Give Guitars to People, as a group, is the work of both Jochen Arbeit and Patricia Bateira. However, The Look of Silence, Vol 1 was created by Arbeit and Bateria lending their services to Victor Rua. When asked for a description of the album, Vitor Rua said that the music is "meta-idiomatic." Most, in this context, would take idiomatic to mean the musical style of a certain epoch or individual. I, on the other hand, am more inclined to take idiomatic to refer to the vernacular and expressions that are unique to a native speaker. As such, meta-idiomatic, as a term, denotes the interrogation of sounds, expressions, and utterances.
When noise and sound are thought of, especially in the context of music, the genre of Shoegaze comes to the fore. Sound, rather than sprawling and oozing, became concrete; sound was reified into great walls. Sound was seen as something to be constructed — to be built. Give Guitars to People can be viewed as a continuation of this exploration. The Look of Silence, Vol 1 certainly does produce sounds and textures that are not too dissimilar from My Bloody Valentines' 'Loveless.' However, that being said, I would contend that Give Guitars to People provide a more nuanced and lucid investigation of the notion of sound and noise. Whereas Shoegaze and noise tracks have discernible and conspicuous endings and beginnings, The Look of Silence, Vol 1 exists in a musical landscape where the arrow of time stands still. Informed by their influence of deconstructive art, such as Dadaism, this 43 minute and 18-second-long album (which consists of only one track) does not pertain to the notions of beginning, middle and end. As said themselves, Give Guitars to People tracks invite listeners to participate in a progression, as opposed to a cycle. Structures and frameworks are made otiose.
At first, dissonant calls and shrieks all interplay and converse over a sprawling framework. The listener is overtly aware of the fact that the track is constructed; the track exists in a place that is orthogonal to the listener. However, as the collage of sound progresses, the natural begins to interject and gain a foothold. Thunderclaps are the first of these. Following this interjection, cascading guitar bends aim to emulate the natural. They fight through and reach an apotheosis, before being drowned again in the milieu of noise. This unique game of cat-and-mouse between these naturalistic sounds and their constructed copies allows the track to dissolve into the ambient surroundings. Like a Chameleon changing its colour, the music morphs so that it can blend into the natural. This game of mimicry continues after the sounds of children are heard, where a bizarre flurry comes to the foreground. Swells and nadirs aim to recapture the complete freedom of playing children.
However, this game of mimicry eventually fails. A volta midway through the song signifies the construction of a new noise. This one, however, rather than aiming to emulate and slip into the surroundings unnoticed, is far more overt. This noise is far more grotesque; it throbs and pulsates. Feedback loops between naturalistic interjections highlight the chasm between the natural and the constructed. The mimicry crumbles as the noise becomes more looped, more reverberated. The wall of noise in the most literal sense has been built. The wall of sound has become impersonal. Nature and the constructed have been separated; the wall serves to divide and define.
The Look of Silence, Vol 1 lends form to the notably amorphous idea of noise. By contrasting and comparing it with the natural, this record allows listeners to consider their place in the environment, and how they complement or counteract it. Perhaps, this record may even comment on how music can be used as an art form that can both support and alienate our habitat and general environment from ourselves. Or, it's just 43 minutes — give or take — of guitar feedback. I think I'll go with the former.
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