On November 16, Metropolitan Audio Pain Source will be presenting an eleven-project harsh noise and power electronics festival at the Silent Barn. For an eight-dollar admission fee, attendees can endure live performances by menacing new comers like Brooklyn’s Penchant to veterans like John Mannion, F.F.H. and RU-486. DJ Matt McClure will bring additional auditory assault between sets.
This is promoter Doug Hock’s first attempt at presenting dark esoteric electronics but he intends that the Metropolitan Audio Pain source festival is the first of a series presenting both larger and smaller shows. Hock claims that the festival materialized out of need, particularly in the absence of Far Rockaway’s Red Light District in booking and hosting harsh noise (although it seems that the RLD crew has started to slowly book noise shows again, as they are hosting a Halloween show this year).
Without much demand for harsh noise, it becomes increasingly difficult to book harsh noise and power electronic shows. Since New York City doesn’t offer many basement venues, it is difficult to draw enough attendees to harsher and more experimental shows and thus difficult to pay bands or cover overhead costs that add up when working with a venue.
After being blown away by this years End Tyme’s festival, Doug Hock decided it was time to personally invest in revitalizing the almost dormant scene, even if it would prove to be a challenge. Hock was eager to work with the Silent Barn in particular because the venue offers ample space and has supported experimental music with a DIY ethos throughout the years.
“I feel that noise shows feel more authentic in a DIY environment… And I wanted to support Silent Barn.” Hock tells ANIMAL. “It went smoothly with amazing help from Bob Bellerue.”
Bellerue, who has a long-standing relationship with Silent Barn procured the venue and helped Hock along. Beyond his hand in helping organize the event, Bellerue will also be performing as Blessed Thistle at the fest.
With the intention of eventually bringing noise artists from all over the world to NYC, Hock chose to highlight performers hailing from states such as Texas, Massachusetts and Maryland in addition to five hometown heroes.
There are several particularity esteemed projects playing. John Mannion, the festival’s headliner, plays complex compositions sourced from a running box fan and a screwdriver. Watching Mannion play the fan is fascinating. He has mastered manipulating his unusual instrument and every one of his actions are deliberate. Somehow, after years of using a box fan as a primary sound source no two sets are quite alike.
New York’s F.F.H. is a Hospital Productions alumni and has been ruling the power electronics game for almost a decade now. Straightforward, powerful and painful; F.F.H. has this special way of getting under your skin. Sharpwaist delivers slow burning brutality those blossoms into utter chaos. RU-486, delightfully named after a pill that ends pregnancy and closely associated with fellow Texas legends Black Leather Jesus warns the audience to stand back if they are scared of getting hurt.
When I asked Hock to speak about his vision for the festival he said, “I don’t really have an ultimate goal. I just want to see some killer harsh noise in NYC and hang with a bunch of friends from all over the country. Most of the out-of-towners playing don’t hit NY too often, so I wanted to bring them out and just harsh the fuck out.” Fair enough.
Overall, the line up is unrelenting and one does not have to be familiar with every project in order to appreciate the festivals sentiment. Those who are completely unfamiliar with the Harsh Noise and Power Electronics should be forewarned, however — harsh noise tends to be a difficult sonic exploration of troubled subject matter. Harsh soundscapes are usually paired with intentionally grotesque themes: war, death, perversion and alienation. While the whole ordeal is not for the sensitive or faint of heart, any one interested should take a chance and attend this impeccably curated event. They just might be advised to bring earplugs.
Harsh Noise/Power Electronics Festival, M.A.P.S Volume One, Silent Barn, Brooklyn ($8)