On the way back from the bathroom of a Turkish restaurant in Dalston, I encountered a very smartly produced pack of A6 postcards for the BBC Concert Orchestra. A couple days later I was handed a copy of a thin newspaper called The Centurion outside Boxpark in Shoreditch. The paper contextualised the music of the London Philarmonic Orchestra.
It took another few days or so of remarking on how similar the strategic goals of each project seemed to be, before it dawned on me that they were in fact coming from the same place: The Rest is Noise.
Music without a subtext can perhaps be considered guff of some sort or another, and in a commercial age where brand association is everything, most cultural output is as much defined by the audience as it is by the protagonist. Hence, to put it bluntly, to most people under the age of thirty, classical music is old people’s music.
According to the website, “The Rest is Noise is an exploration into how war, race, sex and politics shaped some of the most important music of the 20th century.” The campaign reflects an effort to take the BBC and the BBC Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Southbank out of tweeville, in order to appeal to an audience whose pants might sag and bra straps might show; or under thirty-fives in new money.
Each of the A6 postcards take soundwaves as a graphic cue. Designed by Studio Output, the varying colour palettes and carefully selected waveforms are a bold, visually intriguing interpretation of the music. The Centurion on the other hand, is both classic and contemporary, with a web presence to back up the well crafted lo-fi print format.
For all this to work, a little bit of branded swagger in the form of a bold statement is required. The The Rest Is Noise title reflects the no-nonsense tone of the available content that allows users to explore the History of Nationalism with Tony Benn, or Art of Fear: Music of oppression and war amongst other notable cultural tipping points.
Neither a ledge on a restaurant stairwell, or a cold street corner in the heart of East London could be considered a traditional spot to promote these institutional brand names. But this isn’t for a traditional audience. This is outreach ladies and gentlemen. The rest is just noise.