Remember all those incredible stories you made up as a child? Remember all that time of mischief, of imagination transforming the world to your every whim? Most importantly, remember just how fun this time slightly out of time was? It was like a loose rhythm within a wider one made of weird-yet-natural rules, a time to eat, a time to sleep, a time to do whatever you wished: you were part of a flow of games, one after the other, a limitless adaptation to modernity’s strict envisioning of the passing of days. What is now imbued with the constant speed of schedules was then an entryway into the infinite, a relentless adventure never interrupted, an intuitive knowledge of the unknown. It was, in short, a whole lotta noise in comparison to the tight classical symphonies we live as adults, every contradiction tenuously resolved in one way or another by conventions we sometimes don’t even understand and give for granted. Back then, well, back then I just remember crying a lot.
What better story of childhood myth than one named Walking the Monkey, then? And what better way to express the desire without end, the will to alchemy that we all shared as children, than the utter explosiveness of the imagination that is electronic noise? Most of those sounds, after all, don’t exist anywhere else, just like our adventures. Austrian artist Billy Roisz has created such a work, a work of games and stories with names such as “Spinning in Ecstasy” and “Feeding the Monsters”; a fantastic logic underlines the constant sounds every track begins with, slowly and violently building upon them until nothing recognizable remains, like listening to a kid telling a story of his or her own, in the beginning always related to something we adults know but which is utterly de-contextualized soon enough, undermining most of what ties it to the “real world” we like to believe is truth. This is, of course, also a wider statement about music, and while Roisz isn’t the first or the last to make it (all those old-school noisters could tell you better, I’m sure), it’s made in an interesting enough manner to merit more than a few listens.
Another thing to consider when listening to Walking the Monkey is that it is actually Roisz’s debut, and that she comes from a visual arts background. The point is that the statement mentioned above is probably also about the way in which all those adventures involved noises and music of our own making (who has never imitated a sound with their own mouths?), granting our eyes a ‘closer look’ at how everything we imagined interacted, perhaps not as a reproduction of reality but ultimately as a reproduction of ourselves. Electronics are fitting here, if only because they are, traditionally, as far from ‘the real thing’ as any swooshing sound we might emit while moving our hands as a sort of special effect. An enhanced reality is a fantastic one, so to speak, a place where everything awaits transmutation at the hands of our every sense and desire. In this sense, noise is about twisting the rules of the game of music, and we all have a hand at such gaming every day of our lives in the use we give not only to our imagination but to our technology, like all of us who ‘soundtrack’ our public transport journeys every time we step out of home.
In the end, Walking the Monkey is a pretty fun album that presents lots of ideas for you to interpret as you see fit, and even if you just want to sit down and listen, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the ways in which the sounds transform seamlessly, creating all sorts of unexpected harmonics within seconds. Revive an adventure! (David Murrieta)