Now we have releases by both members of the 2000s noise project Ohne: Tom Smith and, now, Dave Phillips. Phillips is of course the Swiss sound artist who is perhaps best known for his work in legacy projects like Fear of God and Schimpfluch-Gruppe, but has released stunning experimental noise under his own name for just as long (since the 1980s). Phillips’ new release is Disappear and it’s more diverse sonically than 99 percent of what passes as noise these days. From the very first track on this album, “FFTTMFTO,” I was hooked. A pulsating techno drone bleeps in and then instantly vanishes, before splices of noise and sampled sounds cut in and out alongside a menacing vocal line before buzzing washes of white noise lurk beneath. It’s a fucking mesmerizing sound. “Hope (Without)” is an atmospheric beast with a narrative pull: a hushed whisper murmurs throughout: “We must not give into despair,” it says, as evil, hissing noise threatens to explode all while interjected with the sound of a clocktower, bounding the track in a temporal nightmare.
This is what I want noise to be. A cohesion of unrecognizable sounds, not just torrents of feedback and guys screaming about finger banging their family members. Phillips has a remarkable understanding of texture, and knows how to exploit noise as a space for art. While noise should not be music, it should be art. If that makes any sense, then congratulations you’re smart and on the level.