The debut White Noise album featured Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, who had worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and David Vorhaus, who had studied classical orchestral bass playing and electronics. The instrumentation consisted of early electronic instruments and a huge amount of tape manipulation, the standard techniques of the Workshop in those days. The album originally released by Island Records in 1969 only emerged on CD - in a "matrix mixed" format - as late as 1996, again on Island, but was rapidly deleted.
- Love Without Sound [2:57]
- My Game Of Loving [3:38]
- Here Come The Fleas [2:31]
- Firebird [2:43]
- Your Hidden Dreams [4:25]
- The Visitations [11:45]
- The Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell [7:04]
B.A.S.E. = Bedini Audio Spacial Environment the 3D SoundBASE sound process frees the musical image from the phase constarinsts of conventional stereo, opening up the sound dimensionally and imparting a real sense of depth to the mix.
David Vorhaus - Production co-ordinator.
Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson - Electronic sound realisation.
Paul Lytton - Percussion.
John Whitman, Annie Bird, Val Shaw - Vocals.
I've just bought this on CD and I'm listening to The Visitations as I type.
The last time I heard this album was on a beach in Morocco in 1975. We played it to death then.
It's just as good now.
2012. Gilly / England
Heard the album for the first time in the late 1970's, absolutely loved it especially side 2 as it was unbelievably scary. We took a tape of it and a tape recorder once when myself and 2 friends went caving. It was pitch black about a 100 ft down with no sensation of movement and sound, we survived visitations but black mass only lasted about 30 seconds, there was no need of drugs to scare the hell out of ourselves.
I am now 55 and rediscovered it again and still love it and side 2 is still my favorite and am now scaring 50 pluses with this amazing album
2011. Chris / Australia
Awesome material. First heard in 1993 and still wondering about it.
Music of etheric beauty and darkness. Part of life changed by it like music been heard before gettin born!?Unknown waiting room music!
2002. Jacques Parent / Canada
The strange mix of harmony, symphonic, satanic, horror, and pop, is realy good. It's the best I ever heard. By the way they made another 2 cd's called White Noise 2 and White Noise 3.
2004. Wim / The Netherlands
An extraordinary mixture of 60's type light pop (Game of Loving), tongue-in-cheek "Here come the Fleas" and truly frightening second side (and I mean frightening! ). Nothing is simple here though. Even the so-called light stuff is infused with fabulously vivid melody/harmony. I bought this on vinyl back in the early '70's. I've yet to hear any of the subsequent albums. Get this album !
2003. Graham Butler / England
I am 18 and found this album yesterday (06/04/2003) in my parents record collection and was subsequently blown away at the complexity of the sounds coming from 1969.
But the most amazing thing was that the sounds were used seriously, with compassion and emotion, not the blatant cut-and-paste way of tacking any weird sounds into songs that happened all too often in the eighties. I did not think that synthesizers, etc. could produce any decent sounds until after the eighties, but thanks to Animals (Pink Floyd) and White Noise I have been re-inspired to explore the early days of electronic music, only natural as a NIN, Radiohead, Goldfrapp, etc fan.
If you like electronic music, find (if you can) this album, and the others, and just listen.
This album deserves respect.
2003. Kier / Australia
I just discovered this music and am knocked out by how fresh and powerful (and yes scary!) it is. I'd be tempted to say it's hard to imagine it's as old as it is except that there was lots of amazing electronic stuff going on at the time and before (Luciano Berio, Dick Raajmakers, Dick Hyman, Morton Subotnik, United States of America, Silver Apples, etc.).
On a side note -- anybody who likes this stuff may want to check out a somewhat more organic version of the kind of otherworldly psychodrama this represents -- "jazz" singer Patti Waters, who did 10-minute versions of jazz and folk standards that work your nerves hard as she whips herself into a frenzy of shrieks and howls (especially "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" -- unrecognizable).
Frightening and enthralling stuff that predates Diamanda Galas, Yoko Ono, etc.
