“The Color of Noise” takes me back to a time where I was desperate to fill my Discman with the best of underground music. In a short span, I had gone from movie soundtracks to trying to find stuff that was far more underground than SubPop. Thus, began my obsession with Amphetamine Reptile Records and acts like Helmet and Mudhoney. Most of the other music fans I knew at the time were huge Melvins fans, but that sound never hit my ear just right.
What I didn’t know until the documentary was how small Haze XXL began things. The label started out of a grenade crate stored under his bunk while a Marine. From there, he littered music stores with the best alternative sounds that he curated in his Minneapolis home base. More than anything, the documentary captures the last golden era in American punk. A time where artists and underground mavericks could still exist, as the rising wave of technology threatened to saturate the world with new musical experience.
Throughout the documentary, I found myself wondering about people like Haze XXL and if they could exist now. Outside of the cult of the Internet Music Personality, modern audiences won’t have the patience for label head as cult celebrity. I like to think that I live in the obscure, but I never even bothered to research the guy until I got until the middle of a feud about Nashville Pussy vs. Nine Pound Hammer. While small business isn’t exciting to all in the artistic sense, it’s neat to see personalities like this get their say on the matter. Two hours wasn’t enough in the AmRep world and I want more.
The Blu-Ray comes with commentary, featurettes, My Town public access TV episode, full CBGB performances and some stuff held over from the Kickstarter as the special features. The audio track might be a lossy Dolby 5.1 mix, but it holds up. The 1080p transfer is perfect, even across all of the source material changes. In the end, it’s a recommended purchase for fans of that 90s alternative underground sound.
RELEASE DATE: 11/24/2015