Second Square To None

Starting today, the SSTN Noise Series is going to be a weekly digest of the current "noise" scene in Ireland. While conceding that this definition is very broad (and perhaps in places inaccurate), we feel that there is an aesthetic link between the pieces of music and artists involved. As such the Noise Series will cover a wide range of approaches, from visceral harsh noise, electro-acoustic composition, ambient soundscapes and drone to musique concrete and hard-to-catagorise recordings (and that's just from the submissions we have received so far).

Often this music is made by people who are involved in very different music scenes, from doom metal to contemporary classical to breakcore. The intention of the series is to connect the dots between these often disparate scenes, and highlight the different personalities involved. Each week an exclusive MP3 of a particular artist's work will be posted on this blog, along with an interview where the artist will be given a chance to discuss their work and motives.

If you make what could be described as noise music, we'd like to hear it: submissions can be sent directly to or through the SoundCloud dropbox found on this page.

Kicking things of we have an epic sound collage from Dubliner Brian Conniffe, who is involved in a myriad of projects, including a collaboration with Suzanne Walsh and Female Orphan Asylum (with Vicky Langan), as well as collaborations with Gavin Prior and many others.

Brian Conniffe - Obscene Geometry by sstn noise

Brian rose to the challenge of answering the following questions:

What are your reasons / motives for making music, and how you arrived at this style?

BC: Have you ever seen something that you just know that you have to have? Something that you see and immediately know that it has to be yours. And you wont stop thinking about it until you have it? You know that feeling inside you get when it just penetrates you and says look at me. And you really want it. Well, that's how music is for me. I never have any audience in mind, my primary motivation is a drive to satisfy myself. My own pleasure and enjoyment. To create exactly the kind of music I personally want to hear.
I love the idea of a work that can evoke memories, exhilarate, sedate, arouse, burn images bright into the mind.

The music that really inspired me were the most unique and peculiar things I have experienced. The sort of thing whose very existence is often bewildering. Hearing Throbbing Gristle's "Second Annual Report" at the tender age of thirteen blew wide open my whole view of what music was, is and could be. i never looked back. i still adore that work, the counter-intuitive bloodymindedness of a lead guitarist who had no interest in learning how to play the guitar and especially the murky low fidelity of it all. The uncompromising freedom, it's what punk claimed but failed to be. I think the next album i got was by Coil. There wasn't anything about this stuff that wasn't completely inspiring in every way. it was an overwhelming realisation of possibilities.

Then I found Nurse With Wound, all of which seemed to be absolutely perfect to me, and I quickly became totally obsessed. NWW still remains my absolute favourite musical project. The most self-indulgent music in the world, inspiring in its diversity. Any kind of limitation is negated by the purity of his conviction and his endless inventiveness. Steve Stapleton was a great influence on me personally. He really has no ego about what he does, is absolutely and consistently honest, the reactions of others – be they positive or negative – do not sway him one jot. Arguing about aesthetics and preference need not be a personal issue. Musically, Coil is similarly inspiring in terms of diversity. On Coil and Nurse albums you can find laid-back jazz next to violent bursts of mechanical loops, alongside melancholic ambience or perfectly danceable songs. I also think that Coil’s incorporation of folk elements and acoustic instrumentation with electronic sequencing and digital manipulation remains utterly unique. I have come back to Robert Ashley’s “Automatic Writing” for inspiration on many an occasion. Sounds like drifting in the hypnagogic state between sleep and waking, occasionally engaging in post-coital pillow talk with the contents of the words slipping away into the endless eternity of dream, while a party is going in a nearby building. Whitehouse are very unfortunately misunderstood and unfairly maligned. Completely uncompromising, dedicated totally to an individual self-expression. I very much enjoy Whitehouse's records first thing in the morning. Wakes me right up and goes very well with a nice cup of tea.
Lautreamont wrote "Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It holds tight an author’s phrase, uses his expressions, eliminates a false idea, and replaces it with just the right idea." There may be no new words, but the permutations are endless. I think to not acknowledge that is to under-estimate the inventiveness and imagination of the human mind at its best. All sorts of influences filter in. Everything we experience gets filtered through our own vision and voice.

What sort of environment it is intended for / intended effect on the listener?

None in particular.

Without giving away too much about your techniques, what sort of equipment you use (e.g. computer, hardware, home made gear, circuit bent stuff etc.) do you use to make your sounds?

BC: Anything and everything that might work. A single particular piece of software, hardware or approach used in isolation and excessively is always going to have the problem of sounding very much like the technology itself; something done purely in ableton will tend to have an ableton sound, which is something I work hard to get away from. One of the problems about listening to music after having spent the last few years learning about production techniques, and in particular electronic equipment, is that one finds oneself inadvertently playing "spot the software / effect setting / synth / pre-set". I really think it's essential that music doesn't sound like completely like the technology used to create it, though this of course has less to do with acoustic elements and performance virtuousity and much more to do with purely electronic devices and methods.

So, there is a combination of all sorts of different techniques - anything from natural field recordings and modified tape recorders to granular sythesis and time stretching - and acoustic and electronic equipment together with a (hopefully!) keen sense of subtlety and inventiveness to make something that works as more than the sum of its parts.

King Tubby’s production and engineering is a massive influence on my own work. Spaceous. It's amazing how many bands these days use the most expensive studios, the most advanced equipment, and what they churn out is such bland junk. Inventiveness and imagination are more important than all the valve amps and pro tools.

Any memorable noise-related incidents/ interesting gig anecdotes?

