For 17 years, the Noisettes have been doing fascinating things under the radar of Seattle's music scene. It's time to blow the cobwebs of obscurity off their unique, antiquely futuristic sounds. The Noisettes have had 17 members move through their ranks, but now operate mainly as a trio: Thaddeus Koolhoeven, Joy Von Spain, and Noah Nine (the latter two are in Son of None).
Nobody in Seattle sounds like the Noisettes. They've undergone heavy exposure to classic sci-fi-film scores like Louis and Bebe Barron's Forbidden Planet and Gil Mellé's Andromeda Strain, and immersed themselves in Morton Subotnick's Moog explorations, Raymond Scott's avant-garde ad jingles, and Tangerine Dream's stratospheric pulsations. The Noisettes' alien gastric bleeps and spacey synth murmurs are simultaneously unsettling and oddly calming, poignantly forlorn yet slightly kitsch.
Although prolific, the Noisettes lack a methodical creative approach. "The only effort I make is to make sure it doesn't sound like anything else... and no techno beats," Koolhoeven allows. "Oops! There go potential audience members! Sorry, I'm crotchety and old."
"I'm not as old and crotchety as Thaddeus," Von Spain says, "but I survived the East Coast rave scene: Four-on-the-floor is [played out]. If the Noisettes [are] dance music, it's mostly for people who took a lot of acid when they were younger. Usually we have to wake people up at the end of our shows from their space-out trances."
Koolhoeven elaborates: "I originally made the sounds that I thought we should've been listening to in the year 2000, which fits in with the Forbidden Planet/Andromeda Strain/THX 1138/2001 aspect of my sound (and wardrobe choice). My dad worked at Boeing in the early to mid-'60s, and I just barely missed the 1962 World's Fair. I kinda have this faux nostalgia for the future that never happened; it's as though I landed in the wrong present, and we aren't where I was led to believe we would be in this year."
"I grew up with a futuristic mindset rooted in past expectations," Von Spain adds. "I heard the same film soundtracks mentioned and studied Ligeti, Xenakis, Stockhausen... [It] definitely gave me an ear for a sine wave, FM synthesis, or AM radio for that matter."
Neither lamenting nor boasting, Koolhoeven observes, "The stuff [we] do doesn't really fit in with the latest harsh noise/black clothing/shrieking into microphones and naming your band something about venereal disease or violent aspects of bodily fluids. Don't get me wrong, I love that stuff, but Noisettes [are] an anomaly. It doesn't fit in with that, and it's not free jazz, and (I hope) it's not New Agey. It does seem like there are people [who] always come to the shows and they always like it, so I must be doing something viable."
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 1
DULL KNIFE, ERIC OSTROWSKI, LAND WHAT LAND, M. EVANS
With pants-filling dread, the two prolific dudes in Ear Venom wrangle nuanced, gnarled noise symphonies from their handcrafted instruments, making them logical openers for Wolf Eyes' next Seattle gig. Tonight they're playing in Dull Knife with Charlotte from Arachnid Arcade and Adam from Du Hexen Hase. EV's Brian says Dull Knife exist "in order to expand our interests in drone, ambient soundscapes, and improv." Eric Ostrowski (Noggin) will create a squealstrom on his violin and screen his experimental films. Tashiro Kaplan Art Lofts, 115 Prefontaine Pl S, 7 pm, $2, all ages.
Working with Ben Fuller as Tactic, ex-Seattle/K.C.-based DJ Candlewax (Brent Lippincott) recently concocted a tight mix titled Money Shot Vol. 2. It includes shit-hot knee-benders from DJ Mehdi, Diplo, De La Soul, E-40, the Rapture, Lady Sov, and others. Expect grime, hiphop, techno, electro, and more from this Kansas City Chief. Nijo, 83 Spring St, 340-8880, 9 pm, free, all ages; also Sat Feb 3 at Chapel, 1600 Melrose Ave, 447-4180, 10 pm—2 am, free, 21+.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 4
Dragon's Eye Recordings boss Yann Novak marks the release of Decibel 2006, a CD document of his mesmerizing set at last year's Seattle-based electronic-music festival, with this in-store appearance. Decibel 2006 also inaugurates DER's new series of live recordings, de6000. The 43-minute disc is a tapestry of deftly intertwined blue-gray drones, inducing deep tranquility and comforting bleakness, an insular isolationism that osculates the ionosphere and oscillates into infinity. Wall of Sound Records, 315 E Pine St, 441-9880, 6 pm, free, all ages.
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7
DOSH, FOSCIL, THE KINDNESS KIND
Martin Dosh is a badass drummer and Rhodes organist who's played with the Minnesota group Fog. He's evolved from a one-man band to being leader of an ensemble (Mike Lewis joins him for this show). Starting in the jazzier end of the postrock spectrum, Dosh has moved into idyllic, Morr Music—ish electronica, but with sicker percussion. Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm—2 am, $8 adv, 21+.