Just thought I'd mention.
2005. Gary Morris / USA
It's an incredibly complex piece of production, especially when you consider the amount of labor that the manual cut and paste technique required, surpassed only by Perrey & Kingsley (in fact there is a very P+K moment in one of the songs, I can't remember which one, but it always made me wonder if it is a quick nod to the pioneers?).
2003. Jamie / Australia
One of my favorites this album, just like The United States Of America and Dick Hyman (Minotaur). I thought they made a second album or one before "An Electric Storm"!
I don't know the title but on the cover were goldfishes. I had this album on a taper but unfortunately I lost it.
Unbelievable that so many people remember WHITE NOISE.
2003. Peetje Koot / The Netherlands
I never heard anything like "an electric storm". It's mind blowing sound is something I've never expired before. I got this album in mid.80s and then I lost the album and I'm still angry to me about it.
An album you love or hate.
2003. Micke / Finland
I remember in my teens, me and my friends trying to deliberately freak ourselves out, by listening to 'The Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell' through headphones, sitting in a darkened room on acid.
No matter how many times we did this, someone was always sent running from the room, caught unawares by that first blood curdling scream! Priceless!!
2003. Simon / UK
Hello, I bought this album in 1973, and has always inspired me. I am a synthesist and multi-instrumental music seeker who has always searched off the beaten path for the true artists.
This is the REAL stuff, the pioneers of a new art form, which would later become a soundtrack for performance art i.e. Laurie Anderson, Blue Man Group, etc.
And when everything in life starts to seem really bleak, listen to "Here Come the Fleas" and take off eh?
2003. Les King / USA
Just remembered this album, did a web search and here it is.
Used to play this in the 70's with my mates after a heavy night's drinking session.
It used to freak me out totally and I'd start getting teenage head spins before rushing out into the garden to puke up in the geraniums....never failed......must try to buy it again.
2003. Wardy / UK
My dad bought this album in the early 70's. We had some late evenings where we were listening to each others music, and he put this great LP on... Ok, I was already interested in electronic music, but this was just great!!
I never listened to the complete B side of the LP though... I liked the jazzy songs, mixed with some complete "sample" madness.. I really couldn't imagine that this was made in the 60's.
(ok ok, I'm 24, I don't know anything really about the 60's, but still impressive :)
2003. Ilja Plutschouw / The Netherlands
Like some others who have written reviews about this album on this site, I never forgot listening to this as a teenager in Liverpool. The Album left an indelible impression on me.
It is extremely atmospheric and is the only thing I ever heard that actually gave aural substance to a feeling of `spookiness`. If anyone out there in e-land remembers the best independant Record shop Liverpool ever had - `Probe` - during the late seventies and early eighties, this is the sort of thing they would have blasting into the street to draw the punters in - fantastic!.
2004. Dominic. G / UK
This is one of those amazing records that came out in the musically, magical late 60's (I'm now 51) A classic album that only a few people know about.
I have no stories to tell of listening to it on acid, etc. just of being a music lover who discovered it because I was one of those people who was, and still is, a lover of the unusual as well as main stream music. I still have my 1968 vinyl copy. Now it has been released on CD I have just bought a copy. I also have White Noise 2 (on vinyl), which is nothing like An Electric Storm but still displays the creativeness of AES.
I would like to try and find a CD copy (hopefully) and also the third album either on vinyl and/or CD. Does anyone know if they are available on CD?
Spread the word about White Noise and AES or shall we just leave others to discover it the way we found it all those years ago, 'purely by chance'.
2004. Robin Ellwood / England
I'm only 24, sound man of an indie band here in Tel Aviv, I really never had that kind of experience... this is probably the best album ever. I can't believe that people don't learn that kind of music in university.
If there's someone who heard some thing like it ... ever please let me know.
2004. Tamir. S. / Israel
As I type this I am listening to "The Visitations" as I have just got the CD. Like some of your previous reviewers I had it on vinyl, but back then I was a Black Microdot (acid) user and was unable to listen to side two of the album.
