In Sunday's Calendar, I profiled three young noise-aligned composers and songwriters in L.A., Zola Jesus, Sun Araw and Infinite Body. Each made his or her reputation playing difficult yet uncannily pretty music in off-the-grid venues, and each is shaping the scene in a meditative new direction from the more violent, guitar-oriented bands such as No Age and HEALTH that have ruled in recent years.
But for a broader perspective on avant-garde noise music in L.A., I talked with composer John Wiese, a singular voice in local composition. Across scads of formats and a plethora of labels and projects, his howling electronic works recall both mind-bending suites from Xenakis and Ligeti, and the trashy, antagonistic punk of the Smell scene. Below is our full interview, conducted by e-mail. He just wrapped up tours with Liars and No Age in Europe and played a couple L.A. dates earlier this month.
There seems to be a growing audience for explicitly "difficult" music. What do think younger fans are getting from noise and avant-garde genres that might be missing in more straightforward pop or indie music?
Extremes in the spectrum exist in everything -- that's what makes the middle the middle. I think most people venture far out at least once in a while -- life is complex and has many faces, feelings, experiences, etc.