DoughBoi Fresh: Nouveau Music – “Noise Porn”

Pop Culture, Soundtrek, TGRI


“Hey now what’s that sound? That’s Noise Porn goin’ down…” Kendrick Daye and Art Nouveau graced me with their symphonic filth just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend. In the midst of the gratuitous shell, the substance is a bonafide indie homage to Pop musik – Noise Porn: because we couldn’t fit Bruises and Heartbreak from Sexy Cupid’s Sinfully Seductive Squeeze on an album cover.

Noise Porn is literal and an ironic lie. In the same way Pop can be artificial, as much as it can be authentic; Art Nouveau’s album captures the empty clamor of instantly gratifying words and sounds, as much as it does the soulful sonicscape of well-courted and even better crafted rhythms and lyrics.

Rahbi’s “What’s That Sound?” is so smooth that it’s scary. Her voice is treated as an instrument in and of itself, riding along with minimal indigenous tonal layers. The “Hey… now… what’s that sound… it’s the Noise Porn going down…” is sickeningly hypnotic as it lulls you into a catatonic state. What any avid aficionado will notice on first listen is the precise sampling on the record. The second track, “Noise Porn” opens with “Isn’t it romantic?” (isn’t porn always?) before dropping into a melange of 808s, metal guitar riffs and cymbals, antique vinyl-coated vocal samples, and string loops that would be no stranger to the Twilight Zone – thus is the “Noise.” Then there’s the bars: Koohl Cardi, Ben Carson, and Corinne Stevie lay down lines like rails. Cardi has a touch of Wale to his sound, Ben Carson’s licks stick to the brain like a neurosurgeon, and Corinne Stevie comes through like Gangsta Boo… pornographic. Really, every track on the album deserves its own review – with titles like “Grace Jones,” G.L.O.W.,” “Illuminate the Sky,” and “Twilight,” there is a deliberate Pop bent that makes this different than most other indie recordings.

“Holograms” delves further into the urban arcade place – meets WW3.0. The beat induces sonic seizures, and blends M.I.A. guerrilla overtones with Baltimore percolation and YMCK instrumentation. “#1 Fan” is a song that makes me rethink how great Wheelchair Jimmy’s best really was – and if she could compare to whoever caught KJ and Antonio Stapleton’s eyes. Robert Pattinson couldn’t do it, neither could Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, or Timbaland, but Art Nouveau made me appreciate Twilight. Ray Dolla$ serenades over sleeper synth with double-take, triple-interpretation verses like “She only like vampire sex, so I just come out at night; I am out for true blood, but she ain’t on her cycle. Guess she told me that so we could get it poppin’. When the clock strikes twelve, baby keep your glass slipper; I’ll be hiding like a ghost in a cloud of mad Swishers.”

“F*ck You, Pay Me” is the first single and, well, it is what it is. “Being broke is something that’ll drive a mofo crazy, that’s something I don’t stomach like adopting a baby,” et tu Bristol Palin? “And I’m a Crack sample, a product of the 80s; not a prostitute, but it’s ‘f*ck you, pay me.'” For the hat trick, “Don’t toy with my money, this ain’t play-dough.” Check, mate, and Clipse anyone?

This is Noise Porn. It is loud, gratuitous, dirty, grimy, glitter-greasy, instantly gratifying sounds pervading your eardrums. It’s addictive, visceral, low-budget, indie, garage glamorous. However it has that indie cred of basking in the bottom, but the Warholian Pop slant of making art out of whatever you have around you – the passion behind the piece transcends the price it took to make it. It is a NSFW soundtrack that has you sidetracked in the midst of billable hours at the office. It is pornographic. It’s so good it’s taboo, and it’s the sound of the underground. It’s what you fiend for and can only properly fix online. Noise Porn is just that, an album that is right below the mainstream, but can be a dirty secret. Yes the internet made “artists” out of tech-savvy narcissists with more swag than substance, and Art Nouveau knew that when they name-dropped MySpace and Facebook on the album. So, embrace the internet and let this noise go viral like 1 Night in Paris did – because that is Pop.

This album comes hard and says “I am going to violate you.” You agree because, well, with an intro like that why struggle against someone with said goal. So you back down and succumb. When it’s said, done, and done though, you thank it, ask for its number, and see if it’d be interested in recapping over brunch – because it’s Sunday and you just got taken to Church.

That said, this is anything but Noise Porn – this is Melodic Metasex. At a time when the music scene fell out of place, Art Nouveau took their time, put it back, does work, and gets right track by track. The concept, production, and execution on Noise Porn are to be lauded – it is a theme album through and through. It is a theme album in the way of The Fame where it has layers of concept and appeal. Art Nouveau courted this work, they un-porned the noise. They invited it in, had a few drinks, took it back, pillow talked with it, rolled around for a while, and had a cigarette with this album – they Kama Sutra-ed this piece. I invite you to do the same. Noise Porn reflects a culture that is hyperfocused on style and flash of Pop, so it appeases that crowd with hooks, riffs, and synth; but it has the authenticity of the indie crowd that makes good art – it’s the best of both worlds: Pop and culture. Genres? It’s got em by the layers, all different flavors: metal, rap, r&b, electronic, alternative, soul, and don’t even get started on sub-genres. The only genre missing is the genre it embodies the most: Pop. Art Nouveau’s Noise Porn is Atlanta Hipsters on the brink of doing to indie Pop, what Outkast did to hip hop a decade and some change ago – peace: up; A-Town: down like a clown Charlie Brown.

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