh, I don't really, actually, this does really nothing to do with what we're gonna talk about today, but I'm the co-host of Tsar Power, which is a, podcast where Roberto Toro and I rank all of the Russian rulers from Rurik to Putin.
[00:05:45] And I joked earlier, appearing on this podcast is not going to help our reputation as the most evil rexi pod, uh, on the air. Um, and besides that, I do behind the scenes work for Roberto's other podcast, History of Saqartvelo Georgia. Once in a while, my voice appears on there, but not often. Um, and it's, it's funny that this happened now because the rule is with Tsar Powers, I'm not allowed to do any research ahead. I have to go in cold. Um, which I violate all the time because I love 20th century American history. And I was reading something about McCarthyism and of course the Soviet Union had to pop up there. But, we just had a, a ruler named, uh, Vila, the sorcerer who according to the primary Russian Chronicles, um, which are not super reliable, but it's our only primary source, uh, he was a shapeshifting, shifting sorcerer who could transform into a deer, an elk, um, in eagle, a wolf, and a serpent.
[00:06:49] Don Early: That's amazing.
[00:06:50] Brendan Foster: so whichever monks in the 13th century wrote that down, probably not a huge fan of this guy. They literally demonized him.
[00:07:00] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah, we, we are quite familiar with that in, um, the realms of history.
[00:07:05] Brendan Foster: Elaine, um, Elaine Pagels' book, um, Origins of Satan. I saw that you did a read through of that, which I was doing some extra research and I noticed that her name popped up. I haven't, I haven't read her. Um, but now I'll definitely give that book a read.
[00:07:20] Don Early: it's a, yeah, it's good. She is also super well known for, um, the, her work on the Gnostic Gospels.
[00:07:29] Brendan Foster: Oh, interesting.
[00:07:31] Don Early: that's her main forte I think.
[00:07:33] Brendan Foster: Very cool. Very cool.
[00:07:36] Don Early: Yeah, so I was telling my co-hosts about kind of the direction of where we're gonna go this season, doing more interviews, and I was talking about you and your idea about noise music and noise theory and that sort of thing. It was just a subject I know zero about. So I'm very excited to talk to you about that.
[00:07:55] But, um, I'm gonna play a clip right now. This is what Jeremy was wondering if this was all about. So, um, hang tight and, uh, let me know what you think about this.
[00:08:06] Jeremy Spray: There is a, so, sorry. There's a track on Tools' album from 15 years ago. Oh, right, yes. Where I know what you're talking about. All they, so their electronic equipment while they were taking a break, turned itself on and they, they couldn't turn, figure out why it just was on. And so they hit record and let whatever sound was coming through, the amplifiers be recorded and it is Oh, gotcha.
[00:08:30] It's got guttural sounds and different tones and they believed it was a demonic connection, or at least that's what they put in the album, right? They're like, here's the voice. But, but like there was a whole thing that was up and around that because, because several other people came in afterwards, they're like, me too.
[00:08:46] And like, it's out. It's also happened to me. And so there was this level. So that's where, that's where my head was going. Is that about right?
[00:08:53] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Actually it's not far off. One of the main ideas I had was, um, in noise music, noise musicians and musicians in other genres like Black Metal and Grind Core, which I was gonna talk about a bit. Um, they, uh, they, they prefer to engage with equipment when it's breaking down. is basically, and this is also present in Glitch music as well.
[00:09:19] The, uh, German band Oval is probably one of the more famous, um, glitch, ambient, production teams, uh, ever. They, uh, they had a method of making ambient music. This was on their album, uh, 94 Diskont where they would take CDs and they would draw and then with Black Sharpies with, and then they would put them in a CD player and they would record it skipping
[00:09:42] Don Early: Huh!
[00:09:43] Brendan Foster: And.
[00:09:44] Brendan Foster: This is how a lot of glitch music works. It's, it's in the realm of focusing on when technology goes wrong. Um, and it's the same with noise. You can probably trace the, um, genealogy of noise all the way back to the earliest, uh, blues musicians. The reason that the sound of a overdriven guitar is so fundamental to rock music is basically because if you've ever seen a guitar amplifier, there's a knob on there that says Gain.
[00:10:18] You turn that all the way up, and the waveform of the electrical signal will basically hit the roof and the floor of what the amp is capable of handling, and that it's called clipping. It'll just clip off the top and the bottom of that waveform. So if you imagine a sine wave. You know, it's S shaped.
[00:10:40] Imagine like you want the sine wave to go all the way up, but it's the ceiling, quote unquote, is too low, so it's just flat and then it'll continue on its path. That's the phenomenon of clipping.
[00:10:54] Don Early: Okay.
[00:10:54] Brendan Foster: and I think in, uh, the Kinks. The Kinks. Their song, You Really Got Me, to achieve the particular guitar tone on that. I, I think apocryphally anyway, somebody in the band took a razor blade and cut up the, um, speaker of the amplifier.
[00:11:14] Don Early: Okay. I, I have lots of things that are firing my brain right now about, about this kind of thing. So, Tom Morello
[00:11:24] Brendan Foster: yeah.
[00:11:26] Don Early: Rage Against the Machine, Audio Slave,
[00:11:29] Brendan Foster: A genius.
[00:11:30] Don Early: all the, I mean, I, there's this YouTube video, I'll see if I can find it and link it in the description, but,
[00:11:36] Brendan Foster: probably know. With a one, you're mean?
[00:11:37] Don Early: but it's like 20 minutes long and it's just him, like talking about his, his, technique and what he, what he tries and it's like, he's just taken the, the co the plug of the amp and just slightly putting it into the guitar and, and getting this sort of noise and, and whatnot.
[00:11:55] And it's just, he, his exploration of what that fricking instrument can do is fascinating when it's, it's a noise. Like, it's like, I think I, I liked that term as noise because that's kind of what it is, just these weird sounds. But he's crafting it into a way that the human brain interprets as music,
[00:12:21] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Um, Tom Morello I think is, might be the apotheosis of it, but the OG of that was Jimi Hendrix. He was the true innovator of, he was the true innovator of using feedback. Um, and I would say the, now the main differences for Hendrix, the noise was a musical flourish.
[00:12:45] Um, it was, it was, it was part of his performance.
[00:12:49] I don't wanna say calling it a decoration, kind of cheapens it. But, you know, in his, uh, his, um, performance of the national anthem at Woodstock where he is making all of these machine gun noises and
[00:13:01] making it sound like bombs are falling, like
[00:13:04] Don Early: Right.
[00:13:06] Brendan Foster: that sort of thing was, it was just as important to expressing what he wanted to say politically, um, as it as was simply playing the national anthem at Woodstock, which is a, you know, a, a tradition at large public gatherings from, from, uh, you know, baseball games to football games and so on.
[00:13:27] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:13:28] Brendan Foster: Which now just reminds me of The Fleas horrible national anthem rendition. Oh my God.
[00:13:36] Don Early: so the other one that comes to mind is, is Eddie Van Halen. Um, so there was a lot of where he tried, you know, he makes the guitar talk to David Lee Roth in that, uh, song. And then there's uh, the other song, the Pound Cake where he takes the power drill, you know, to it. Um, that's kind of interesting. But this is beyond that though.
[00:14:00] There's, there's a whole music genre that is like this noise thing that's, that's far more, oh, I don't know if I wanna say extreme, but more heavy on the noise side than the traditional music side. Right?
[00:14:15] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Um, in fact, there's something of an ethos in certain underground d i y music scenes called Noise, Not Music.
[00:14:25] Because if you're making music, you're making pop. And that's commercial.
[00:14:28] Don Early: Got it. This sounds familiar.
[00:14:32] Brendan Foster: yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, that's more, that's more in grind core. They're, they're more guilty of snobbery. I say that as a grind core fan.
[00:14:40] but yeah, I, I didn't do much research on the history of noise music, so I won't speak as an authority on that, but Noise Music is a thriving underground music genre focused on making noise to, uh, with a variety of methods. Some people use laptops. Um, I've personally, my method was, I found out in Audacity there's a function where you can import raw data.
[00:15:14] And I sort of did that for like a bunch of MP4's and other files, random crap I had on my computer. And that's how I fade my, made my first Noise EP, which will come out eventually once the album art is finished. Uh, but, Yeah, some people are real purists about it. Um, most of the time, like with Lou Reed, um, he made the, uh, album, um, metal Machine Music.
