Rhythmic Noise is a form of Industrial music and a fusion of Noise with various styles of Electronic dance music. Rhythmic Noise, aka power noise, should not be confused with Power Electronics, which is not influenced by Electronic dance music and is closer to harsh Noise. Its origins are predominantly European.
Rhythmic Noise takes inspiration from a number of Industrial artists. Some of the most influential include Esplendor Geométrico from Spain, active since 1980, and Le Syndicat from France, active since 1982. The Belgian artist Dive also anticipated the style in the early 90s and went on to also form a purely Rhythmic Noise parallel project, Sonar, in the mid-90s. Some releases on the harder and harsher end of the Techno spectrum have also been influential such as the early EPs by Aphex Twin. EBM music (also known as Industrial dance music) and electro-Industrial music styles have also been big influences on the style's development.
The synonymous term "power noise" was coined by Raoul Roucka of Noisex in 1997, with the track "United (Power Noise Movement)".
The genre gained larger exposure to the U.S. industrial scene by the electro-Industrial act Wumpscut, who signed Noisex to the label Mental Ulcer Forges.
Some other notable Rhythmic Noise artists operating around that time included Imminent Starvation, P·A·L, Sonar, Winterkälte, and various projects from members of Ars Moriendi.
Some notable Rhythmic Noise artists that emerged during the turn of the century include Converter, Antigen Shift, Iszoloscope, Mono No Aware and Terrorfakt.
The two most prominent labels known for Rhythmic Noise are Ant-Zen and Hand Productions. Both labels starting focusing more on releasing Rhythmic Noise during the late 90s.
There have often been very similar sounds coming from the harder, harsher or more experimental areas of the Techno spectrum which, at times, has been embraced by those into Rhythmic Noise. Examples of this such would be late 90s/Y2K era Speedy J, or releases on labels like Uncivilized World or Zhark Recordings. However, since these scenes were somewhat insulated from each other, they often didn't use the same style descriptions.
DJ and Techno producer Adam X started trying to bridge the gap between these scenes around the year 2000.
Some artists producing harder, harsher, or more experimental sounds in other styles, such as Drum n Bass artist Panacea, have crossed over and have also been an influence in the style's development.
Typically, Rhythmic Noise is instrumental, based upon distorted sounds with distorted drums and other distorted percussive sounds often being the primary focus. Sometimes a melodic component is added, but this is usually secondary to the rhythm. Rhythmic Noise tracks are typically structured and danceable, but are occasionally more abstract and experimental. The genre is showcased at the annual Maschinenfest festival in Oberhausen, Germany, as well a number of other festivals.
Some groups, such as Combichrist and Dulce Liquido, merge Rhythmic Noise along with aggrotech (an EBM/electro-Industrial style) or even merge Rhythmic Noise with more commercial dance styles. Others, such as Tarmvred, meld the style with Breakcore. Others still, merge elements of IDM, such as Endif.
The 2010s has seen a resurgence of the harder, harsher and more experimental sounds in Techno which crosses over a lot with the sounds of Rhythmic Noise, although this is usually just known as industrial Techno, instead of Rhythmic Noise (or power noise or noize) because people in these two scenes were often unaware of each other's music.
However, the Techno artist Ancient Methods (one of the artists responsible for the resurgence of industrial Techno), sampled Rhythmic Noise artist P·A·L's track Gelöbnis on their second release from 2008, and Ancient Methods later released some music on Hands Productions which is one of the first labels that started heavily pushing the Rhythmic Noise sound back in the 90s.
An example of an artist that was once known more primarily in the Rhythmic Noise scene and is now well-known within the Techno scene would be Orphx.
Ancient Methods and Orphx have also collaborated together under the name Eschaton with releases on the Techno label, Token.
Newer artists such as Ontal and Tomohiko Sagae have been releasing music on both Techno labels and Rhythmic Noise labels.
There has also been and continues to be crossovers within other sounds and scenes such as the Breakcore and IDM scenes.