The Noise of Madmen

Current 391 recordings

The members of 391 have their grounding in the visual arts, and have always brought these sensibilities to bear when working in the medium of sound, rather than employing any sort of "musical theory". They have described their approach as being a blending of Marcel Duchamp's technique of using "readymade" objects with Salvador Dalí's "paranoiac-critical" method of developing several concepts simultaneously. In the 1980s, this meant collecting lo-fi cassette recordings from radio, television etc. (391 termed these bruits trouvés, or "found noises") and fiddling about with razor blades, splicing tape and metre-long loops of ¼-inch recording tape. The recent rebirth of 391 into a world of software sequencers, digital recorders, MIDI and the Internet has led to the development of their sonic vision to an infinite degree.

All 391's auditory artefacts are free of copyright (although their liberal use of bruits trouvés no doubt infringes on countless other copyrights) and are distributed in line with the Free Music principle (i.e. any money charged is only to defray the production costs of the medium - no profit is made).
Mark has written in detail on the Instant Automatons' website about his belief in the concept of Free Music, and has taken pains to point out that it is his personal view. Hocknell, on the other hand, is quite forthright in his views and has no qualms in expressing them. On the currently hot topic of music downloading, for example, he has written:

"The petit bourgeois lawyers and lackeys of the record industry will always be worried that money is somehow leaking away from their already over-stuffed wallets. First they blamed cassettes, then CD-Rs, now the Internet. Tomorrow there will be a new bugbear. Artists should not concern themselves with such matters: the role of the artist is to be a channel for the creative force of the universe - if you want to grub for money, go and work in a factory."

Currently available 391 recordings are:

On Carey Street

The Director's Cut

Notes From Underground

Light Mass Prayers

Horseshoe Point

O Jesus, Make It Stop!


Kisses Won't Save You Now

Puirt à beul

Figures In A Landscape

Radio Free Scunthorpe

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

The Experience Machine

Fun, Fantasy, Confusion & Catastrophe