[00:15:41] Widely regarded as one of the worst albums of all time because it was all noise. He did that with mostly guitar feedback. Um, but artists like Merzbow, for example, sort of liberated it, helped liberate it from the feedback, and you could use anything as a source. And he has a whole, he has a whole array of pedals.
[00:16:02] Don Early: So taking it back to, let's say the Tool example,
[00:16:06] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:07] Don Early: what's that about? You, one of the things that you said in our conversation was around the idea of noise music and the occult or noise music and, I don't know, anything to do with sort of the devil or the cult or,
[00:16:24] Brendan Foster: The demonic.
[00:16:25] Don Early: The demonic.
[00:16:26] What's up with that?
[00:16:28] Brendan Foster: it, it's really funny that your, your buddy said that it seemed like the, their equipment was possessed by a demon, because that's pretty close to something. Um, Eugene Thacker says, who is a, philosopher in media studies, theorist at the New School for Social Research. I have it in my notes here, but I believe he said that, it's, when, when, when people like Merzbow make music, what they're doing is they're sort of sending a signal into their array of pedals and equipment and simply letting it loop around. Um, and oftentimes the, the artist interaction with their equipment beyond that point is pretty minimal. It's not them playing the music, it's the music playing itself.
[00:17:20] Don Early: Okay.
[00:17:21] Brendan Foster: Kind of like a demon is possessing it,
[00:17:24] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:17:24] Brendan Foster: but it's more than that. So Thacker wrote a really cool piece for the, the magazine, online magazine, meta Mute called The Devil's Switchboard, where he talks about media theory in relation to, um, the work of the renaissance demonologist scholar, um, Armando Maggi.
[00:17:45] In Renaissance Angelology, in Renaissance Demonology, there is a necessity for intermediary spirits of some kind. So in Thomas Aquinas's, um, philosophy, for example, angels are not only something that are spoken of in the Bible and widely believed in and early Christianity and Christianity to this point, but they're a theological necessity.
[00:18:09] Um, because otherwise God is, God is purely ineffable to Aquinas. Um, so you need spirits of what he calls the upper atmosphere to mediate between God who is totally beyond material reality. He do, he God does not have a corporeal body. Um, but angels do, and so do demons, um, and us humans. The, the low, the material, the dirt and the worms there, somebody needs to connect this great chain of being from God to worms.
[00:18:50] And that's part of angels' job. So angels will do things such as give signs that humans can understand. Um, famously the angel Gabriel announced, the Mary's pregnancy to her, and I believe that was in Luke, but do not quote me. I'm not a biblical scholar. Um, although, yeah.
[00:19:12] Don Early: We're not either, we just, uh, read them.
[00:19:15] Brendan Foster: Yeah. So angels are, are mediators. They affect order the Divine Order. You might even say. This goes back to other religions and like the, the sort of culture that Christianity, early Christianity was stewing in which, um, was Greek paganism, daimons where we get the word demon from, um, are spirits that not only mediate between humanity and the divine, um, in this case the Greek gods not God, uh, the Christian, not the Christian or the Jewish God.
[00:19:48] Um, they are often spirits of natural forces. So the practice of augury in Roman prophecy or for fortune telling augers, um, is about observing the movement of birds and predicting the future based on that. This is because daimons are divine and daimons control how birds behave.
[00:20:10] Don Early: Sure. Bird's also being ethereal, they can fly, right? They're
[00:20:16] Brendan Foster: Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah. D demons and angels are constantly harped on as spirits of the air, which again, I find very music just being wiggly air,
[00:20:25] uh, I find very appropriate.
[00:20:29] Don Early: Yeah, that's true. I, I was just reading, um, there is, uh, what's his name? Bart Ehrman's
[00:20:36] Brendan Foster: yeah. I love Bart Ehrman
[00:20:39] Don Early: I'm
[00:20:39] Brendan Foster: watch, I watch his podcast every day.
[00:20:41] Don Early: yeah, I'm reading his book on, uh, Heaven and Hell, the history of the Afterlife or whatever that's called. And, um, you know, he's getting very deep into, uh, I have a classics background and so he's getting into the deep history of the concept of the soul or.
[00:21:01] Psyche Um, and that the idea of that spirit and the soul ha are made of matter. They're made of stuff, they're actually made. They're not this sort of ethereal thing or, or trans, like a ghost or whatever that we think of now, or even just an image that they really believed that there, that according to that period of time, Socrates and, and Aristotle, of course Plato have this concept.
[00:21:34] They understand that daimons are spirits, they're made of stuff. Um, we just, their stuff is finer, more refined than this crude body that we have. Um, and so, you know, that's why it feels like there's nothing there when you put your hand through it or that sort of thing. So I've just,
[00:21:57] Brendan Foster: Hmm.
[00:21:57] Don Early: I'm nerding out with you on, on that concept.
[00:22:01] Brendan Foster: No, that is cool. Um, because Bart Ehrman also makes the point that, uh, in, in Judaism, Pneuma which is a Greek word I know, but it's referring to a Jewish concept. Uh, Pneuma was your equivalent to how would we think of a spirit, but I, I think, I believe it was since, um, Pythagoras in particular where he theorized that the soul was in fact immaterial.
[00:22:23] Um, and he's part of the reason that the concept of the immaterial soul took off in Greek philosophy and Christianity by extension,
[00:22:31] Don Early: Yeah. You really can't have one without the other.
[00:22:35] The Greeks can't have Christianity without the Greeks, for sure.
[00:22:38] Brendan Foster: So if angels are beings of order, right? What are demons?
[00:22:44] Don Early: Chaos.
[00:22:45] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Demons block mediation from human humanity to the divine, which is why I call the essay Disunity with the Divine because
[00:22:53] Don Early: Hmm.
[00:22:55] Brendan Foster: They're yeah, yeah. They're, they're blockers, they're walls. Um, even now, if, like, you listen, I use a lot of white noise when I'm reading, um, because if I hear anything I can't.
[00:23:07] It's very good at blocking out all other sounds. It's excellent in that. so,
[00:23:12] Don Early: that's interesting cuz that's another, so Diablos in, in Greek is also stumbling block, right? Or to obstruct?
[00:23:23] Brendan Foster: Really? I didn't know that, huh? Wow. That's fascinating, huh. I wonder if that's, it seems somewhat related to Job because of Job, whereas we get encounters with the Hebrew word, um, Ha-satan, which means adversary opposer, but he's just God's, um, God's prosecutor testing Job. He's the guy who's a possible stumbling block to Job's unity with God, which he would not achieve if he cursed God.
[00:23:55] Don Early: Right. Yeah.
[00:23:58] Brendan Foster: Hmm. I don't know if that's an actual etymological connection or why the, the Greeks would've translated Ha-satan when they were translating. Um, the, the Septuagint Sep Septin or the pen. Yeah, the Septuagint
[00:24:12] Don Early: Yeah. Well, as, as we know, we say, uh, in history, uh, translation is commentary.
[00:24:22] Brendan Foster: Makes a lot of sense. so Thacker goes on to talk more about, uh, Armando Maggi's book, which I think was called Divine Rhetoric. I'd, I'd have to look it up. So in the work of the 16th century, um, inquisitor, Sylvere Mazzo, when you encounter a, so his job, he was an inquisitor. He, part of his job was dealing with people who are possessed by demons, right?
[00:24:50] So he wrote a manual on how to, how to deal with that. I don't know if it dealt solely with that, but it was part of that. And he makes the interesting observation that, when demons possess people in the first place, Demons are liars. You can never trust what a demon says. Satan is the father of lies for crying out loud.
[00:25:11] and I think the Exorcist also like the priest is like, do not listen. The Devil lies always.
[00:25:18] Don Early: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:19] Brendan Foster: Um, and even, even like Pazuzu when he's possessing Reagan in that movie, his behavior, he'll, you know, he opens the drawer and the, the, the priest's character. Damien says, did you do that? And the demon is so like, elusive about it.
[00:25:39] He's like, I'll reveal my, I'll reveal myself in time.
[00:25:43] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:25:45] Brendan Foster: which I, I don't know. I, I think the author of The Exorcist did quite a lot of research on exorcism for that book. So this is quite, quite in line with what he's observing, uh, what he's reproducing in his art. Anyway. So when according to Daio, um, when demons possess people, they lie, um, they speak in tongues, glossolalia they'll vomit.
[00:26:09] things will come outta their mouth. And none of those things are true. None of those things may even communicate anything at all. You know, speaking in tongues glossolalia , is babbling basically.
[00:26:24] Um, um, and Thacker calls this hyper communication. And at the end of his essay, Thacker makes a call to and draw on media theories from what we know about this.
