Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

Peter J. Woods and the Noise of Samuel Beckett

Local Playwright/Noise Artist presents AN EXTREMELY LOUD SILENCE.

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Experimental noise artist and playwright Peter J. Woods is doing some frightfully interesting stuff. Has been doing so for quite some time. Experimental artists operating outside established university structures don’t often get a whole lot of respect, but Woods managed to get some level of success some time ago, particularly with a few experimental shorts he’d done. His short Systems was probably the most recognizable, having been staged both locally and at the Minnesota Fringe Festival some time ago. Since then, he’s been working largely in the realm of art noise.

Recently, Woods’ passions for noise and theatre have fused in an album he’s released online. It’s a tribute to Irish playwright Samuel Beckett—an exhaustive work with the title, An Extremely Loud Silence: Audio Renditions of Becket’s Dramas. It’s available for streaming online. Those unfamiliar with art noise should probably listen to a few tracks just to know what they’re in for. For the wrong person, this is 52.4 MB (about one hour) of auditory torture. For the right person, this is something more than that.

It’s exceedingly difficult to critique noise, which makes any description of the tracks in question kind of difficult. It’s good stuff if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. Beckett’s text in spoken word mixes with some very visceral sounds. The best way to experience it may be in an mp3 player cranked to full volume while you’re distracted by other things. Or maybe not. I’m not sure. I loved listening to it while doing laundry. It made shoveling snow feel a lot less unpleasant. There’s a visceral, exceedingly low-tech feel to the tracks that works pretty well. It’s staggeringly interesting stuff. Pleasantly disorientating in places. 

The three-track Beckett tribute, as well as Woods’ other albums are available on his website.

 

 

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