AMN Reviews: Alexander Noice – Noice (2019; Orenda Records)

Yeah, I know that we’ve written a bunch of reviews (soon to be 1000 – more on that soon). But you need to pay attention to this one.

Alexander Noice is a guitarist and composer active in the Los Angeles creative music scene, a loose group of artists who are developing distinctive voices. Many of their efforts have been captured on the Orenda Records label. Noice’s previous release, reviewed here, focused on processing of the human voice and was easily one of the most innovative offerings of 2016. Noice, on the other hand, is a full group effort but maintains the composer’s penchant for vocal-oriented weirdness. And it certainly is an album of the year candidate for 2019.

The lineup consists of Noice on guitar and compositions, Karina Kallas and Argenta Walther on vocals, Gavin Templeton on sax, Colin Burgess on bass, and Andrew Lessman on drums and percussion. Stylistically, Noice and Templeton set forth cascading or spiraling guitar and sax lines, over which Kallas and Walther provide singing, chants, and wordless utterances. Burgess and Lessman lay down involved rhythms that span jazz and rock. Still, the approach is highly-structured, procedural and has more than a few hints of minimalism. Put another way, Noice has plenty of moments that are reminiscent of Reich, Glass, Orff, and even Magma. In fact, I get the same buzz of off this release as those of Christian Vander and company. The overall effect is a complex and jarring soundscape that is a modern rock opera with hints of electronic music.

To reiterate, this is one of the more vanguard albums of a year with plenty of vanguard releases. Noice is thoroughly enjoyable, virtuosic, and catchy. Don’t walk, run out and get this one when it becomes available on August 23.

Intrigued? Check out the video of a track from Noice.