[00:26:39] And I took up the call and I wrote an essay explaining, noise is. A kind of hyper communication. if you, if you think through the history of, many genres of music, um, noise music, I think ultimately derives from rock. But it also has a lot to do with the ambient scene, especially in Japan. it has a, music has a tendency to communicate less and less, or to be perceived to communicate less and less.
[00:27:10] Brendan Foster: If you think rhythmically, there's a certain point where things will get so fast that you can't dance to this. You can't feel the rhythm inside. You can't even headbang, and. If you look at, especially if you look at extreme genres of metal, like black metal or grind core or death metal, they make use of drum patterns called blast beats, which are basically sound exactly like what you think they are.
[00:27:36] It's just 16th notes played as rapidly as possible. Um, and it has the effect of not turning, turning from rhythm into more something like a drone.
[00:27:48] Don Early: Right. But it still elicits kind of like an emotional response,
[00:27:55] you know, with it, right? Like, it, it still kind of falls within that, what percussion does. And I mean, the guitars do something similar too, right? They, um, reach that, like you said, the, there's a point where you can't headbang in time to that anymore.
[00:28:14] You, you can't dance to it, but it elevates, uh, consciousness a little bit, you know, as you're thinking, you know, as you're getting in tune with, with what you're hearing and whatnot.
[00:28:26] Brendan Foster: Yeah. This is one point I made, um, in the essay, which was, uh, uh, extremes of speed and slowness eventually just sort of loop back in on each other because the way you perceive people perceive it, um, like if you just had a single sustained note just played, that's it. And if you had white noise, they're both very monolithic. Have a monolithic character, because no information about rhythm or rhythm is communicated there. Um, which is why I do relate drone music to noise music, because. Both are pretty, usually somewhat arrhythmic. Merzbow does have an album where he's pretty rhythmic and most of my favorite noise albums tend tend towards some kind of rhythm.
[00:29:23] But, like the, the pure, it's just if you get too fast, too complicated, it's ends up just being this massive big wall of stuff coming at you. And with drone music and ambient, it's kind of the same because it's just sustained. Um, I, I would argue that, so in, in black metal, the, most common technique is tremolo picking.
[00:29:51] That just means picking as fast as possible, but they're always like staying on the same cord for a very long time. In certain songs. So even though it's like a, a genre of music that tried to be even faster, it ended up being slower.
[00:30:10] Don Early: Huh. I get it.
[00:30:12] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:12] Don Early: Yeah. So what's the draw for you? First off, what was it, what is it that is inspiring to you, about that particular genre and, um,
[00:30:27] Brendan Foster: black metal.
[00:30:28] Don Early: you pick,
[00:30:28] Brendan Foster: No, I'll go with noise.
[00:30:30] Don Early: yeah.
[00:30:30] Brendan Foster: What's fascinating to me about No, um, in particular is it, it's partly the passion of the people in the scene. And to, to me, when I make noise, I tend to think of it like I'm a painter. Um, what I'm doing is I'm trying to draw out interesting textures. I, I, I can only put it in like sensory, like non-auto, auditory, um, terms, different textures, different landscapes. It's, it's kind of like what sound collage artists do.
[00:31:03] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:31:04] Brendan Foster: Part of it is the extremity. Um, because if you think about music on a spectrum from complete order to complete disorder at the far total end of disorder, you'll get white noise. That is because white noise is literally just all frequencies played across all spectrums at, at the same volume.
[00:31:28] Or a Brownian noise. Brownian noise is named after a Brownian in motion, which describes the motion of particles in a fluid. Again, it's completely random. This is as noise it is literally the limit. It is as noisy as you can get. It's quite impossible to get further.
[00:31:44] Don Early: Okay.
[00:31:45] Brendan Foster: So to me, noise musicians the best noise one. Musicians either are painters who are looking for interesting textures, interesting colors, but they're people who dance on the image edge of limits. They take up the challenge of, existing at the limit of human perception,
[00:32:03] Don Early: Huh.
[00:32:04] Brendan Foster: Making something that resembles music out of that
[00:32:08] Don Early: Yes. So there's still some sort of architecture of order,
[00:32:13] Brendan Foster: Yeah.
[00:32:14] Don Early: as thin as it may be, but it, it has to be there in order for the brain to interpret that correctly. Is that right? Is that,
[00:32:24] Brendan Foster: Pretty much. Yeah. And to me, the people who go straight to massive Dr just white noise, like the, the French artist I, I think is French, his name is Vomir um, he makes, what he calls, um, harsh noise wall.
[00:32:41] Don Early: Hmm.
[00:32:42] Brendan Foster: It's predictably quite monotonous. So that's, that's too, that's too far for me to me to, to actually enjoy it.
[00:32:49] Um, I, I argue that noise music itself is a music of limits, not only in how it's produced because like I, I just have, uh, a pedal here. Um, this is like my base overdrive pedal. okay, so here's, here's the Gain knob over here. This is how you make noise, music turn, gain all the way up. You're done.
[00:33:13] It's, it's the, it's the limit of techno. It's pushing technology to its limits because technology is always breaking apart in noise and also in black metal because the earliest black metal musicians were working with pretty dirt cheap equipment. Um, and they would intentionally push it even further to the point where it would break sometimes.
[00:33:35] Don Early: That's easy to see how the demonic, um, projection onto that music could happen for people who are uncomfortable with what they're hearing and have a particular religious persuasion. You know, cuz uh, like humans, we just naturally have this desire to take things, uh, or to receive things as a personification of somehow, right.
[00:34:08] That something otherworldly is, is trying to get at us. Um, is that, is that essentially all it is or, or is there more happening in the, the tone of it or in the construction of it? So that's one question. The other side, I'm, I'm also wondering if it's related, which it sounds like it is, is that whole like playing the record backward thing
[00:34:33] Brendan Foster: Yeah,
[00:34:34] Don Early: and, and, and hearing the devil in that?
[00:34:38] Brendan Foster: yeah. You know, I didn't write much in paradoilia although it was a thought that was going through my head at the time. I, I think in the first place, I'm incredibly wary of pitting down what art is for other people. Because I can talk about what art is for me. I can't speak for anyone else, and I wouldn't really, wouldn't want to anyway.
[00:34:58] But the, you know, hearing the voice of Satan in the doubt, if you, if you just sit there and listen to clipping for a long time, it'll, it might sound meditative after a while, but you might also start to hear something sort of resolve itself out of the noise, especially if you want to hear it and are looking for
[00:35:21] Don Early: Yeah. Okay. That's where I thought this might be going too,
[00:35:26] Brendan Foster: Not really. I, I, I tend to, here's the thing, I tend to avoid, attributing the human to, um, this sort of music in all cases. there's,
[00:35:42] Don Early: what? What do you mean by that?
[00:35:43] Brendan Foster: in a lot of my noise music, even though I'm clearly the one behind the controls, I'm literally, I'm, I'm, um, cutting up clips and pasting them together just because I think this part sounds cool, this part's boring. I'm gonna delete that. I, I want to remove any impression of the human in my music as much as possible. Um, and particularly in my noise music in like other, other, like dark ambient stuff. I'm fine with people understanding that a human being made that um
[00:36:15] Don Early: But kind of like what you were saying before about where the instrument is playing itself.
[00:36:22] Brendan Foster: Yeah. that, that's, that's more Thacker's interpretation, which I thought was interesting. Um, I, I thought it related. I don't, um, I don't know that that part of his essay Paul Demons didn't particularly interest me, to be honest, it's, I, I think there is something like artistically or conceptually interesting there about a sort of possession in music. I was
[00:36:45] Brendan Foster: rereading, one of Nietzsche's aphorisms from the gay science. Uh, it was Aphorism 84. uh, Nietzche was writing that, In, particularly in religious ceremonies. So he as a Greek philologist he locates the origin of poetry in, um, Greek religion. like for example, it was said that, um, Oracle of Delphi invented hexameter the hexameter, um, meter in poetry. And because she's an oracle of Apollo, it appears that even Apollo is the god of music. And this god of rhythm, rhythm itself can bind Fate.
[00:37:23] Don Early: Hmm.
[00:37:23] Brendan Foster: And, you know, often, often magical spells included a rhythm in order to bind demons, for example. And I think I found the place, there's an even stranger notion that may have contributed most of all to the origin of poetry. Among the Pythagoreans it appears as a philosophical doctrine and an artifice in education.
