Vivenza – Réalités Servo Mécaniques


” This evolution of music is parallel to the multiplication of machines, which everywhere are collaborating with man. Not only amid the clamor of the metropolis, but also in the countryside, which until yesterday was normally silent, in our time the machine has created such a variety and such combinations of noises that pure sound, in its slightness and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling.”

– The Art of Noises, Luigi Russolo

Architecture is a chained and fettered art. Far from being “frozen music,” it is an art constantly attempting to realize in solid, stable form those effects which music is able to conjure up in an instant–effects which succeed each other rapidly during the progress of a musical work. Music can attain the colossal in a way which, in architecture, only the rarest opportunities render even remotely possible. Music can, in a few moments, admit us through vast portals into avenues, courts and halls of infinite extent and variety. Music can suddenly raise up an entire structure and, by the device of modulation, lift it on to a podium, abruptly recess its facades and turn them bodily into the sunshine. Music can etch silhouettes ten times more intricate than those of Dresden or London City, repeat them, increase or reduce them, hurl them into the distance or bring them before us in precise detail. Most of the essentials of architecture–mass, rhythm, texture, outline–are within music’s power. Almost, the two arts are the same art, the one able to express nearly everything which the imagination is capable of conceiving, the other bound by the rigours of economy and use.

– John Newenham Summerson

I recently got an urge to listen to some raw industrial soundscapes after I finally found the song Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons 2009 by the  German power electronic/industrial band Winterkälte. The poison dust mix isn’t quite as good as the 2009 version, and of course the 2009 editions is almost nowhere to be found. Still an awesome song though, both versions. Anyhow, it sort of en-kindled my fascination of total industrial music again, how much more industrial can you get that raw samplings from an operating industrial plant?

I’m not going to bore you by bringing up Luigi Russolo again and going on a big history rant about industrial music and noise music theory, (you can read all about that when I finished my masters thesis) but I’d just like to bring some attention to a lesser known, but influential artist in the industrial music scene.

Industrial music is as it sounds, very based upon the sounds of machinery, industry, and factories, with their harsh, mechanical, monotonous drones, but still some of the more known and bigger artists/bands that call themselves “industrial” in some way use these sounds quite sparingly. Quite seldom they focus entirely on the sound of a factory, and merely use the imagery and atmosphere of the bleak industrial landscape and let the soundscape lie in the background of, for example, tired old rock metal riffs.

Jean-Marc Vivenza on the other hand, records the sounds of the industrial machines and let them own the stage entirely on their own. He started in 1983, making him one of the earliest “true industrial” sound artists. No bland metal, no pre-teen emos screaming about “the cold harsh world”, just pure industrial machines working.



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Filed under Avant-Garde, Drone, Experimental, Field Recordings, Harsh Noise, Industrial, Noise, Non Music, Rhythmic Noise, Soundscape, Vivenza

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