Sonorous Flow Update: No Age Live!

I caught a great show this week and I’d like to share my appreciation for music I was able to hear with the world: the bill was pretty short, just two bands: No Age and Liars, but what two bands they were! Liars do not need introductions, even if they slowly went from toe-tapping hits like “Mr., You’re on Fire, Mr.” from They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top to minimalist tunes of Drum’s Not Dead, and back to a resemblance of a rock tune on the latest Liars, they still managed to remain somewhere around the top of “cool bands” on any respectable hipster’s list.  No Age, however, is a relatively new band, it seemed, and I have to say that I was very much impressed.

I happened to be reading a short paper by Deleuze that addressed some issues of contemporary music and was presented in 1978 at one of the IRCAM’s conferences.  Deleuze discussed non-pulsed time and the musical progression from a non-tempered and non-measured state to its present controlled state of measured temperament, i.e. music’s sonorous material is organized according to 12 tones of the tempered octave and regular measure. Deleuze observed that “a non-pulsed time is a time made of heterogeneous durations, whose relations rest on a molecular population, and no longer on a unifying metrical form.” A bit later in the essay he talks about a “sonorous landscape” and music that “elaborates a sonorous material to render audible those forces that are not audible in themselves.”

All of that got me thinking about the way we perceive various genres of music, including the most traditional and well-established material such as “classical music” of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc.  I thought that, as far as Deleuze was concerned, all musical pursuits, even if they involve banging a bucket on a street corner, are united in their attempted articulation of sounds, their attunement to the sonorous flow(s)…  So when I heard a rather strange sound of No Age, I found its extremely distorted yet at times rhythmic flow to be very intriguing.  Here is a review from Pitchfork of their latest creation Weirdo Rippers:

Beginning this past March, Los Angeles duo No Age released five impeccably decorated, vinyl-only EPs on five different labels. The blitz coincided with a seemingly endless string of live shows– the kinds you go home and tell friends about. Not a bad one-two punch. Shattering eardrums in clubs is the most natural way to spread the word about your band, and their records were a smart way to spread a wealth of material while creating colorful collector’s items in the process. Weirdo Rippers, an 11-song compilation consisting of highlights from those records, stitches songs together by sound and feel, rather than presenting them chronologically. The songs flow together swimmingly, and despite track-by-track brevity (three songs are under two minutes, three are under three) the group has mastered a low-tech immensity, and the album builds into something much bigger than its constituent parts.

The rest is here.

No Age made a very good use of both their minimalist distortion-oriented sound and their at times explosive riffs that made one think of early Black Flag – although probably more suitable as a basement band, they still had a powerful presence in a 500 people small venue.

3 thoughts on “Sonorous Flow Update: No Age Live!

  1. Sounds good. For some reason I sort of stopped following The Liars. Maybe I was sick of the whole NYC skinny jeans hipster bands of the time–even thought they are quite different then the guitar driven throw backs. I saw the Liars with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Ogden back in 2002 and thought they were really good, sometimes kind of subtle, other times in your face, with that weird drum machine running all the time. I had heard No Age was touring with the Liars and are worth checking out.

  2. Yeah, No Age is fantastic! I’m pretty jealous you got to see them on tour with the Liars. There’s some pretty cool videos on Youtube of No Age playing on streets and in stores that are worth watching (and the Boy Void video is a good view too). And I’m pretty sure they have a new album coming out soon. There’s one song out at least (I think from Pitchfork?), which shows them continuing the noisy, ambient punk thing they have going on.

  3. They have a great presence – we came for Liars but the show was delayed because of the weather so by the time we got there, No Age came on, so that was the only reason I caught them – and I think this is the best way to hear a new band and see if it catches your attention – I don’t think the album (Weirdo Rippers) has the same energy as a live show…

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