Let's Hear It For The Noise

It'd be easy to paint L.A.'s Bob Bellerue and Adam Overton into a corner as members of the bohemian art set, clad in smocks and berets and a palette in hand. But you won't see paintbrushes in their hands. In fact, you'll never see their art, period. Bellerue and Overton are self-proclaimed "noise artists," and what they offer isn't your typical notion of "noise."

There are no pots or pans banging here, no cymbals crashing or whistles blaring. Instead, Bellerue -- a.k.a. "Bellerue/halfnormal," as he prefers -- will leap onstage armed with a laptop, mixer, amplifiers, several hand-held devices and a giant piece of metal suspended horizontally . . . to create music.

"People get it a lot more than you'd think," Bellerue/halfnormal says. "Some are like, 'Whoa, that was some weird shit,' but others really connect. There's a clamoring for alternative music. Sometimes when things become too predictable it gets frustrating."

Which means Bellerue/halfnormal likes to throw his audiences a curve once in a while -- like throwing some politics into the mix.

"I have political leanings with a lot of my work," Bellerue/halfnormal says. "I invoke the voices of various presidents in this piece that I'm bringing called ÔMaterial Spirits,' but I don't like to beat the political thing over the artistic or be known for my politics rather than the exquisite and extreme sounds that I make."

Bellerue/halfnormal tacked on the second half of his name because "it sounds better, it flows," he says. "Halfnormal" refers to a technical term used in recording studios as a way of connecting things together.

"I can't just be halfnormal," he says. "It would be a little like, 'I'm so weird and abnormal.' Like I should have a cape on, like a comic book superhero or something."

Overton, in contrast, relies less on technology to make his "noise," and more on meditation and the art of Zen. The computer programmer, who attends the California Institute of the Arts, spent nearly a decade playing drums in several rock and jazz bands. But within the close confines of the Trunk Space, Overton will find some breathing room.

"All I do is sit and breathe and let my body perform in its natural state of operation," Overton says. "Part of what I'm trying to get to is having people look and see and hear [his performance] without me having to explain."

Overton's venture into the "noise art" realm isn't as much of a stretch as some might think.

"I've always been doing experimental music," he says. "It's not that big of a departure."

Overton, who wants to build a lifelong career as a performance artist, will be traveling to China and Norway in November to perform. "Hopefully," he says, "this will be the beginning for me."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Erika Wurst