[00:37:45] But long before there were any philosophers, music was credited with the power of discharging the emotions of purifying the soul, of easing the ferocia animi or ferocious mind, precisely by means of rhythm. Whether the proper tension in harmony of the soul had been lost, one had to dance, follow the singer's beat. That was the prescription of this therapy.
[00:38:05] So essentially, when one was possessed by the ferocia of a deity, particularly Dionysis , the way that you would tranquilize that deity would be through dancing and music, and you would cathartically dance the God out. And he points out etymologically, melos, is, uh, the, or origin of the word melody means tranquil.
[00:38:34] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:38:35] Brendan Foster: So I think certainly, um, music of all kinds, can affect possession or affect exorcism.
[00:38:47] Don Early: Okay.
[00:38:48] Brendan Foster: Um, at least it did in the religious system of the ancient Greeks according to Nietzche. Who knows if he was right about that? But to me, when I say that, noise music is a, is a music of limits, when I say demons are beings of the limit. There's a limit in the sense on the limit of human knowledge or human perception, because they block knowledge of God via, um, negative mediation. And I also, conceptually, demons are beings that, they, they stand in for conceptual limits in other ways.
[00:39:23] Brendan Foster: I think, Thacker actually ended up citing, I think, um, Elaine Pagels and Paul Demons, um, uh, Pago wrote that others, namely Pagans, Jews and Heretics, they are beings that again, dance around a limit. Namely, this limit is the border between ingroup and Outgroup. So Jew or Pagans rather are, um, beings of the outside Jews are pagan or beings of the border and heretics are beings of the inside. So that's yet another connection of how, demons are always dancing along edges.
[00:40:04] Don Early: Hmm. Okay, that makes sense. Because it depends on which side you're on. There's still gonna be a border there, and you're saying that's where the demons are dancing, so to speak, or whatever. They're, they're along that side cuz, you know, uh, as pagan dis or Pagels describes, you know, the, during the early Christian or the Christian movement of the first and second century, uh, the Roman Paganism was the dominant religion and it was the Christians that were demonized, so to speak.
[00:40:40] Um, but you know, when that dominant paradigm shifted, uh, you know, that demonization went the other direction. Um, and then of course there's the in, you know, The fighting in, in, you know, within itself. And then between this, all these different factions of this new Jesus movement and, um, what was growing to be, um, rabbinic Judaism
[00:41:09] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:10] Don Early: and, that separation and,
[00:41:12] Brendan Foster: Yeah, and I would argue even today as, um, particularly bands in the genre of extreme metal. I don't, I don't know how I would, um, classify her, but the, uh, I guess I'll call her like dark ambient, um, the artist, uh, lingua ig NoDa, um, which means unknown tongues in Latin. So again, we're back to glossalalia babbling.
[00:41:36] I think my, my buddy Sig told me about this album. , she, let's see. Oh yeah, Sinner Get Ready. Sinner Get Ready was an album of hers where she aesthetically engaged with, sort of the horror elements, or perhaps even the demonizing elements of the dominant religion of her time, which is Christianity.
[00:42:03] Don Early: mm-hmm.
[00:42:05] Brendan Foster: and it's, funnily enough, she engages with the religious history of Pennsylvania, where I'm from, um, because Pennsylvania has a very, very, very long history of, new religious movements. The, the, the Quakers originally settled this place.
[00:42:21] And we have the Amish and the Mennonites. Um, and even I went to Juni Outta College, which is associated with the Church of the Brethren, which is a, a peace church.
[00:42:30] Um, somewhat similar to the Quakers.
[00:42:33] Don Early: Yeah. Well, and the, the Latter Day Saints, uh, were just right next door in New York up, you know? Right. So very, very close
[00:42:42] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And a ton of black metal bands. I can't even name how many, and aesthetically engage with Christianity by, demonizing it. Um, some, like a, a lot of early, like, especially in early black metal, they were at least aesthetically engaging with Satan. I don't know if they were Satanists, but, you know, infamously, like the members of Mayhem, burned down churches in Norway, um, ver like olds historical stave churches.
[00:43:15] But plenty of other black metal bands, will, the, the way they subvert Christianity is by demonizing it. So, um, and, and you can get this in, in, um, different cultures as well. The Polish Black metal band Tuska, combines black metal with, orthodox chanting and aesthetics of Orthodox Christianity.
[00:43:39] Um, and in this way, they, I, I think what they're doing is they're, they're trying to turn orthodox Christianity on its head,
[00:43:52] Don Early: Yeah, that
[00:43:53] Brendan Foster: lyrically, lyrically, like in their song, um, t after their album, Togi. Well, t it means truth in old church, Slavonic. I think they, they take the liturgy of St. John and which is traditionally performed in Orthodox Christianity.
[00:44:11] And everywhere that it says God or Lord, it'll say I. So they're engaging in self deification,
[00:44:20] Don Early: Yeah, that makes sense.
[00:44:23] Brendan Foster: um,
[00:44:24] Don Early: I've seen that, uh, you know, in, in, in modern satanism that seems to be also, uh, a direction where that kind of tends to go.
[00:44:32] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Yeah. I think what they're doing aesthetically there and conceptually there is really, really fascinating.
[00:44:39] Um, which it didn't really occur to me until I looked at the lyrics of it, which is one of, it's the beauty of music because you listen and you're like, oh, oh, this goes hard. And then you find out later they're actually doing something really interesting. Um, philosophically there.
[00:44:57] Moving on, I have, I have more notes here. In, in other, in, in other like philosophical conceptions of what demons are. Demons are beings whose existence cannot be pinned down. They're defined by a paradox. So they're always crossing these conceptual borders, right? And, you know, these are, these are conceptual borders that are particular to particular cultures.
[00:45:20] Um, I, I, you couldn't get me to name which book she talks about this in, but, Mary Douglas, it talks about her idea of schemes of cultural categorization, which actually found this reading. Um, Noah Carroll's philosophy of. Uh, Dr. Carol, if you're out there, please take me as a grad student. he, he wrote about this in Yeah, his philosophy of horror, and he applied it to horror.
[00:45:44] The, the most terrifying, and as well as the most powerful beings in a given culture are the ones that violate some sort of border. So conceptual border, so lobsters, for example. Is this a bug? Is this a land animal? Is this a water animal? You can't pin it down. Just steer clear of it. That thing is no good.
[00:46:05] Don Early: why is it so tasty?
[00:46:08] Brendan Foster: exactly. Why is it so tasty? Um, which granted, uh, the, the lobsters are, they're crabs, creepy crawls don't like them. In, in Mary Douglass's, like one particular example she has is, um, I think flying squirrels one, uh, O one particular tribe she was doing in ethnography on we're terrified of flying squirrels.
[00:46:33] Don Early: Oh,
[00:46:34] Brendan Foster: Is it a bird? Is it a land animal, whatever. It's just bad news. Steer clear of that damn thing.
[00:46:43] Don Early: because it doesn't operate within the framework. Yeah, right. It doesn't fit the rules. Huh. Therefore, it must be at least bad luck, if not worse.
[00:46:57] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm. Yeah. But these things also have power because she calls them is, calls it interstitial it, it might have been Carol who ca who coined that term, but interstitial, it's always ritual fetishes that are also always breaking these kinds of rules within the particular cultural framework that, um, these people understood their whole world in.
[00:47:21] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:47:23] Brendan Foster: Which Carol argues is what, is why like werewolves, for example, are, are such staples of horror monsters, human or animal, both. And neither.
[00:47:34] Don Early: Right.
[00:47:35] Brendan Foster: it's such a good monster.
[00:47:38] Don Early: Yeah, that's a really good point. It hits that sort of animalistic, uh, where, you know, uh, evil and demons are always, uh, often, uh, associated with the, the beast or the. You know, animalistic thing,
[00:47:56] Brendan Foster: The beast. And they're always made up of a just a bunch of different parts jammed together like chimes. Especially if you like look at, um, Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, he just let his imagination run wild thinking up of demon, thinking of demons. And I think there's a famous painting of, I think it's called the Devil Presenting Vices to Saint Augustine, where Satan has green skin, big tasks, horns, bat wings, hoves, and he just has a face on his ass.
[00:48:29] Don Early: I've seen this one.
[00:48:31] Brendan Foster: Uh, it's quite
[00:48:32] Don Early: that it's, yeah.
[00:48:35] Brendan Foster: and it's so bizarre, but it gets you perfectly into the mindset of how medieval people conceived of Satan.
[00:48:42] Don Early: Yeah, the, there is one drawback of having this podcast be audio only is, there is definitely some visual elements of this that would make fantastic material, but thankfully there are other, uh, folks out there that are doing it far better than we could. So, uh, we'll just link to those. But yeah, I, I know what you're talking about.
