Red Light Management

Noah Gundersen

noahgundersenmusic.com

Artist Bio

 

In America today, anyone can engage in spiritual surrender. Performing the rite is simple: one first gathers with their community in a room of mirrors (in peripheral vision these mirrors appear as windows). Next, the agendas, hopes, and grievances of each individual are written down and cast along pulsed radio frequencies to data centers. From here they are automatically sifted through a neural network of graphics processing units, and contributed to an artificial intelligence engine. The principal aim of the ritual is to preserve the cosmic movement of collective perception. Secondary aims include catharsis, prosperity, and (occasionally) procreation. Because of the persistence of social stresses and mounting political dread, the ritual’s cyclic performance is necessary (twice daily, once at dusk and once at dawn).

Paradoxically, even those who question the efficacy of this tradition must do so from within the same framework, in the form of status updates, tweets, or blog posts. In the early part of 2017 Noah wrote:

“This is our voice. The Aether. An invisible platform. A maze of wires and boxes safely containing our proclamations… While white men with pens close their doors, stuff their ears with cotton, and break the world… we piss in the ocean… we drown in white noise.”

(Once upon a time, Noah Gundersen poetically sang that the storms which make us tremble also “fill our organs up with air,”…allowing us to sing “honest songs”. What of our songs now? Are they just piss in the ocean? White Noise?)

A longtime fan responded via Facebook, referring to the entry as “a goddamn dumpster fire of a post”.

“Your early records are masterpieces,” he commented, “…but this scramble to be anything but what your parents are is killing your authenticity.”

Authenticity can be a fickle mistress it seems. Noah has been peddling sincerity and introspection in musical form for almost a decade; songs that give listeners a taste of the emotional nectar in the pit of another human’s gut. He’s been dredging up viscous fistfulls of his own being and shaping them into little waxen votives, candles meant to illuminate the territory between shameless confession and hopeless redemption, for all of the other twenty-somethings who’ve been groping around in that long existential shadow.

At some point this whole process must have lost its charm. It was two years ago that Noah, like some artistic ouroboros, began to sing the words Am I earning the right to live by looking in a mirror? Theres nothing more sincere than selfish art? The cyclic ritual of self-induced nausea, staring in the mirror mouth agape, waiting to wretch new words and sounds, was catching up with him. Not long after, in the early part of 2016, he sat down for a show and felt like he was dying.

“Instead of my life up to that point flashing before my eyes, it was my future. A future playing songs I didn’t believe in… pouring my soul out into a vehicle I no longer recognized or loved.”

Noah turned to a fellow songwriter, who shared this mote of reassurance from dancer and choreographer Martha Graham:

“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

This crisis was an opportunity for the serpent to relinquish hold of its own tail, for forward motion. To turn his gaze away from reflection, and maybe instead at the mirror itself, alternate voices and distorted perceptions that throw their weight onto the human psyche in powerful ways, but evade expression in introspective storytelling.

So, that’s White Noise, I think: the fluorescent glow of queer divine dissatisfaction. The distorted buzz manufactured by dumb metal phalluses thrust into a vacuum of waves and signals. It doesn’t dwell on (and in fact seems uninterested in) introspection. Not a guiding light. Not the reasoned problem-solving of the ego, but the muddled demands of the id. It’s a myriad of interpolated signals, symbols, and voices, like a tube-TV greedily flipping through channels on auto-program:

“Heavy Metals” is cosmic dismay that’s been pasted over with a sugary synth veneer. “Cocaine, Sex, and Alcohol (From a Basement in L.A.)”, like a messy public broadcast, leverages a din of drunken band sounds and disoriented muttering, “I’ve got all this alcoholdo you wanna see my show?”

The decadent yearning of “Bad Desire” sits between the other songs of dissolution like a soap opera broadcasting alongside the evening news. Just as Noah finishes crooning the final honey-sweet chorus, …and I wanna see you tonight, one last time,we transition into night sweats, the frantic yelling of sleep terrors, all heralding the cathartic industrial funeral dirge of “Wake Me Up, I’m Drowning”.

Noah is no longer lighting votives, but dumpster fires—big, bright, symbolic and chaotic. Musical vignettes of combustion, rubbish, degeneracy and, perhaps most comfortingly, warmth; because sometimes overlooked in the mad grasping for heady, introspective Authenticity is music that’s heartfelt. In “The Sound”, Noah scourges a source of entitlement that is entirely ambiguous, but does so with a sort of exasperated conviction that is only ever reserved for one’s nation, one’s God, or one’s self. The words How many times will you shit on what youre given? How many times till you shut up and listen?escape his throat with a desperation that (bafflingly) surpasses even his most vulnerable songs about heartbreak, addiction, or loss of faith.

