Archived Story

The sound of noise

Published 6:01am Sunday, September 8, 2013
William Bjorndal and Gary Meyer, as Radarange and Amnia Culpa, under the name “Nam_Dem.”  Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com
William Bjorndal and Gary Meyer, as Radarange and Amnia Culpa, under the name “Nam_Dem.”
Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

While many high schoolers join garage bands or perform music at school, two Austin High School seniors took a different musical tack last month.

William Bjorndal and Gary Meyer transformed their passion for noise music, a type of consistently loud, continuous music made from everyday noise and musical distortions, into a performance at the Electric Lair in Austin on Aug. 24.

“A lot of people wouldn’t think that noise could be music,” Bjorndal said. “We use traditional instruments, we use guitars and drums, but we utlize computers, samplers and a lot of samplers and loops. We’ll work with noise, but we create music out of noise.”

Gary Meyer, left, and William Bjorndal prepare for their experimental noise show at the Electric Lair on Aug. 24. The duo formed the band Nam_Dem to explore the Noise genre of music. Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com
Gary Meyer, left, and William Bjorndal prepare for their experimental noise show at the Electric Lair on Aug. 24. The duo formed the band Nam_Dem to explore the Noise genre of music. Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

Bjorndal joined with Meyer as the two-person collective Nam_Dem, creating alter egos, costumes and a cavalcade of musical and visual elements for their show. Bjorndal said the duo formed after they played together in a large-scale band for years, and decided they wanted to incorporate their ideas into a smaller show.

The 45-minute set on Aug. 24 consisted of plenty of visual effects displayed on a small screen above the group, along with little light, a room filled with smoke, popcorn popping in a microwave, and various helpers throwing black balloons about.

“It’s fun to just try something totally out there and do it completely different, and to do your own thing, to get rid of traditional structures and just go nuts,” Bjorndal said. “It’s completely wild.”


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