Alexander Noice - NOICE - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Alexander Noice - NOICE

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-08-23
Alexander Noice - NOICE
Alexander Noice - NOICE

Parental Warning: Do not drink caffeine while ingesting this wonderful record.

Oh my! The first song, “Affectation,” is a creative mile a minute art-rock that’s in the same galaxy as Henry Cow/Slapp Happy’s In Praise of Learning or Christian Vader’s Magma in their Udu Wudu glory years. The music is a wonderous brew of two female vocalists, funhouse keyboards, incessant drumming, a fast pulse rate, Alexander Noice’s fiery (and very precise) lead guitar work, an even faster pulse rate; and at (about) the four-minute mark, a sax bleats a bit as the tune hits the second stage of its liftoff. And then the melodic melee swirls into a hypnotic whirlpool of amusement park ride euphoria. Whew!

“Black Darwin” introduces a slight Eastern vibe to the cathedral vocals/colorful keyboards, percussion deluxe, and ever-present bass (that sort of holds the whole thing together), and that guitar that throws a rock anchor into the mix. 

“Ambit” attacks the very weird status quo of the previous two songs as the sax takes a lead voice, and the music follows yet another yellow brick road into a land far beyond the usual rock ‘n’ roll record. Yeah, this music is suddenly colorized. It slides up and down like an Oz Munchkin-dipper-ride-hair dew. Then for some odd artistic reason, the vocals recite various numbers, while the sax wails with beautiful abandon.

Any sane person would think this would be enough.

But “Fly Inside the Wall” adds an x5 into the sonic mix. The vocals reach for helium heights. And then a sax lets loose. I mean, it bleeds loose. It is a fabby din.

You know, years ago, Peter Hammill said (in some interview) that he loved Carl Orff because of the “great riffs.” So, of course, I purchased Carmina Burana, which is an intense piece of old drinking songs put to classical music. Choruses swagger and the music roars. And this record sort of does the very same thing within the rock context, as vocals chant over driving fervid music.

Odd: This isn’t jazz. That would be an easy explanation. But no.  It’s carefully arranged complex rock music, that just like math’s ever-lasting pi, continues into infinity. And then the throttle is wide open for the rest of the album. Yeah, crazed rock ‘n’ roll Carl Off classical drinking song riffs continue to dance up and down to old stuff, new stuff, and future stuff that we don’t even know yet. That’s the vibe of this weird record.

“Never Thought I Would” will bring a smile to fans of the great prog band Gentle Giant in their more esoteric moments like (my favorite) The Power and the Glory album.

Now, perhaps, “Breathe in the Ether” is a bit more of the same. But the same is still pretty amazing! And the pulse gives The Talking Heads’ Remain in Light a run for the money. That sax honks all over the place; the guitar squeals like a Fripp solo; the voices soar on turbulent winds, and the percussion is quite frankly, beyond clever. And then everything blasts into heaven as those voices leave the gravity of Earth and conjure the power of Kate Bush’s intensity ala The Dreaming’s “Get Out of My House.”

“Dipped in Double Meaning´ is complex prog-rock, perhaps like Henry Cow, with operatic voices and odd spoken bits. One word: incredible! And, yes, I am reminded of the brilliant Meredith Monk and her Turtle Dreams album. “

The final song, “On the Fondalack,” puts the exclamation mark (or three) on all of the above. This does sound a bit like jazz, as the sax solos are (once again) all over the place, and the guitar glances toward Kenny Burrell. But the intensity finds no respite as vocals chant, the drums pound a weird pulse, and the music continues to explode with consuming beauty. 

Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s cup of rock ‘n’ roll. But I’ll just cite the references: Magma, Henry Cow, Kate Bush, Meredith Monk, Carl Orff and his Carmina Burana, Slapp Happy, Gentle Giant, Kenny Burrell, and The Talking Heads, and then just leave it at that.

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