[00:49:02] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm. Um, And oftentimes, uh, again, Thacker points out in poll demons. There, there demons, cross boundaries between the one and the many. So in Luke, um, I believe Ch Luke chapter eight, verse 26 to 39, and this occurs in Mark as well. Um, there's an episode where, Jesus cast demons out of a man, and sends them into some pigs.
[00:49:30] And this, again, this violates the boundary between, uh, singular and multiple. Because Jesus asks, what is your name? And he states, Legion for we are many.
[00:49:43] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:49:45] Brendan Foster: Or actually it doesn't say that. He just says Legion and then it goes on to say four. There are many inside.
[00:49:52] Don Early: Yeah, right. That's something I never thought of, of that, that concept between the one and the many. Um, so often that is where, I guess the demonic does tend to surface is in that, cuz you're alone or you're not alone and you know, is there a, there's my world and then there's everything else. And I could see how, how that, demonizing. Can go either direction in that regard, right? So you're the, if you're the one, you're demon, you could be demonizing someone else and then the others who think maybe you're an outcast are demonizing you. It's, yeah, it's
[00:50:39] Brendan Foster: Yeah.
[00:50:40] Don Early: something I never thought of.
[00:50:42] Brendan Foster: yeah, demons are beings that expose cracks in human knowledge. The flaws in how we conceive of the world are knowledge systems rather.
[00:50:51] Don Early: Sounds useful.
[00:50:54] Brendan Foster: Yeah, it is, it is a useful metaphor, for more than, more than just noise music. And that, what you just said reminded me of, uh, the, in, um, another book I read was, um, hideous osis Black Metal Symposium, number one, because I mostly picked it up because Thacker has an essay in there, which just ended up being reprinted from one of those other books, which I had already read, but, so I read some other ones, uh, and one by the author, uh, mash Shandro, black Metal conceptually is opposed to order on.
[00:51:28] To order in terms of intersubjectivity or objectivity, thereby making all discourse and communication impossible. To him that's what black metal represents. And, and, uh, back to werewolves, um, there was another interesting essay that talked about, the tendency of some black metal bands to engage with Anthropy as, uh, uh, both on an aesthetic and conceptual level.
[00:51:55] Which she then relates to, Dous and Guari in a thousand Plateaus, where they talk about one or several wolves.
[00:52:04] Don Early: Oh, interesting.
[00:52:06] Brendan Foster: And the, another author, I'm just, I'm just jumping around cuz I have all these notes here. I believe, the gothic studies, um, scholar, um, Patricia McCormack had an interesting essay as well.
[00:52:21] Um, it was, uh, yeah, Lovecraft through del del Uio, Quarian Gates, delusion, quarian defined demonic animals as animals that form a multiplicity or a becoming or some sort of tale. So in their process of what they describe as becoming animal, first the subject becomes a knot subject. So they become a pack, and then this pack can interface with other packs or assemblages is another term they use.
[00:52:50] And to, to McCormick entered losing qari. This is where creativity and freedom can enter into, into it. Because the thing about noise, noise music is a thing that will, it'll break your conceptions of what music can be.
[00:53:06] Don Early: Hmm.
[00:53:07] Brendan Foster: sure. And maybe it sounds like shit to you. Uh, I know I've played, saw a lot of that stuff to my dad and he was like, Brendan, this sounds like shit. He didn't use those words, but he was like, this is just noisy. Like I played him. One of my favorite pieces of music, especially since it was used in Twin Peaks, was, uh, Christoph Pender's Ity for the victims of Hiroshima. Which is just a terrifying screeching sound masses. Penderecki used the term sound masses, um, to describe it.
[00:53:41] What, what his method there. It's not meant to sound good,
[00:53:45] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:53:45] Brendan Foster: it's meant to terrify
[00:53:47] Don Early: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:48] Brendan Foster: but new horizons of what things can be are always terrify.
[00:53:54] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:53:56] Brendan Foster: out of the, the grid that was laid out for you is always scary, but there's freedom in it. And freedom is wonderful.
[00:54:04] Don Early: That's gotta be what the originators of blues were experiencing, right? I mean, you, that's to draw this back to where you kind of were st said it, a lot of this kind of started was that birth of, of the, of the blues movement. And, and, and then of course out of that comes rock and, um, r and b and everything.
[00:54:30] Brendan Foster: Yeah, because blues was a minoritarian art form. It was not popular with the dominant culture of the time. It was only popular with black people.
[00:54:39] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:54:40] Brendan Foster: Um, and it was created by black people. Um, and it engaged. Hmm.
[00:54:45] Don Early: Americans specifically.
[00:54:47] Brendan Foster: Yeah. Specifically black. Yeah. Black Americans, and. You know, new. When new music is innovated, it's rarely popular at the start.
[00:54:56] Um, sometimes it takes off like in the case of blues, but e even then when, uh, when, when these new art forms take off, people have a tendency to attribute the demonic to them. Like it or not. Think about Robert Johnson's story about how did he get to play a guitar so damn good. He met the devil at the crossroads and it didn't help that he, you know, he was also making this music that was pretty edgy lyrically, like, hell Hound on my trail.
[00:55:27] Don Early: Yeah. Well, and there's that, the other bit too. Uh, the, I forget the official title of it. Maybe you know what it is, the, the 27. Um, you know, the Robert Johnson, Kurt Cobain, I forget who
[00:55:42] Brendan Foster: Hendrix.
[00:55:43] Don Early: Hendricks age of 27 died. Yeah,
[00:55:48] Brendan Foster: Yeah. I mean, musicians famously not always very mentally are hel stable or healthy people,
[00:55:54] Don Early: yeah,
[00:55:55] Brendan Foster: but that's kind of, it's, it's not inevitable creativity. I think the romanticizing it is bullshit and unhealthy. Um, but, at least in the way majoritarian cultures, our dominant culture conceives of these figures, they equate that creativity with that edginess, that unhealthiness, that self-destruction.
[00:56:18] Don Early: Which I think in truth is a lot of projection. Like so much of what we cover on this show. And you know what? History bears out. Again, history being predominantly written by the winners.
[00:56:34] Brendan Foster: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:35] Don Early: But we can still get, you know, some these exciting discoveries as well, uh, that were shoved in a cave for, you know, more than almost 2000 years.
[00:56:46] Brendan Foster: Yeah, I mean, think Wasn't Robert Johnson the, I I don't think it was even like, really appreciated until a lot of old recordings were found of him.
[00:56:56] Don Early: mm-hmm. Yeah, that's a good point.
[00:56:59] Brendan Foster: I, I definitely might be wrong on that, but he was, you know, the recordings, the equipment was primitive. So likely, you know, I mean, around when, around the time that, phonographs were made, like commercially available, the most popular genre of music was most popular, musician was John Philip Sousa,
[00:57:26] Don Early: Right.
[00:57:27] Brendan Foster: Because marches, it was played in marching bands, and that's where people experienced live music.
[00:57:32] Don Early: Yeah. Huh. That's fascinating. Well, Brennan, this has been an absolute pleasure, uh, talking. We have covered things I knew nothing about whatsoever, and I feel a lot more connected. And I, I have to say that I am excited that maybe I was connected with it more than I. Um, you know, that I had some familiarity with some of the things you were talking about, and you definitely enlightened on areas that I just had no idea had existed.
[00:58:06] But what an amazing journey of thinking about music and thinking about noise as music or even beyond music and what it can represent. And then tying in those, um, those models or concepts of the demonic and Satan and the demon as those edges of, um, what did you call it? The, the edges of, uh,
[00:58:34] Brendan Foster: Interst
[00:58:35] Don Early: yeah, the, uh, or the, the edges of, um
[00:58:39] Brendan Foster: cultural conceptual
[00:58:40] Don Early: mm-hmm.
[00:58:41] Right, right.
[00:58:42] Brendan Foster: which is a mouthful.
[00:58:44] Don Early: Right. It is, yeah. Thank you for that. So, um, thank you so much for, for taking the time to, to join us today.
[00:58:53] Brendan Foster: No problem. It was my pleasure.
[00:58:55] Jeremy Spray: That was cool.
