A Moment In Time: Brian Hill and the Noh Starrs
By Brian Hill and The Noh Starrs
Inspired by no-wave ancestry, New York's Brian Hill, released his self-titled debut album August 18th, 2017 along with his band the Noh Starrs. Serving as a marker for this moment in time, Brian and his group took photos and collected newspaper clippings from the week of their release. Side by side, these mediums speak to one another, the experiential aura of the group, the album, and the time in which we live. Take it as you will.
"The story begins with its characters already in motion; "I'm you from the future" he says, and he sees the future - increasingly removed "Decision time is approaching." The heart of Los Angeles is huge. "There's an urgency now.” The room fell quiet. “Silence is complicity.” He told the audience, journalists, analysts, and Hollywood agents. “Test your limits.” Ultimately, such idealism could never work on stage. "See, nothing you've done has been a loss.” Excited gasping, enthusiastic and searing. “Love is worth the effort." he had sent shockwaves through the room full of California tea.
It's pretty hard to spring a surprise on audiences these days, when I start focusing between this motif, that language, I wonder; “Still he finds hope” a bit of objectivity will help. “I didn't think I'd ever feel this way in the United States” I said aloud drowned out by the sound as I felt the shift from lost to found. "It's surreal.." he said as the night sky could be seen through the hanging wires and ripped steel. Earlier that day the moon had positioned itself between the sun and the earth, for the first time since 1979, the United States had experienced a solar eclipse. Now, cookie cutters in celestial shapes project the orange hue from streetlights on the walls. In some ways, Los Angeles was a militarized town, battered and paint peeling urban walls shout “CHOOSE THE OFFER THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!” wings painted outside the building are the only indication something is different. It's intense, especially if you’re waiting to be let in.
It was August 18th 2017; schools were overcrowded, and the American President was offering a defense of white supremacists. Context, he and others explained, could include “many sides” some “very fine people.”
Crash! He's at it again, a reverse image swept up in the emotion of the moment. A mythology surrounds him, the cinematographers set in 1970s New York City, the script dispenses with backstory, with time altogether for that matter. Art-world snobs are shooting in 35mm, much like the gun you can't show in the first act without firing in the third, your brain fills in the blanks. And New York City is in Peril,
humid hometown where the dark leaves hang heavy in the trees like clumps of grapes. Image is a problem. Details are lost. Disaster looms. Some parallel 70s New York, a different kind of poverty, his voice interrupts my thought ”I wanted people to understand where that comes from." a rhetorical force never paints itself into one interpretation. But you're not talking about a person. You're talking about ideas.
This is as far as my mind goes on that night, I fell from up high into a joyous blackout of thought spiraling through endless constellations of inspiration hitting some of the neuron-glowing stars on the way downward. At least, I thought it was down, I’m not sure which was I was going or where, though I know every street of my hometown like the backyard of my hand.
When I finally did fall asleep I thought I was flying. It was a long flight and when I finally landed I dreamt I was standing outside a theater, the sun blocked out 70% of the face of a man with the military
boot on his neck, he looks up and says “Maybe you should wait as long as you can to learn.” A painting of New York is hanging in the box office; the long lines, the difficulties, the tribal gatherings, the noise, the love love love, he had a beautiful life. I wake alarmed (7:26am) already writing down my hopes and dreams, I didn’t know it then but I would move to The Center Of The Universe in two years time."
- EXCERPT TEXT FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
"The announcement appeared shortly after noon the next day; a push notification: (I had chosen that notification tone because it reminded me of an obscure German record I loved. Now that I think of it, I believe the singer was British.)"
- WEATHER: Sunshine. L.A. Basin 77/62. New Moon.
"The singer of the years biggest sound produced, being one of the top writers in the business section, has signed a multi-year deal to channel the myriad with the streaming service. Unlike Mozart, he wasn't the first, a routine performance. The trendy, digital culture that it's new buys, the pots of money ooze. Bugs Bunny numbers. The nation was riveted, the article said, by the pending arrival. “No generation has been as culturally integrated as this one. "How much more do you need?"
He asked when he signed. An act that might have seemed pretentious. He told the audience gathered at 7000 Hollywood Blvd. for the press briefing, who saw the move as a sellout to the corporate machine, “Andy Warhol understood the double-edged media dynamic.” Smart and addictive. “Some of the images were genuine, others failed a basic check.” he was speaking hurriedly, “Occasionally some of the conspirators, micro computer chip receiver-in-ear-canal, realize how much talent there is out there.” Now onto the fun. The water won't make you high, but it will make you feel like you're 18 again. Drink up while you can world.”
