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    White Noise – An Electric Storm

    White Noise - An Electric Storm.

    Founded in London, England in 1968, White Noise was initially an experimental electronic music trio comprised of Delia Derbyshire (a sound technician at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop who was best known for arranging the theme of the Doctor Who TV show), fellow BBC sound tech Brian Hodgson and American classical musician David Vorhaus. Their debut album, An Electric Storm, definitely lives up to its title, as seven short pop ditties—delivered with the help of three vocalists and a percussionist—are layered with early synth explorations and tape splicing / manipulation madness that contracts and expands all of these elements into a massive cloud of late night atmospherics.

    The album opens with “Love Without Sound,” a short slice of carnival pop filled to the brim with flitting electronics, delayed melodic singing, maniacal laughing and shimmering clicks. “My Game of Loving” pits a dry, plucking bass line against swirling electronics supported by a melodic synth—all of which eventually gets drowned out by tape loops of heavy breathing and moaning at an S&M orgy. The proceedings take a silly turn with “Here Come the Fleas,” a children’s song shot through with cartoon music, sound effects and fuzz organ—all backed up with some insanely detailed, hyper drumming. Boasting some melodic singing with spacey synth flourishes, “Firebird” is the most traditional sounding track, along with “Your Hidden Dreams,” which adds some echoing drum interludes and intense sonic swirls.

    Clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, the centerpiece of the album, “The Visitation,” beckons the listener into the void via a squadron of dark, swirling graveyard drones that get louder and louder until a screeching tire car crash morphs into a scintillating electronic drone and on into a girl’s piercing scream. Then we are shaken back and forth between patches of melodic singing, synth strings, and echoing voices—finally ending up in a desolate ambient section full of solemn muttering and weeping. The album closes out with “The Black Mass: An Electronic Storm in Hell”, in which a basso profundo singer is joined by drumming that is heavily effected with flange, reverb, and subtle electronic drones. Although this track was created as filler to pad out side two, it doesn’t sound like it; not to mention the feedback explosions, screaming, and thick droning clouds that fill it predate the industrial music of Throbbing Gristle by over a half decade. Although sales of An Electric Storm were initially disappointing, the album gained a considerable fan base over the decades as it passed from person to person by word of mouth–resulting in its current status as a legendary classic in the early development of electronic pop music.

    Label: Island Records Catalog Number: ILPS 9099 Format: LP Packaging: LP jacket Tracks: 10 Country: England Released: 1969 More: Discogs

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