[00:58:56] Don Early: I told you I had no idea what to expect, and I was really, I said it in the interview, but I, I'm still amazed at how much I, I actually knew and I didn't think I'd know. But it's not like I knew anything about the subject entirely itself, but, but the principles and the ideas that he was going around were
[00:59:20] Jeremy Spray: not
[00:59:21] new. Right. They were, they were fairly common in the design. Yeah. I was thinking the same thing. That it was a, a rather consistent understanding of it despite the fact that, like, I, I knew of tool, but I didn't know of any of the other examples or any of the other impressions that were out there. Uh, But, so here's what I expected to be perfectly honest on.
[00:59:43] Even when I told you about this thing that I had read and that I had seen, I didn't get that directly from Tool. I got that out of like Rolling Stone or off of some sort of article that that came out of. And so I. I assumed that it, like most of the information I get about the devil, that in front of the hill is this telephone game that by the time I have an understanding or an interpretation of what's there, I'm way off.
[01:00:04] Like, like it's completely off from where it started. And frankly, there's a lot still that I didn't get. And this one that I, I, I learned a bit about, but it was a little encouraging to know that like, I had the general idea and, and, and my, and the rumors that I had been told and the, and the directions and the sounds and the back scratching and all of that.
[01:00:23] That, like, that's all, yeah. That was the general thought. That was what the, the noise music was. So it was, I just found it really interesting and a little confirming like, huh, didn't get that one super wrong this time.
[01:00:37] Emily Quann: Well, my, my preconceived notion was, was off, I guess I, I thought that it was going to be more of like, you know, playing a track backwards and finding hidden messages type of thing, uh, or. I don't know if you are just, if you do press record and hear, well then hear back the recording and hear like little snippets of, of noises and try to piece them together to create messages.
[01:01:05] I thought it was gonna be more like that, so, and I guess there's some of that
[01:01:09] Don Early: There is some of that. Yeah,
[01:01:11] Emily Quann: So, but, but this was, this went a very different trajectory than what I was expecting.
[01:01:17] Don Early: yeah. I thought what was really interesting about the, the idea of, um, instruments and amplifiers that were super old and intentionally like, Driving them to the point of breaking and and that's the sort of result that they were after,
[01:01:42] Emily Quann: Yeah. Well, when I heard what they were doing to the instruments, I was like, oh my God, they're abusing these, these instruments.
[01:01:49] Don Early: Yeah,
[01:01:49] Emily Quann: They, they are, you're pushing 'em to their breaking point.
[01:01:52] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:01:54] Yeah. And, and I mean, but that's nothing new, right? I mean, uh, your musician's been doing that for ages and ages.
[01:02:03] Emily Quann: oh
[01:02:04] Jeremy Spray: I, I did have the, you know, a, a bit of the, the skeptic science in me of going, well, of course when you change the shape, when you change the matter, when you change how it was held and, and what the vibrations can do, you're gonna create new sounds. It's gonna, it's gonna have it do its own thing. But the idea of it being. I, I, I almost called it a natural, but, but really a degradating of what it was to create this, this ongoing sound and listen to it evolve and, and it's changing. That is really fascinating. I, I didn't get in my, in my interpretation, like I, that doesn't, that wasn't necessarily a cause for the, the messages or anything like that coming out of it, but, but definitely just the. The new, the newness of it, right? The new sound, which, which is the way I relate it, is like, oh yeah, this is like using feedback like now we have an instrument that can do feedback. What does the feedback do and, and, and all of that.
[01:03:04] Don Early: And how that contributes to the music. I mean, and. The whole idea of the instrument playing itself,
[01:03:12] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. That was pretty cool.
[01:03:14] Don Early: you know, um, and it makes sense. And for me, you know, and then with the whole skeptic thing, you're like, oh, well, you know, you, you get it. You, you could see how that works. And maybe the amp turned itself on, maybe it didn't. Uh, you know, as far as Tool goes, maybe they turned it on and just recorded and see what.
[01:03:35] They could get,
[01:03:36] Jeremy Spray: Right, or the power strip. The power strip just like clicked because the rocker was half there.
[01:03:41] Emily Quann: I wanted to hear more like, like actual, like devil stuff. I wanted it to tie in a little bit more to like. Like actual, like demons or, or the devil or Satan giving messages? I do like, yes. Uh, the devil chaos, you know, um, unordered, yes.
[01:04:07] This noise music is also like that, but, but I wanted more like,
[01:04:12] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:04:12] Jeremy Spray: You wanted more ordered.
[01:04:13] Emily Quann: Yes.
[01:04:14] Jeremy Spray: is something specific.
[01:04:15] Emily Quann: ordered, I, I, I, part of me wanted those, those messages of like, oh, what are we gonna hear? Type of thing. So, you know, from
[01:04:23] from the underworld or whatever, Hollywood type of stuff, you know, and, and you guys even mentioned The Exorcist, right?
[01:04:31] Things like that. So that's, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get more of, of that from it, but, Again, my preconceived notion was, was a whole different trajectory than, than what this was, but it was a, it was a great interview.
[01:04:48] Don Early: Thank you. Yeah, it, uh, it, again, it was not knowing what to expect. Um, it, it just kinda went down a path that was really interesting and, and I didn't know where it was gonna go, you know? Um, maybe that's evident. I don't know. But, um, but I appreciated, you know, uh, the, I think he was talking about, uh, the.
[01:05:16] Scholar, Eugene Thacker, that was, uh, discussing the whole idea of, um, I'm trying to remember the, the term that he used, but, uh, you know, demonology and uh, noise music and that sort of thing. And it got really academic, right? You know, a about the concepts of where the devil is. Uh, and maybe I'm. Mixing this up with one of the other people that he mentioned too.
[01:05:43] But it's how my brain is piecing this together right now. Uh, you know, the, the devil or the demons dancing on the edges of, um, dancing on the edges, right?
[01:05:57] Jeremy Spray: I, I like, I'm trying to remember that part.
[01:06:00] Don Early: so, so it was the idea that, um, that, you know, the chaos is, is on, is always. Or, or that line that separates either like, could be the self versus everything else or everything else versus that one guy. Um, there's that, the
[01:06:20] Jeremy Spray: Right. And, and, and, yeah. And, and the demons are on the outside of, of the definition of the line.
[01:06:27] Don Early: yeah,
[01:06:27] yeah, exactly. They're like right on the line and it can go either direction. You know, so demonizing happens in either case, and it just, it wa it just sort of brought me back to thinking about the evolution of rock and blues and all of that as being the devil's music. Right. And how long that has progressed.
[01:06:56] And, and he brought up John Phillip Suza, which I thought was really interesting. You know, as the time as Blues was being, You know, invented and created that, um, you know, marching music was how you listened to live music at the time,
[01:07:12] Jeremy Spray: Right.
[01:07:13] Don Early: but I don't know what, what are your takeaways? What are your thoughts?
[01:07:16] Jeremy Spray: I k So for me, I, I kind of had a moment where I was recognizing that I, I had a judgment around what I considered to be noise, music, and just noise. And I, I was, I, for a moment I was like, oh, that's really interesting that. I have to have it in a particular production style or level for it to be music in my head when all of it is, you know, technically reverberating on itself and, and doing its own things.
[01:07:51] Uh, but I, I noted for a little bit that like, even in this chaotic sound and, and this. Study of, of what we can create and, and can make out of it. Uh, I still have a preference and I still have like a No, this is right. No, that's wrong. Rather than just, it's all the same thing. Uh, and so that, that was, that was kinda my walkaway.
[01:08:18] I'm just like, all right. Yeah. So I like electric things. That's fine. And that's okay. It doesn't mean the other stuff isn't, it's just that's, that was my big ones.
[01:08:26] Don Early: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And, and the concept of noise music or, or that, that sort of hard genre. I've certainly listened to Grind Core and. Black metal and death metal before and um, it's extreme. And I thought, you know, his observation of when something is so fast it becomes slow
[01:08:51] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[01:08:52] Don Early: was really interesting because that just tells me something about how the brain is interpreting what it's receiving, right.
[01:09:03] And, and how it makes sense of. The disorder, right?
[01:09:10] Jeremy Spray: I, I was immediately reminded of one of my daughter's friends, uh, who mentioned that she loves to go to sleep to metal.
[01:09:19] She, she, she, like Zoe, listens to, to wave sounds and, and like, or, or rather like sleep stories and whatnot. But her friends like, no, I just like heavy metal. Like as soon as you turn it on, Turn into lights, like I immediately go to sleep and, and that was, that was exactly where my brain was going.
[01:09:33] It was like, right, cuz it gets so fast, it just turns into the slow r
[01:09:37] Don Early: Mm-hmm.
[01:09:38] Jeremy Spray: right. This really suddenly it's, it's just this mellow thing that for her was, was a white noise
[01:09:44] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:09:46] Emily Quann: Oh, that's fascinating.