BC: Playing live is always a pleasure. As with the recorded work, the approach varies with each occasion. Essentially I feel that any performance should be an attempt by the performer to enter an extra-ordinary state through expression, and success is generally a proportional value of how far the audience can be guided through a different state. Of course, responses may vary but even if the emotional experience for the spectator is different to that of the performer, then it can still be considered success. Being “onstage” is effectively entering an altered state, using ordinary methods to achieve extra-ordinary results, creating a “space” which the audience may be guided through.

Ritual – not in a dogmatic sense but rather the sequence of activities which informs behaviour with significance and meaning – is always integral. Preparation differs with every artist, and often its very difficult to explain. Certainly the cautionary adrenaline while builds up in anticipation of the moment of performance needs to be framed through idiosyncratic thought and behavioural processes. However, separating activities which may be altogether mundane outside of the greater context is not in itself revealing. What is of interest is that this highlights an invisible process. Consider an actor who has a short break during a play. They will stay in character during this off-stage interval, even though the audience is completely unaware of this, it however leads to a further creative efficiency. In a similar sense, the stage magician can seemingly make the impossible real, if they are good of course: no one wants to feel conned or to be made a fool of, but the sense of wonder and the spinning of thoughts is hugely exciting. The remarkable thing is that if the amazed spectator were to find out how the magic trick was actually achieved, they would most likely be deeply disappointed by how mundane the methods behind the extra-ordinary effect. When it comes to music and art, thankfully it is far more difficult to disillusion. Criticism comes close, however since it is a convention borne from the increasing attempted gentrification of creative expression, it can’t take away from the marvelous altered states one may experience at - or during - a particularly effective performance.

The principle aspect which attributes significance to any event is the “frame” in which it is placed, the context informs the content: a process taken to its logical conclusion in the more abstract forms of modern art. It stems from a universal cognitive phenomenon – “confirmation bias” – essentially we unconsciously select, distort, edit and organize our experience to support our own perception. While location and venue are fairly fixed things, I genuinely have faith in effective artists to transcend those boundaries. Have you ever had the experience of being so lost in a performance of music that you lost track of time, and the distractions around you just melted away? “Skill” is a misleading term. It’s what in linguistics is called a “nominalization”, which is where the designation of something that is actually a process is considered to be an object. Words like “happiness” and “motivation” are an example of this, as is “skill” or “ability”, people talk about them as if they are static objects, but they are in fact processes. Imagination and inventiveness are vital aspects of the skill process, and ones which can transform the most mundane elements into a genuinely transcendent experience.

Can you give us some info on upcoming gigs, web links, releases etc.

BC: At the moment, my primary live collaborator is the wonderful Suzanne Walsh, along with any of our talented friends who work with us at the time. I will be guesting with Martin Egan on the fifth of March.

Information on my projects and activities can be found at

The first releases to trickle out have been various collaborations. Currently available from is the double cd reissue of Steven Stapleton and Tony Wakeford's "Revenge of the Selfish Shellfish" which features a reworking of the entire original album by myself. It's a fantastic album which I am extremely proud and honoured to be a part of.

article: Ed
Square waves 6 (...lower and Corsano.....hello and welcome to square waves..)  by  SquareWaves

Really enjoying this new show by Square Waves Radio. Beautiful selection of folk, featuring the likes of James Bradshaw, Jack Rose & United Bible Studies. For full tracklisting & details, check here

Monday 28: VOid

Monday, February 15, 2010 , , , 0 comments

Back with another installment of the Monday series with a DJ mix from VOid. A firm favourite here at SSTN, VOid has played SSTN events in the past with his dubbier sounds as Prozac. Returning to his roots with this mix VOid delivers a bruising selection of our type of techno, full of intricate textures & driving bass. Quality selection.


1) Hive Mind - Cast Through Shallow Earth - No Fun Productions
2) ÿ - Unien Holvit - S‰hkˆ
3) Whitehouse - Told - Susan Lawly
4) Archae & Grovskopa - Emergence One - Emergence
5) DJ Jerry - Deeper Love (Toky Remix) - Be Records
6) Svreca - Eye (Version) - Semantica
7) TV - Prefecture - Tektite Recordings
8) Fishguard - Rubato - Sitcom
9) Various Artists - 9 (Autechre Remix) - FatCat
10) Ancient Methods - Second Method - Ancient Methods
11) Smear - Transect - FSG
12) Paul Bailey - Inormational Illusion- Rodz-Konez
13) Fran Hartnett - Alpha - Mantrap
14) Regis - Unreleased Projects - Regis Special Projects
15) Monrella - Tisdale - Zet
16) Steve Bicknell - Untitled - Cosmic
17) John Thomas - Vision (Aril Brikha Remix) - Logistic
18) Sebastian Kramer - Tomorrow - Pure Plastic
19) Oscar Mulero - Magenta - M11M
20) Brendan Ealey - The Mead - Inceptive
21) tvboy - - Tektite Recordings
22) 65D Mavericks - Whispers of my Beloved Surface

  Wrong Music Radio set 9-02-10  by  Ed Devane

Here's some noise soup I brewed up over the past few weeks, arranged in the last few days, and played on Sound Art Radio for The Wrong Music Show hosted by EbolaJudith Priest and Sorry.

The file they tried playing was corrupt somehow so it was a bit wobbly to begin with on the broadcast, but this is the original recording. The piece has a lot going on in it, so listening on headphones or at high volumes would be advised for best results. Sounds combine, collide, ebb, flow, stutter and distort in a constantly shifting soundscape that will make your mind wander, or else really annoy you!

Thanks to the Wrong radio crew for firstly asking me to do a set for them and secondly playing it on the radio, despite the technical difficulties...