Henry Rollins: The Column! Noise Music Is the Real Thing
Olson and Connelly release records left and right. In one week at the American Tapes site, there will be four new releases and up to a dozen new paintings of his for sale. It's been going on like this for years.
At one point in the evening, I asked Olson if he could show me where he records. He showed me a small room in the basement with a few bits of gear, a spray-painted mixer and, I believe, a soprano saxophone. Where I was expecting some elaborate range of equipment was instead a stripped-down, utilitarian setup, designed to get it happening fast.
I have not heard nearly all the recordings these two have made over the years, but I have heard a few hundred and many are totally mind-blowing. This is not just a bunch of maniacs making an awful racket. There is structure, texture and even, at times, an almost Iannis Xenakis constructionist discipline to the work. Xenakis, one of my favorite composers, was not nearly as prolific as these two are. Also, there is a distinct openness to what these guys are doing that evades definition or containment.
I asked them why they do this phenomenal amount of work and what they get out of it. We compared and contrasted our differences in method of creation. I come from a very basic rock approach. You go to the practice room, start arguing with your bandmates and, thus, the creative process starts. Weeks and sometimes months of work renders 10 to 15 songs that you will eventually record, release, shamelessly promote and then play every night for a year, all over the world. It's all so very predictable.
At one point Olson said they see this method as stilted and unnatural. They see music and creativity as a series of chapters. They prefer to record music frequently, never really being done with it and never sure that it's exactly what they are after. In this zone of relative uncertainty, they keep pushing the ideas forward.