Signal to Noise

Photos by Stephanie Noritz

Deep in the cold, still woods of western Massachusetts lies a breeding ground for talented young musicians unafraid to blur the boundaries that divide musical genres and push their creativity to the limit. This “hipster hot-bed” is hardly a new story. Since the mid-1980s, the remote area has bred bands like Sebadoh, who delivered their own strain of lo-fi indie rock; Cordelia’s Dad, with their infusion of Appalachian folk and hardcore punk; and, of course, Dinosaur Jr’s unique take on alternative noise-rock. This legacy of breaking musical boundaries has truly outdone itself with one Ender Arnold, known to a small but dedicated legion of fans as God’s Wisdom—a quiet, somewhat creepy torch-bearer for the region’s illustrious tradition of sonic invention.

Like the mammoth-sized religious monument from which he lifted his name (a 200-foot-long crucifix situated on a farm in nearby Barre, MA, that can be spotted from the air), God’s Wisdom makes a bold statement. Merging a metal background with an Internet rap twist and a Prince-like mystique, God’s isn’t just reinventing the wheel, but rather questioning the monotonous state of the music industry. The handful of releases on his SoundCloud page—tagged #Quasi- Spiritual, #Insane, #Honest, #Confused, and #Heavy—offer a completely fresh sound that even his most fervent listeners’ ears have yet to fully absorb. It’s a sound of honesty and experimentation that reflects his dedication to individuality, which comes across in tracks like his unexpected remix of Lil Wayne’s “I Feel Like Dying” wherein he admits, “I don’t believe in nothing; it’s too scary.

Aside from his 3-word bio—“Grandma was insane”—the initial inspiration for God’s Wisdom stems from a troubling time when he was dealing with both a sexual relationship with his high school teacher and the suicide of a close friend. He credits this combination of lust and loss as the catalyst that pushed him out of the background as a drummer in the metal trio Hellal, and into the role of solo performer. “At the time,” he explains, “I needed more ways to express what was going on.”

Pure expression is what God’s does best. He says and plays exactly what comes to his mind—rendering all notions of “filter” obsolete as the stream of consciousness flows. This river of randomness may cause him to be pigeon-holed as an Internet rapper, but it’s more accurate to say that Wisdom IS the Internet: A cluster of energy that’s capable of anything with no restrictions, an endless pit of inspiration (and sometimes desperation) to pull from. He is the type of character we want to see win, a true story of realism and creativity. Do yourselves a favor and listen to his full-length project, Goth— available on his Bandcamp page or via cassette on Pumpkin Slave Records—and get in touch with a higher power.


This story appears in Mass Appeal Issue 56, which is available for purchase here. Read more stories from the issue here.

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