UK-France duo The Noise Who Runs** **presents ‘Tune Out, Turn Off, Drop In’, their second single from the forthcoming ‘Come and Join the Beautiful Army’ EP. Sound almost familiar? This is a majestic, thumping piece of raw synth-pop, all fat chunky beats and circling keyboards with a thudding, insistent bass, inspired by the 1960s mantra that defined the Hippie counterculture espoused by Timothy Leary – “tune in, turn on, drop out”.
The Noise Who Runs is the brainchild of songwriter Ian Pickering** (of Sneaker Pimps and Front Line Assembly), who also co-authored such hits as ‘Spin Spin Sugar’, ‘6 Underground’** and ‘Tesko Suicide’. Upon relocating from northern England to France, Pickering launched this project with Brazilian-French guitarist** Felipe Goes.**
As with the first single ‘One Scratch Each’, ‘Tune Out, Turn Off, Drop In’ – the mirror opposite of Leary’s statement – continues the more stripped-down sound both musically and lyrically. Felipe Goes’ guitars create a disenchanting counterpoint to the overall electronic charge, while Ian Pickering’s lyrics are loaded with a sense of contradiction, confusion, and straddling the line between sharp cynicism and optimistic critique.
Felipe Goes says, “With all these songs, it seemed better not to try and force it, and with ‘Tune Out’ it was quite complete but lacked something unnerving and off-centre, so the guitars needed to be almost imperceptible as guitars, but somehow add another layer of meaning or interpretation to the feel – something slightly jarring and disorientating. They’re coming from the exact opposite of a rock approach, more just able to change and confuse certain parts of the overall mood of the keyboards, rather than dictating and overpowering the sound.”
The guitars are used sparingly but specifically to highlight certain points in the lyrics and to lift the music when it’s needed. ‘Tune Out, Turn Off, Drop In’ is just over four minutes but has the vibe of a much shorter pop song you’d want on constant repeat. Lyrically, the song is an update of the original 60s slogan nearly 60 years on, possibly refuting it completely, indicating the appropriation of the counterculture to result in the polar opposite of what was originally envisaged.
“Of course it failed on the most utopian level but it’s undeniable that without the upheaval and countercultures of the 60s, there wouldn’t be that liberation of behaviour and mentality that seemed stuck in the hypocrisy of the Victorian age. It strikes me as a total rejection of a tired establishment and that sense of respectability on the surface, keeping up appearances, toeing the line, doing as you’re told, obedience to the values of your elders and so-called betters,” says Ian Pickering.
“But equally the overarching idea of the original phrase seems to be that introspection and dropping out of mainstream consumer culture would offer the solutions. And maybe they would have. But, as with any counterculture, once it’s been identified by the establishment, they take back the hard yards you’ve struggled to gain and they take back more than they ever relinquished and beef up the fortress around it so it can’t happen again. And then they get the marketing and advertising people on the case and sell it back to you with a cheap cover-all, shortcut to thinking logo and slogan.”
The lyrics for ‘Tune Out, Turn Off, Drop In’ are relatively sparse and simple with repeated phrases, a result of wanting to keep them in line with the ‘pop’ ethic of the song as a whole.
“All this social commentary stuff is Ian’s field of expertise. I don’t like thinking about the world. In fact, I don’t think I like thinking. Thinking is for smart people which I’m not: I’m a salesman by day and a musician in the evening. Thinking about the world we live in only serves to make us sad or angry,” says Felipe Goes.
Pickering adds, “I’m not sure it’s my field of expertise. Maybe my field of Hippie dreams. If we build it, they will come.”
The full ‘Come and Join The Beautiful Army’ EP was mixed and mastered by Colin C at The Cell Studio, whose clients include CBS, FOX, NBC / Universal, Showtime, HBO and Lionsgate Films and such artists as Front Line Assembly and Danny Saber (Black Grape, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Madonna).
As of November 8, ‘Tune Out, Turn Off, Drop In’ will be available across fine music platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, where this and the** **‘Preteretrospective’ album can be obtained directly from the artist.