Cited by the late, great Frank Zappa as the piece that inspired him to become a musician, "Ionisation" by French noise-as-music pioneer Edgard Varese is a remarkable demonstration of the complex organization of subtle space and crashing percussive sound to form a propulsive work of art. Lend an ear to its unsettling cacophony and you can hear everyone from Stravinsky through Einsturzende Neubauten in the mix. One critic is widely reported to have characterized "Ionisation" as "a sock in the jaw." Zappa, meanwhile, claimed it was the first album he ever bought. Its liner notes (written by one Sidney Finkelstein) describe it this way:
[Ionisation] is built on a most sensitive handling and contrast of different kinds of percussive sounds. There are those indefinite in pitch, like the bass drum, snare drum, wood blocks, and cymbals; those of relatively definite musical pitch, such as the piano and chimes; those of continually moving pitch, like the sirens and 'lion's roar.' It is an example of 'spatial construction,' building up to a great complexity of interlocking 'planes' of rhythm and timbre, and then relaxing the tension with the slowing of rhythm, the entrance of the chimes, and the enlargement of the 'silences' between sounds. There are suggestions of the characteristic sounds of modern city life.
Personally speaking, as a curious novice in regards to the work of Varese, I'm intrigued by the jarring, ominous atmosphere of "Ionisation." To Finkelstein's point, it does indeed evoke the sounds of modern city life, but I'm not sure the city in question is a particularly pleasant place to live. According to Wikipedia, later in Varese's life, he was working on a piece called "L'Astronome," which evolved into a "futuristic drama of world catastrophe." Clearly, "easy listening" was not the French composer's primary concern.
It's fitting, then, that some cheeky chappy thought to re-imagine a snippet of "Ionisation" as the theme music to "Sex & the City," replacing the cloyingly cartoonish, pizzicato strings of the original with Varere's gaping maw of proto-industrial bedlam. Given how the influence of Carrie Bradshaw and her vile, vacuous, Manolo Blahnik-fixated ilk has basically recast Manhattan, I find Varese's sonic Hellscape to be far more appropriate to the proceedings.