Whether the voices he channels are symbolic or literal, paralyzed with fear or pushing a manic brand of salvation, each amounts to something laced with warm, ruddy veins (I have a feeling that Noah’s music always will). If you listen closely you’ll hear the spiritualist, who takes solace in the fact that when he’s gone, the water in his body may be the beginning of something new. There’s also the doomsayer, certain of his fate, but still so afraid, who can’t help but ask of his own violent trembling, “Are these my feet attempting to dance?” Then there’s mortality, trying to shout through all of the noise, “Send my love to everyone.”

White Noise was produced by Nate Yaccino and features long-time band-members and collaborators Abby Gundersen, Jonny Gundersen, and Micah Simler. It will be released into the Aether on September 22nd, 2017.

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Tour Dates

Sep 19 2019
Wild Buffalo House Of Music
Bellingham, WA
Sep 22 2019
Lucky You Lounge
Spokane, WA
Sep 24 2019
Neurolux Lounge
Boise, ID
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Sep 26 2019
The State Room
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 27 2019
Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO
Sep 28 2019
Washington's
Fort Collins, CO
Sep 30 2019
The Record Bar
Kansas City, MO
Oct 01 2019
Fine Line Music Cafe
Minneapolis, MN
Oct 02 2019
The Back Room @ Colectivo
Milwaukee, WI
Oct 04 2019
Lincoln Hall
Chicago, IL
Oct 05 2019
HI-FI Indy
Indianapolis, IN
Oct 06 2019
A&R Music Bar
Columbus, OH
Oct 08 2019
El Club
Detroit, MI
Oct 09 2019
The Opera House Toronto
Toronto, Canada
Oct 11 2019
Port City Music Hall
Portland, ME
Oct 12 2019
The Sinclair
Cambridge, MA
Oct 14 2019
Asbury Lanes
Asbury Park, NJ
Oct 15 2019
Underground Arts
Philadelphia, PA
Oct 16 2019
Black Cat
Washington, DC
Oct 17 2019
Music Hall Of Williamsburg - SOLD OUT
Brooklyn, NY
Oct 19 2019
Rex Theater
Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 20 2019
Richmond Music Hall
Richmond, VA
Oct 22 2019
Cat’s Cradle - Backroom
Carrboro, NC
Oct 23 2019
Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
Oct 25 2019
The Grey Eagle
Asheville, NC
Oct 26 2019
The Basement East
Nashville, TN
Oct 27 2019
Terminal West
Atlanta, GA
Oct 28 2019
Saturn
Birmingham, AL
Oct 30 2019
The Heights Theater
Houston, TX
Nov 01 2019
Antone's Nightclub
Austin, TX
Nov 02 2019
The Kessler Theater
Dallas, TX
Nov 03 2019
Common Grounds
Waco, TX
Nov 06 2019
The Crescent Ballroom
Phoenix, AZ
Nov 07 2019
Teragram Ballroom
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 08 2019
The Siren
Morro Bay, CA
Nov 09 2019
The Independent
San Francisco, CA
Nov 11 2019
Volcanic Theatre Pub
Bend, OR
Nov 12 2019
Wonder Ballroom
Portland, OR
Nov 15 2019
Hollywood Theatre
Vancouver, Canada
Nov 16 2019
The Showbox
Seattle, WA
Jan 16 2020
Union Chapel
London, United Kingdom
Jan 17 2020
The Deaf Institute
Manchester, United Kingdom
Jan 18 2020
Tron Theatre
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Jan 20 2020
The Fleece
Bristol, United Kingdom
Jan 22 2020
Paradiso Noord
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jan 23 2020
Artheater
Köln, Germany
Jan 24 2020
Tivoli Vredenburg
Utrecht, Netherlands
Jan 26 2020
Goldener Salon
Hamburg, Germany
Jan 27 2020
Hotel Cecil
København, Denmark
Jan 28 2020
Bryggarsalen Konferens, Event & Konsert
Stockholm, Sweden
Jan 29 2020
John Dee Live Club & pub
Oslo, Norway

News

04/27/2018

NPR PREMIERES NOAH GUNDERSEN & PHOEBE BRIDGERS VIDEO & SONG COLLABORATION

Phoebe Bridgers is an NPR Music favorite — she's already been one of our 2018 Slingshot artists and played a Tiny Desk concert — whose Stranger in the Alps was…

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09/22/2017

NOAH GUNDERSEN Debuts Third Studio LP White Noise Out Today On Cooking Vinyl America

Seattle’s NOAH GUNDERSEN has released his third studio LP White Noise on Cooking Vinyl America, now available worldwide on all major platforms and streaming services. Earlier this week, Gundersen shared…

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08/11/2017

NOAH GUNDERSEN Debuts New Track “Bad Desire” on Entertainment Weekly

NOAH GUNDERSEN continues to build anticipation for his third studio LP White Noise with the premiere of his new track “Bad Desire,” streaming now on Entertainment Weekly. “Bad Desire” is the newest song from White Noise, following…

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