Sunday, 8 July 2007

The New Blockaders Feature

This is something that appeared in The Toy Pirate Fanzine.

The New Blockaders Are Big

“We are The New Blockaders. Blockade is resistance. It is our duty to blockade and induce others to Blockade. Anti-books, anti-art, anti-music, anti-clubs, anti-communication. We will make anti-statements about anything and everything. We will make a point of being pointless.”

So read the 1982 manifesto of the New Blockaders. A group who, more than any other, define the essence of true noise music both in art and in act. They have existed for over two decades in complete anonymity but their influence on the current crop of popular crossover noise artists such as Prurient and Wolf Eyes is immeasurable.

Emerging at the beginning of the 1980’s alongside the industrial grind of Throbbing Gristle and the harsh, abrasive power-electronics of Whitehouse the New Blockaders stood out through a purity of vision. Their first record, 1982’s Changez Les Blockeurs, is noise in it’s most rudimentary form: metallic grating sounds and analogue feedback redefined what could be classified as music. Its abstract form and Dadaist construction challenged all that had appeared before. It’s anti-music approach presented a recording closer to the theory-driven work of Einsturzende Neubauten than their supposed contemporaries.

They would appear rarely and when they did it would be in balaclavas. The records would emerge even more infrequently with little information and in tiny runs. No one knows who is, was or has been a New Blockader. The only fact that is clear is that the singular constant in their evolution has been a man named Richard Rupenus who selects artists to work with and anything that is created is released under the banner of the Blockaders with all sense of individuality sacrificed for the end product. Collaborations in recent years with artists such as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and the enigmatic Japanese musician Merzbow have bough their anti-sound to a younger and diverse audience.

The Blockaders made a rare, recent live appearance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in December. They performed alongside The Haters, an American collective of a similar vintage who once released a blank CD that the listener had to “scratch in order hear”. The screed wall of sound created had apparently been in accordance with Rupenus’ simple order to: “go for half an hour as low and loud as you can”. It was one of the most incredible half hours of my life.

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