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Proto-electronic psychedelic strangeness from 1969...,
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This review is from: An Electric Storm (Audio CD)
I couldn't tell you much about The White Noise - though the sleevenotes to 'An Electric Storm' are more informative- I came to this record through the Delia Derbyshire-connection (Derbyshire, who sadly died a few years ago, was a pioneer most famous for her work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - recent documentary 'Alchemists of Sound' showed she was making music like Pink Floyd's 'On the Run' in the late 1950s/early 1960s). David Vorhaus, an American-born electronic-enthuasist, is the principal member of The White Noise...
Like the wonderful Silver Apples, The White Noise fused psychedelic elements with experimental electronic music- some of this may sound dated (like Joe Meek, like Silver Apples, like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, like United States of America), but it's always interesting. An album as odd as this you would be hard pressed to find - it certainly predicts such avant-delights as Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV & AR Kane, sometimes drifting across several genres...
'My Game of Loving' sounds like you imagined The Beach Boys' 'Smile' would, drifting off into a series of orgasmic moans amid drum clatter. It's probably worth buying for this alone- the snoring at the end and sampling would be picked up on by Pink Floyd for the silly 'Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast.'Here Come the Fleas' is a comic-slice of pop-oddness, an electronic pop-advance on Van Dyke Parks' 'Song Cycle' and a cacophony of looped-voices colliding...
Delia Derbyshire co-writes two tracks here, the opening 'Love Without Sound' & the fantastic 'Firebird' - the latter sounding not unlike Syd Barrett with strange-futuristic music, which like Silver Apples' 'Program' sounds like a dial of a radio being turned randomly (a history of popular music lurking in the background of a pop song?).
The album gets stranger following the electronic-chanson of 'Your Hidden Dreams' with the 11-minute-plus 'The Visitations' & the closing 'Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell.' These tracks are truly demented, and are multi-layered disturbances that predict the work of Throbbing Gristle - sinister avant noise, screams & moans - the last thing you want to hear alone in the darkness (though 'The Visitations' drifts off into strange fairground music, semi-classical & has prog-ish sounding drums). 'Black Mass...' is pure horror, sounding not unlike a cross between a Gregorian-choir and the sinister voices found in 'The Evil Dead.' Apparently influenced by Pink Floyd's 'A Saucerful of Secrets', it veers off into drum-clatter, alien-drones & the kind of moaning you'd expect to find in an Edgar Allen Poe short-story ('Premature Burial'). 'Black Mass' is one to truly test people and the kind of thing that should be looped with 'Metal Machine Music','Frankie Teardrop','Persuasion','The Cockfighter' & 'Flowers of Romance' if you want to clear the area...
'An Electric Storm' demonstrates how eclectic Island Records was - offering up artists as diverse as Traffic, The Slits, Nick Drake, John Cale, Richard Thompson, Bob Marley, Free, 10CC & Linton Kwesi Johnson. Anyone interested in the roots of electronic music should look here, and if there's an album of proto-electronic psychedelic strangeness from 1969 you want, this is IT!