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Noise Records: How one label changed the face of an entire scene forever

Initially an unlikely candidate to start a metal label, Karl Walterbach founded Noise Records in 1983 and went on to change the course of music's history

In the unstable world of the music industry, instinct and intuition are invaluable commodities. When Karl Walterbach founded the legendary Noise Records back in 1983, he was undoubtedly using both. A diehard punk rock fan from Berlin, Karl didn’t even like heavy metal when he branched out from his earlier project, Modern Music: a prolific underground label primarily dedicated to German and US punk bands. Having started in the DIY scene, putting on shows in basements and squats in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, Karl had forged a strong relationship with US-based SST imprint and, through that, hardcore punk legends Black Flag, and it was through this international meeting of minds that Noise emerged.


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