As I looked at my phone, it's still unclear why I shed a little tear when I deleted the app, I felt like I was breaking up with someone. After that he had had a string of television appearances, I felt a disappointment to see that mainstream blitz. In an interview focused on how he developed his distinguished sound, he naively pondered the idea; ”My natural physical life is one of constant movement, my hands are never still." or was it a script "When this giving cycle is complete." It is the kind of television deal that gets Hollywood talking. “Understand, the gloves are off..” the Miss America bristling jumble of microphones, “That look on your face." He told the client. "That's why I do this." In his sketch of real life, “civilization is a condition for the downfall of civilization.” The roles make sense to me, I was always drawn to the outsider. “Great works of art are set in the heart..” a sound-byte which the Associated Press analysis later found particularly attractive as well as suburban mothers and fathers who would have loved the music he was referencing had the world been connected enough by the mid-eighties for the press releases to have targeted them.
Later, sitting on the hood of my car, we took in the view. HOLLYWOOD. ”This is not the typical star” I said, we we're all in agreement, likening him to Cleopatra or Heavens Gate, some eschaton feeling, my mind lapsed “Blood, real blood.” Just then, John looked over at me his pupils so wide I could see the black hole in his his eyes straight through to his 27th dimension brain ”And that's probably an understatement" he said. "Maybe no one male or female, speaks to kids of the post-apocalyptic world service.” his mind swirling like all the drought water in 10,000 automated washing machines across the San Bernardino valley, alone under neon lights. "If you don't know what can or can't be done, you'll be creatively free.” his presence like a flower girl in love with your attitude. A win for the madman theory.
Bustling Grand Central Market, 88/71 up from yesterday, I was becoming tan and I hated it. The country's corporate elite decided they had had enough. Leaders of consumer brands expressed concern about how their images could be tarnished. This dangerous cult will do anything to achieve immortality. Fascinating and chillingly provocative, people are complicated and don't always do the right thing. At the cafe on the far end, a man was on his tablet, a website shows people who share genetics with you, “Doves DNA can be seen..” I spy. “it’s left s lot of room for confusion..” The lack of financial and creative control. People were noticeably irritated. The use of informants in the rebirths of major American cities.
At the metro rail, as passengers walked between the two silver columns, short-wave radio frequencies scanned their bodies and sent the data to a computer system that searched for patterns that suggest signs of obsession or depression. Businessmen in pastel pique high on all medications FDA approved, no surgery involved, rubbed elbows with hipsters wearing Jesus sandals advertising marijuana vacation getaways and Spanish speaking day laborers who seemed to be enjoying the weather. The device includes facial recognition technology, which can prompt privacy concerns. I had read that a recent economic study by the state estimates the technology would probably be held in reserve. What's most remarkable, it was only a few months ago. Perhaps, the circulation of false images and information on social media.
I walk to the Bradbury Building to get away from it all; there is some commotion, a photoshoot, a streak of blue, on-camera flash, ”Nice to meet you." I say “Your reputation precedes you.” interrupted “No time to talk babe.” A fast no information written down exchange. His hands were moving so fast that they appeared blurred on the video screens. Memory serves, we agree to see each other again, no when. The best things go unsaid.
The soft orange light of the Sunday early morning sun filtered through the old church's stain glasses windows while Nazis parading down the streets of the United States acted like they were taking over. Occasionally there will be a flashback to the planning stages. Surrealism was a movement now, front and center in high end luxury homes in ways once reserved for fine art or rare books. It's not just Hollywood, none of this sits well with socially conscious millennials. My mind was wandering again. It seemed like forever. It seemed like forever and a day, yet it had only been ... A popup notification, (I had chosen that notification tone because it reminded me of an obscure German record I loved. Now that I think of it, I believe the singer was British.)
We hiked to the waterfall, we talked about everything as nothing while we were walking. ”Yes I'm a girl, a girl who understands that characters can be anything." I said. "Leaving is the hardest thing I have to do but when I get there I'll be able to see them whenever I want.” He said. “Conscience is a man's compass” I called him on it; "That is a really stupid metaphor." We came to a picnic table, we stopped there, holding each other in that table gaze I noticed some words carved in the wood knife slashes carefully placed in-between each line, probably some graphic design student-body-student-mind, read:
“If your still stuck / with photographs that sing / as stock tickers tock / electrocardiography ping / heart beats maybe worth less / keeping track of expense / but as it is your king is value / you are the only one counting / we are an agency, the American dream.”
It was his “last day” in Los Angeles, the hot Santa Ana winds had pushed the smog out to sea again, in the distance the sun reflected off the polished glass of the skyscrapers in the financial district. The muscular colors, the supply chain, I don't know the answer, as clearly, there is no one answer. "You know what your best at, right?” I asked "Writing down my hopes and dreams?” he seemed to be asking as well. The sun went down and we were forced to make our way back, like tourist who flock to the city.. my words crystalize in that moment where they still are today; 'Love is worth the effort.' "