[01:09:48] Jeremy Spray: Wild. That, wild that I was, that's what I was thinking about when I heard it. I just immediately related it.
[01:09:53] Emily Quann: Oh, my kids just get elated when they listen to, to like hardcore stuff with, you know, those fast beats and stuff like heavy metal music. They, they, they love it. They, they get excited. They don't get angry. They, or, you know, or tired or whatever the emotion that is brought out for them. And you don, you mentioned this.
[01:10:14] This type of music elicits an emotional response for, for my kids, it's just pure joy. They're just bouncing around all over the place. So that's like the opposite of, of being tired. I can't even imagine.
[01:10:32] Don Early: Well, it, it, it comes back to art, right? And art being in the eye of the beholder in a, in a
[01:10:40] Emily Quann: Oh, sure. And, and he even said, you know, I, I'm not gonna interpret somebody else's art for them. You know? Um, certainly noise music is, is, uh, not something I listen to often. I, I.
[01:10:55] Jeremy Spray: Or, or ever
[01:10:56] Emily Quann: Forever. I, I, I listened to, uh, some, uh, when I found out that that's what we were gonna be discussing today. And, uh, it's not for me, it's not my cup of tea for others, it is.
[01:11:08] And, you know, I'm not gonna rain on their parade, but,
[01:11:10] uh, Yeah. It's just that's, that's something that I had no idea about. And would I call it music for me personally? No. And Jeremy, you were talking about the line of noise music versus just noise. To me, it just sounded more noise,
[01:11:30] But it's, it's, and that is my judgment call.
[01:11:34] That's not again,
[01:11:36] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:11:37] Emily Quann: When I hear it, I'm not picking up what others are, are getting out of it, and I'm, I kind of wish I was, I, you know, I wanna see
[01:11:44] and, and understand more.
[01:11:47] Don Early: I listened to, uh, Brennan's Track, uh, which is called Adrenal Chrome Junkie, which I thought was. Really poignant. I loved that. You know, if you recall Adrenal Chrome from the Satanic Panic Podcast, that, uh, episode that we did, and, uh, I mean, I'm, I'm there with you in that, it just sounds like a series of noise and I can't make any sense of it, and it is disorder.
[01:12:21] One thing I did find though, Towards the end of his piece anyway is that there were noises from video game systems of my childhood, and it elicited an emotional response from me. I'm like, oh, I remember that noise. That noise meant something at some time. Um, but, you know, uh, I, I tried to think about what he said about textures and trying to listen to the soundscape of the composition from like a texture and, uh, you know, that sort of thing.
[01:13:10] And it's, it's very difficult for anyone who is not accustomed to thinking about this from a. Art form.
[01:13:22] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, I, I, I would argue that, uh, again, you guys know me, the, the way I see the world is visually, and, and so my, my thought process comes out visually. So whenever I hear things, whenever I, I go through different levels of music or speech, I, I see it in different wave forms and, and that's, that's so much what this was for me.
[01:13:41] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:13:42] Jeremy Spray: Which again, kind of made that a distinction. Like I saw some that were like, this is just white and black lines all over the place. This is just a wobble of sound as opposed to this one, which has, textures is a great word for it. I was thinking color lines and, and waves and, and, and different effects. And, uh, they don't do it all in like a harmony wave.
[01:14:02] Like they, they're, they're scattered. But, uh, they're definable. And, and I, and I, and I was able to p pick elements out and go, oh, I like that. I like how that did those, those things there and, and Right. And now it's music to me because I'm, I'm, I'm seeing things differently for that particular song, but like, I, I totally get what you're saying
[01:14:19] Emily Quann: Does that get overwhelming for you? Like especially with the chaotic noises and you being so visual, you're hearing it and visualizing it, so at the same time, is that just completely overstimulating for you and like, do you need a break?
[01:14:34] Jeremy Spray: That's a really good question. Um, I would say that I have to certainly limit what tasks I'm doing. Like I couldn't do this while driving like, like this is something, this is a kind of sound set that I would not be able to have in the background cause I wouldn't be able to focus on everything I'm doing on the road.
[01:14:49] Whereas, uh, Right, like an audiobook or a familiar track of music I can listen to and sing to never get the words right. I don't do words, but, but, but the sounds, I, I can, I can connect to those, uh, while driving. This would be too much. So I would say in that level, it's, it's overwhelming. Uh, otherwise I wouldn't.
[01:15:07] Necessarily recognize that, uh, I'm being overwhelmed other than the fact that I'm probably just sitting still. So, yeah, I would say I'm probably being over stimulated and shutting down in that my eyes are glazing over. I'm just, I'm not interacting with anything cuz I'm just feeling and seeing so much.
[01:15:25] That's a really interesting observation, Emma. I didn't even think of it like that, but that's where I would've told you. I'm just sitting and listening to the music. It's mostly being in the stimulation and too much would've knocked me out of it.
[01:15:36] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah, that's a really good observation. Uh, it reminds me of the common experience of, you know, the parents yelling at their teenagers, turn off that noise,
[01:15:50] Jeremy Spray: Oh my God. Yeah.
[01:15:52] Don Early: and how many generations, uh, and different music types were considered. Noise to others
[01:16:02] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[01:16:03] Don Early: nonsensical. Whereas it has evolved to be, I think that what we're dealing with today, particularly in what. Uh, Brendan and what he's trying to represent or, or put forth, and obviously he very similar to others that we've had on the show where it's like, hey, it's very, very clear. Uh, one person can't represent the whole genre or the group or whatever, you know, so this is just his understanding of it and his understanding is, So much more than mine or you know, obviously yours.
[01:16:38] So it was really, really insightful to kind of go through that journey though. And then the one thing that I was thinking about was the uncomfortableness of experiencing noise, noise. And or, or music that might be interpreted as noise as, you know, see previous example of parents yelling at their kids and how your judgment or your preconceived notions would be projected upon that as evil.
[01:17:14] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, that's real interesting. You know, I was, I'm gonna relate it back just the other way a little bit cuz because as the parent with the kids, all of their music is my music at the moment.
[01:17:24] Right? It's all my influence on them. Uh, but in reverse, my parents had a whole genre of music that they were a fan of that I couldn't.
[01:17:34] Get around at all. And I was the cranky old man at 12 years old. What is this noise? This is terrible. What is the carpenters? That's a, that's an awful idea. Why would you put that on Debbie Boone? Who like, like I had my own level of just squeaky, whiny, creepy esent complaints all the time around music that, for them is a memory and something that, that they connected to. But right from those same parents back and forth when I found something and I was like, oh, this one lets me have emotions. This one lets me connect to how I feel. And they immediately are like, that sounds evil. That sounds like it's too much. Because it, it triggered an emotional response in them too. But it's one that they didn't, they didn't want to feel, and, and that was part of where they were really feeling the like.
[01:18:27] Ah, this is bad because, uh, it was letting, it was letting me get my, my aggression out. My, just, all of my, my need to express happened a lot there. That way
[01:18:39] Don Early: Yeah,
[01:18:41] I mean, that's what I feel like what. Why I love heavy metal and why I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with it is, um, just that sort of charged emotional response that it can evoke. Um, and if you are experiencing that and that's not a thing you like to experience, uh, particularly from that source,
[01:19:08] Jeremy Spray: Yeah,
[01:19:10] Don Early: I, I could see where I, again, that's where I, I just feel like all these projections come in and then you, you get out.
[01:19:18] What you bring with you.
[01:19:20] Jeremy Spray: for sure. Yeah.
[01:19:24] Emily Quann: My son wrote a metal song.
[01:19:27] Don Early: yeah.
[01:19:28] Emily Quann: It's, it's so fun, you guys. He, he, like, he recorded it on his phone. It's just him singing and head banging and stuff, but this is what you get. This is what you get. I love it so much. I love it. I love it.
[01:19:43] Jeremy Spray: That's fantastic.
[01:19:44] Emily Quann: It's, it's the greatest.
[01:19:48] Jeremy Spray: so Don, what was your big takeaway? What was the, what was the thing that that got you the most on it?
[01:19:53] Don Early: You know, I, again, I'm thinking in terms of. The sounds that can make you uncomfortable and what you do in response to that. And by sounds obviously in referring to an art form of, uh, noise music, but that being in many forms, so, He talked about Jimmy Hendrix and being able to make that sound of machine guns through the guitar.
