DISCLAIMER: (Please don’t actually follow this guide. I don’t want my readers getting noise complaints! Listen on your headphones if you want, but be warned! This stuff can get incredibly loud!)
Picture this: It’s 11:30. You’ve cleaned up nicely, and you want nothing more than to kick back your feet and fall into dreams. You’ve got your New Age playlist ready to accompany your sleep journey, when…Dear God, is that a vacuum cleaner? Why? It’s Tuesday night! Why do you need to vacuum at midnight? This cannot stand.
1: Literally any Modern Classical piece
Let’s start with something simple. Find those Karlheinz Stockhausen compilations gathering dust on your shelf, or search for a John Cage best of on YouTube. Unlike the classical music you might have been trained to recognize, the different styles of Modern Classical throw all of that unnecessary stuff out with the kitchen sink. Melody? Who needs that? Rhythm? Out with it! Four helicopters with a string quartet? Yes, please! Or maybe, 12 radios tuned randomly at different intervals depending on your location? Sounds great!
2: Broken Transmission
Lower the volume for a sec. They’re stomping around in their room, vibrating the walls around you. Maybe they need a little more…persuasion. Those radios seem like a great idea; let’s stick with that. Unlike its parent genre, the supremely a e s t h e t i c vaporwave, Broken Transmission steals snatches and pieces of, well, television broadcasts and warps them around to create, um, something. The unpronounceable ░▒▓新しいデラックスライフ▓▒░ ‘s album ▣世界から解放され▣ is a 20-minute long jackhammer straight to your skull. Japanese commercials and game shows are ripped apart and echoed excessively, rattling any piece of sanity left in you. ECCO UNLIMITED’s NHK Reminds You to Boost Your Signal is the sound of the apocalypse as heard through your transistor radio. Distortion and static are the name of the game here, with pieces glitching out at random, yet in a way, it’s still beautiful. You doubt your neighbor hears the nuance.
You strain your ears after blowing them out. Are they…screaming? At you? Of all the nerve! Well, if they want to yell, you’ll give them yelling. Cybergrind takes a lot of influence from the extreme metal genre “grindcore,” a fusion of hardcore punk and metal, with influences from every abrasive genre you can think of. Cybergrind takes this one step forward by utilizing electronic noise to the best of its ability while losing none of the hatred and self-loathing you come to expect. Cutting Pink With Knives is the best start (if you can believe a genre like this has an “introduction”), as they meld their noisy ambiance with, oddly enough, a very pop-like structure. Coming in at under 25 minutes, 2007’s Populuxxe throws everything the band has to offer in your face, beating you senseless and leaving you in a daze. If you want more, turn to the granddaddy of the genre, Agoraphobic Nosebleed. PCP Torpedo clocks in at 6 MINUTES(!) rushing around like a tornado before letting you finally catch a breath. You’ve never done anything illegal (right?) and if this album is any indication of what happens at the end of such a lifestyle, you’d pretty much be scared straight.
4: Harsh Noise Wall
The walls are shaking at this point. You can’t even make out what your neighbor is saying; it’s all incoherent. Well, no matter. They’re continuing to make noise, and you, the decent citizen that you are, have the peace and quiet of your dorm/apartment to consider. Turn your volume to the max, and give them a taste of their own medicine. Harsh Noise Wall, unlike the rest of our journey, is lacking in one quality that sets it above the rest: humanity. At the end of the day, when the helicopter blades finish whirring and the guitars finish shredding, you can almost see the musicians pack up and leave the studio. Not so here. As one producer said of the genre, there are “No ideas, no change, no development, no entertainment, no remorse.” Why bother with album titles and artists? The Wall doesn’t care. The Wall will annihilate any sense of feeling left in your body, and The Wall will continue to blow out speakers long after you’re dead. The Wall is a monolith of noise, and always will be.
There’s a knock at your door. Finally, here they come to apologize. You’re a hero, and you can sleep like a baby knowing that justice has prevailed. At the door is a simple note. “Hey, this is your neighbor. Can you keep it down in there? Some of us are trying to sleep!”