“I asked Jonathan Borges to let me write the following blurb. Although I think I said “press release” when I made the request, this will not be quite that. While these early Pedestrian Deposit tapes contain some of my favorite music ever made (and I would happily write a bunch of nice things about how they sound) what I actually want to do is contextualize what, I think, these specific recordings meant to the development of Harsh Noise. I recognize that this is not the way most people in our community talk or write about what we do, but the recent interest in archival CD releases has inspired me to endure all accusations of pretentiousness to try to explain, from my perspective, why certain recordings deserve their place in our canon.
The first Harsh Noise recordings and performances were not good. They were not bad either — taste is a bourgeois concern. What mattered was that they were disruptive, loud, invasive, unwanted, unmusical. To ask whether The New Blockaders, or The Haters were good was to miss the point. It would be like asking if Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) was on display because it was a particularly beautiful toilet. But as Harsh Noise grew, and as a younger generation began participating in its evolution, that generation, in a way, misunderstood. They listened, and heard beauty. They discovered that some sounds were, to their ears, better than others, and that some performers were good at making Noise. In a sense, this initial, inevitable misunderstanding began the process of re-musicalizing Harsh Noise.
A tension between noise and music animated the first inklings of the genre’s aestheticization. If people actually listened to these tapes for pleasure, was it still noise? Artists were making compositional choices in their work — does that mean it is music? Masami Akita — a person who is undoubtedly very good at making Noise — explained: “There is no difference between noise and music in my work. I have no idea what you term ‘music’ and ‘noise.’ It’s different depending on each person. If noise means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise to me.” Kazumoto Endo’s While You Were Out (1997) elaborated on Akita’s quote by using sampled Japanese Pop music intercut with the artist’s own blasts of distortion and feedback. The Pop music samples — collected refuse of an overstimulated culture, so abundant and invasive that it felt inescapable — became the “noise,” while Endo’s own contributions — thoughtfully composed, virtuosically performed, meticulously edited Harsh Noise — must have been the intended “music.”
Jonathan Borges, heavily-influenced by Endo, made the jump-cut — the jarring, unexpected edit between two unlike sounds — the defining compositional principle of his project Pedestrian Deposit. But unlike Endo’s playful multi-genre collage, which mocked Pop music and the cultural baggage that accompanied it, Pedestrian Deposit’s sonic language was built on juxtapositions between quiet/loud, pure/over-modulated, tonal/aperiodic. Utilizing elements of Harsh Noise, Power Electronics, Drone, Dark Ambient, and field recordings, Pedestrian Deposit’s palette remained consistently within established experimental music styles, and all of the sounds were authored by Borges, with equal amounts of care. The quiet parts were just as important to the composition as the loud parts. Their contrast was not a joke. Edits were not surprising in their absurdity, but revealed a continuity — a logical, stylistic through-line. By comparison, Endo’s cuts were like flipping channels on a television, while Borges’s were like a surprising event occurring within the movie you’re watching — a shocking twist, a sudden shift of emotion —masterfully calculated to surprise its audience, without betraying it. Pedestrian Deposit’s work was no longer about music versus noise — every part was music, and every part was, in some way, noisy.
Following the avant-garde art movements of the 1950s and 60s, the performative and conceptual Harsh Noise of the 1970s resisted all accepted markers of artistic value. This radical form created its own culture, out of which developed new modes of expression, in a sense, transforming itself into music. I have called this process “misunderstanding,” but it is this aspect that has inspired artists and listeners ever since. I have also called it “inevitable.” This particular trajectory is not the only path one could describe from Noise’s origins to today. Another possible route of re-musicalization centers The Rita, and the development of Harsh Noise Wall — a subgenre that, in my experience, inspired more passionate discussion about what noise actually sounded like than any other. But to my ears, these early Pedestrian Deposit recordings best illustrate this story of the genre’s development. Contemporary Noise is unthinkable to me without Borges’s contribution, without the equals sign his jump-cut installed between the pretty parts and the harsh parts.”
– William Hutson
1, 4, 11 and 17: Previously unreleased; 1: November – December 2000; 4: early 2002; 11: July 2003 ; 17: September 2003.
2-3: December 1999 – January 2001; Median C-8; Monorail, January 2001.
5-7: September 2001 – 2002; Anatomy Scum-Drum 3″ CD-r; Monorail, October 2002.
8: 2001 – 2003; Split card CD-r with Chrysalis; Cipher Productions, May 2003.
9-10: April – May 2003; Restraint C-10; Truculent Recordings 2nd Division, December 2003.
12: July 2003; Pedestrian Deposit Vs. Sewage Split CD-r with Sewage; Freckle Records, October 2003.
13: August 2003; Noisefest 2003 Commemorative Coaster CD-r compilation, Super Art Media, October 2003.
14: September – October 2003; Girl On Bicycle / La Mejor Banda De Ecuador, Sin Lugar A Dudas Split 7″ with Armenia; Dada Drumming, March 2004.
15-16: October – November 2003; Pedestrian Deposit / The Cherry Point Split C-20 with The Cherry Point; Troniks, December 2003.
18, 22: Previously unreleased; 1: September 2003; 5: March 2004; a remix of source material by Sewer Election.
19: February 2004; Woman / Evaporating card CD-r; PACrec / Troniks, March 2004.
21-22: February 2004; Look C-1; SRR, Waste Of Plastic Series, March 2004.
23: June 2004: The Cherry Point / Pedestrian Deposit Split C-20 with The Cherry Point; Troniks, July 2004.
24: 2003-04; Foreshadowing, Split C-20 with Oscillating Innards; Monorail, July 2004.
25: August 2004; Naked, Bruised C-10 compilation; Callow God, November 2005.
26: December 2004; Powdered Wigs / Pedestrian Deposit Split C-10 with Powdered Wigs; Hate State, October 2006.
27: Early 2005; Nitro Dragsters – A Tribute To OVMN And The Incapacitants 2xCD-r compilation; Militant Walls, October 2005.
28: 2004-05; Forlorn (Endless Longing) Split C-20 with Impregnable; Monorail, July 2005.
29-30: 2003-05; Come-Hither C-10; Monorail, July 2005.
31: August – October 2005; Ex-Jesus | Pedestrian Deposit Split C-10 with Ex-Jesus; Monorail, October 2005.
32-33: May 2005; Morose C-10, Callow God, July 2005.
34-35: May – June 2005; Eternal C-10, Hospital Productions, July 2005.
36: July 2005; L.A. Noisescape CD compilation; Bastardized, July 2006.
37: Late 2005; Love Interrupts: A Dada Drumming Sampler CD compilation; Dada Drumming, August 2006.
38-39: October 2005 – January 2006; Severance C-24; Monorail, September 2006.
40: March – April 2006; Maim / Pedestrian Deposit Split C-10 with Maim; Iatrogenesis, May 2006.
41: April 2006; Rare Youth 2xCD compilation; Rare Youth, October 2006.
42: April – May 2006; Privy Seals / Pedestrian Deposit Split C-10 with Privy Seals; Monorail, May 2006.
43: Previously unreleased; September 2006.
44: September 2006; Like A Frog In Winter LP + 7″ compilation; Hospital Productions, December 2008.
Remastered October 2020 at Lungmotor Studio. All tracks presented in chronological order by recording date.