[01:20:27] And that's being a kind of noise. And you know, he, like you said, he kind of uses the, the feedback as a flourish, whereas Tom, more. Is exploring the hell out of what all the different components of the guitar can actually do to create a sound and a soundscape. That is totally, definitely noise, but he does it in a, within a rhythm and a and a tone that fits with the song and the in tonality and, and just the actual music that he's crafting.
[01:21:08] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[01:21:09] Don Early: And, but that can still create this sense of uncomfortableness and, and people bringing their judgments to that. Uh, but then, you know, carrying that over to the extreme of, uh, actual, you know, the noise music, uh, genre where someone like myself or like what, you know, the two of you have expressed, uh, It's just very difficult to make sense and appreciate it from, uh, this is something that I would listen to.
[01:21:44] I, I am thankful to have heard about it and how it is made and why it is made then than just going in cold, cuz that I think would be a bad idea,
[01:21:59] Jeremy Spray: Sure. Yeah. And I, I'll admit there was a little bit of that on my end. Right. Other than the antidotes I've, I've felt in the background, I didn't do a lot of the pre-research or pre-listing before the interview. I, I kind of hit it cold. And, uh, I, I think for me, I, I'll agree with you. I, I think that's spoken, it influenced kind of my reaction to it.
[01:22:20] And, and, uh, the questions that you had asked and, and the stories back and forth, uh, I didn't, I didn't wanna take over your point. I just want to agree with you. Like, going in cold was, was probably not the, the best way to, to approach it.
[01:22:35] Don Early: Well, a as in if you went and listened to music cold without having listened to the interview first, I
[01:22:43] Jeremy Spray: Okay, got it. Yeah, so, so I dodged it then. I didn't do
[01:22:46] that. Good for me. Good for me.
[01:22:48] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:22:49] I, I, I think it's interesting. And then I also think it's very interesting, uh, just conceptually around where we find the demonic and the angels, um, in that path of the musical journey of noise and where it's always on the fringe.
[01:23:10] You know, blues was on the fringe of what was considered music, and then that involved, you know, to r and b and you know, then you have different class lines or race or whatever it might be that creates that divide between certain specific music and, and again, there's that the demons are dancing on the divide, the edge of what is.
[01:23:40] Order versus chaos.
[01:23:42] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[01:23:43] Don Early: Um, and, and, and all the baggage that goes with putting your values on interpreting that and. Um, but then that carries over to, you know, this very interesting piece that, uh, Brendan has crafted, which again, was very nonsensical for me until the end when I was like, oh, I remember, you know?
[01:24:12] And so, uh, did I make any sense out of anything? Did, is it, you know,
[01:24:19] probably not. the devil did not speak to me. There was no words, but I, I think I get it a little bit more, like 1% more than I did before talking with him, which I think that's all I'm after. 1%. I'm happy.
[01:24:38] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Did I mention Wendy Cisco the last time we all got together? I feel like I brought it up with you too.
[01:24:50] Don Early: It's
[01:24:50] Emily Quann: The, The, name sounds familiar.
[01:24:52] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, Wendy Cisco is is big time composer. And, uh, you mentioned Exorcist, which is why it, it came up for me. Sh Wendy, Cisco did, uh, the Shining and, uh, she did Tron and before she did both of those.
[01:25:07] She kind of invented electronic music
[01:25:12] because she was able to play with waveform designs and determine like, when I create this electronic sound, it does this form. And I, and, and I, I had so many different moments throughout, uh, the creation of Sounds, Tom Reo. It was the part that that, that brought it up the most for me.
[01:25:30] But, but, but the. The electronic music that I enjoy, that I have learned to enjoy found through techno and through Tron and, and through
[01:25:38] so many other things that I didn't know Wendy Cisco was the composer of and creator of until I found out recently, uh, you know, just a couple of months ago. Like just a huge influence that she has on the industry, still making music, by the way, still heavily in
[01:25:54] Don Early: awesome.
[01:25:54] Jeremy Spray: Um, and I, I just had a lot of. I had so much appreciation then that I was like, all right, cool. Electronica for life. I'm here for that. Right? In in, in the video game towns. And so that was part of, back to what I was saying earlier, feeling that I have a very clear genre distinction of noise versus noise music, because I already have that level of.
[01:26:22] Appreciation that's already been built in for the electronica sound. And, and there's, there's so many times that you'll hear, you know, the wash come through or, uh, the feedback warble or so many of the things that are supposed to create different feelings or different textures in the song that that happened with the, the rhythm and the beats that happen on electronica.
[01:26:41] And so my takeaway from this one was recognizing that it's not just. The one style there, it's, there literally is this immeasurable amount of ways that noises can come together and music can be created in, people can appreciate its in, in whatever form it shows up as. And it doesn't have to match my style and certainly doesn't have to be in a film or on an album to qualify for any of that, but, but, uh, I don't know.
[01:27:17] I, I'm so used to the idea of opening my horizons, right? And, and like listening with, with learning and, and really getting something out of it. Especially after this podcast, there's so many different times. I, I picked things up and I still, I wanna learn and I'm, I'm still happy to do that, but I, I was very clear.
[01:27:33] I had that moment of just like, nah, I'm good. I, I like that one that, that worked out for me. And I, and you know, it's fine. It, I just, I, but I, I definitely had a. I don't wanna say snobby. It didn't feel snobby to me at the time, but I was very clear that, that I was like, I like this, I don't like that in that part.
[01:27:54] So it, it was really cool to, to learn more about it and, and to learn things ar around where it, what it could be and where it could go. Uh, I didn't listen, I'll be honest with the ear of. The devil, you don't know so much in this one, even with the questions that you had came through and, and the ones that brought up, I was still mostly in like the, again, visualizing and,
[01:28:16] Don Early: Sure, yeah. The very day. Very different episode than we've done before. So,
[01:28:22] Jeremy Spray: for sure. Yeah.
[01:28:23] Don Early: Yeah. Uh, I mean he, even, even Brendan talks about snobbery and the different parts of the music community and, and even in what he's talking about, right? So, um, and I again go back to appreciating he's not going to interpret it somebody else's art and, um, you know, let it sort of speak for itself cuz that's the intent and, and all that stuff.
[01:28:47] So, Very exciting. Well, this is just the first of several interviews we're gonna do this season. Uh, up next is our very close friend, Chris Ode
[01:29:04] Jeremy Spray: right.
[01:29:04] Don Early: I have already. Done the interview. It's awesome. Chris is, uh, great to talk with and I, uh, can't wait to share that with you. Uh, I haven't decided if I'm gonna call the episode the Devil and Chris Ode
[01:29:20] I really want to, um, but the devil doesn't pr. Is not a prominent figure in the conversation, but we do talk about it. Um, it's just not as central and it fits because spoiler alert, if you're not Lutheran, uh, Lutherans don't really talk about the devil very much, and that's, I think, relatively true for a lot of.
[01:29:47] What I've talked about, mainstream or, uh, liturgical churches, churches that were Protestant, churches that were sort of spun off from Catholicism. Um, so I, I found that they tend to drift more politically, uh, liberal and I, you find the devil in a significantly diminished, if even visible role, uh, shows up in liturgy once in a while.
[01:30:15] Emily Quann: Yeah, I, in all the years I listened to my dad's sermons, I. Do not ever remember him, you know, telling us about the devil.
[01:30:27] Don Early: But I thought it would be interesting to gain Chris's perspective for a couple of things. One, he is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Um, and he's gonna unpack what that actually means, which is really great. And he, uh, is in the pursuit of a psychology degree. Um, and in particular school psych psychology.
[01:30:48] So, and he's always been, I feel like, I feel like he and I have a lot in common in the way we think. And there's definitely some things that we don't agree on in this interview, and I'm excited to talk to you about that. And it's not, there's no confrontation. It's just a very interesting sort of differences of opinion of how you go about
[01:31:14] Emily Quann: And Chris are no longer friends.
[01:31:17] Don Early: It's not true. I'm very excited to have him on the show again, in fact. So, um, anyway, so that's coming up and then of course we've got a few Pope podcasts out there that want to talk about the devil and popes and stuff. So, uh, that'll be coming and
[01:31:36] yeah, so lots to come. Stay tuned and, uh, remember that the devil you don't know is.
[01:31:44] The devil, someone else does. Have a good night, everyone.
[01:31:48] Jeremy Spray: Bye.
[01:31:49] Emily Quann: Bye.
[01:31:50] Don Early: And now for the disorder of your listening used here with permission of Brendan Foster, by the way. This is in its entirety. Adrenal Chrome junkie. Bye Brendan Foster.