Paul Hegarty: Annihilating Noise (Bloomsbury, book)

Paul Hegarty is one of the most prominent writers in an academic field that could be dubbed noise studies. Annihilating Noise follows 2007’s groundbreaking Noise/Music: A History and comprises 16 essays that explore the implications of Vomir’s Harsh Wall Noise as much as they ask whether Black Noise exists, how female performers like Pharmakon or Puce Mary position themselves in a male-dominated field or what the sounds of elevators and breaking glass in two Joy Division tell us about British life at the onset of Thatcherism. Hegarty’s writing oscillates between the polemic and the philosophical, and is throughout marked by a curiosity for what noise is and where its aesthetic, social and political potentials lie. Not like Annihilating Noise provides easy answers to these questions, though.