Noise Matters

coffee table bookNoise Matters proposes a radical and controversial rethink of the concept of noise. Distancing itself from the critical orthodoxies forming in the burgeoning field of noise studies, Noise Matters argues that noise is not merely unpleasant or loud sound but, rather, indicative of the way in which being is expressed in a relational ontology. This approach takes noise far outside of the realm of the sonic and accordingly Noise Matters proposes new readings of the films of David Lynch, the photography of Thomas Ruff and the music of Merzbow, whilst drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Michel Serres, Julia Kristeva, Jean-Paul Sartre, Pierre Schaeffer and many more besides.


Hainge conducts a balancing act between the commonsense notions of noise that characterize many of his examples and the primordial Serrean notion of noise, but the balance gravitates fundamentally in favour of the latter: an exploration of noise as an opening towards multiple potentialities, the non-reductive, and the chaotic richness of matter(s) that meaning, closure and order tend to suppress. This balancing act, which fundamentally sways in the direction of a search for a primordial ontology of noise, is both impressive in its scope and intriguing in its complexity.

Arild Fetveit in Screen, 55.3, Autumn 2014.


While the theoretical jargon is occasionally daunting, the breadth of reference is impressive and, as much as anything else, the book is a useful demonstration for the neophyte of how rapidly the academic fields of sound studies, noise studies and experimental music studies have grown over the past decade. Hainge’s commanding oversight of these adjoining fields is striking.

Douglas Morrey in Modern and Contemporary France, 2014.


Hainge asks us to consider what noise is by considering what it is not. In so doing, he attempts to map the ontology of noise, arguably ending up with the positing of a new ontology of music. The originality of Hainge’s work is in its philosophical method. [… H]is disciplinary training equips him to make insightful incursions into the various philosophical arguments that coalesce around the operations of noise. He ranges widely, locating noise in sound, visual and audio-visual media, experimental music, existential literature, horror films, digital culture, noise music and, indeed, the textual medium of his book itself. He systematically unpacks noise to reveal its complexity, and its materiality in the virtual and actual worlds. Traversing many rich and wide-ranging topics, his book moves beyond the potential traps of falling into truisms, offering a highly nuanced reading of noise in all its materializations.

Sallary Macarthur in Musicology Australia, 35.2, 2013.

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