The basement tapes: Take Up Serpents, Markus Lunkenheimer & Bryce Beverlin II


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During the month of noise music in researching this week's feature, Gimme Noise made numerous field recordings. Here's the best three. 


 Junk is a central figure in noise music. Noise music shows a predilection, and, occasionally, an obsession, with things discarded or mistaken to be commonplace tools. Take Up Serpents, on tour from San Francisco, played this set surrounded by trinkets and noisemakers. They were floor dwellers-- kneeling before pedals and mixers in a Northeast Minneapolis living room, as inert as marble sculptures in black masks. This recording is from the 4th minute of a 20 minute set. Looking on was Bryce Beverlin II, co-founder of Squid Fist and a seminal local noise artist.
Markus Lunkenheimer

Lunkenheimer's carriage house kitchen was full of his hand built instruments-- a primitive drum machine, a rebuilt Casio keyboard, and open circuit boards. In this recording, he is first playing his circuit bent keyboard, then his Clorox bottle, then a hand built circuit instrument installed into a green plastic gutter guard. While he played, he explained that, for him, talking the music he makes is difficult, and referred to the music later as "an outlet for wordless thought." Lunkenheimer's background is in visual art, and many of his instruments are built with obvious aesthetic. "If you have a visual or even scattered mind," he said in an email, "why not embrace and express that abstraction. It would be weird not to."


 This recording begins with sounds of spray paint cans. While Beverlin warmed up with vocal noise, two graffiti artists were painting large murals in the backyard of a Northeast duplex. Though Squid Fist and Ice Volt are the outfits for which Beverlin is most well known, he is also a gifted freestyle rapper, and after beginning the set with jags of noise (the only instrument here is a microphone feeding back through an amplifier), a beat was introduced in the 4th minute, and Beverlin rapped over prerecorded beats. By the time he was finished, so were the graffiti artists.

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