I can still remember the good feelings brought on by the unusual sounds of side one but when it came to "The Visitations" & "The Black Mass" that was a different matter. The screams and sobbing mingling with dark sounds made for some very uncomfortable trips for my friends & I.
I was in my late teens then, but now as a 49 year old my pill popping days are over and I am able to enjoy the music for what it is - SUPERB.
Other artists I like in the electronic style are Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze but this album stands out as something very special.
A MUST HAVE.
2004. Steve / England
Picked up a copy of an electric storm in San Francisco three weeks ago.
On proper hi fi this record is actually really disturbing! Some of the sounds/voices really leap out of the mix and make you jump. Coming across a classic record like this, that I've never heard before, is why I collect records! What's really amazing though is that in those days a major record company would actually fund something like this and then release it.
Just goes to show what a mess the record industry is in these days. Check the phased drums on black mass an electric storm in hell MAAAAAN!!!
I cant believe people took acid and listened to this, I think I'd be a little too sensitive.......
2004. Ritchie Charlton / UK
It's difficult to become actually frightened by anything these days (we live in such post modern times), and I suppose the closest I came was via The Caretaker's "A stairway to the stars". This however is most definitely eerie in the sense that all the (decent) psychedelic fixation with childhood is. Not of that ilk, but it sure is ever so deranged, and even the twee moments dare you not to be a bit unnerved.
The method by which this was made is legendary enough, although the parts that are designed to freak don't quite do it, great as it is.
I'll try it in a different state of mind next time...Unmatched for sure.
2004. Sandie Smith / Scotland
One Saturday morning in the early 80s (in Northern Ireland), I was walking to my mate's flat. Just before I reached his house, his next door neighbour ran out looking wide-eyed and unslept clutching this LP. He pressed it into my hand and told me that, after tripping to side 2 the night before, he never wanted to see it again. I subsequently saw what he meant! Needless to say it became a test of mental strength among our crowd to listen to it on headphones in that condition.
It's still in my collection and I listened to it for the first time in almost 20 years.
Still gives me creeps!
2005. Karl / UK
Like many others I had a vinyl copy - in fact at different times I had two and both are sadly gone. It is, without doubt, the most disturbing music I have ever listened to but soooo addictive. Just listened to the clip on this site and can't wait to get another copy but would prefer to get it on vinyl again. CDs are fine but with something like this only the original format can really do it full justice.
I am ashamed to admit that I knew how unnerving the album was for many people and there were times when I put it on if I had unwanted visitors - they would exit before the first side was over. Cruel I know but I was young.....
The atmosphere and sounds produced were something I think would be hard to equal today even with all the technical equipment they have now. It still gives me the shivers just to think about it. Like many others I found it difficult to listen to the Visitation and could only rarely listen to Black Mass (and NEVER alone).
THE most awe inspiring album ever created.
2005. Dee / Eire
This album is an unbelievable classic from the late sixties from many listeners' point of view.
The sound signature is very dark and leaves a reliable understanding of just how powerful the physics of music can be. It leaves you to believe the sounds are unearthly and allows you to enter a temporary state of mechanic fixedness with...well, everything! In terms of physics involving sound and music, technically this album leaves a permanent vacuum of a genre as in there's no sound in a vacuum, but this album breaks that rule because this a one of a kind genre breaking album that creates and thrives in it's own vacuum of musical space.
It would be a tiny bit unfair to call this completely experimental because it was primarily supported by three visionary artists who created it through their own knowledge and scientific and mathematic smarts. In other words it is not truly that experimental considering this is a product from the imagination, which already creates the experimentation before the final idea is released to be used and processed. Meaning that this album was made with intentions and ideas BEFORE they were put to use, so even though the album sounds and is random, it really isn't totally because everything was more scientifically planned before put to use, rather than the usual lime light and improvisation most artists of the time used. In fact there are quite a few background messages in this album, it's easier to figure it out for yourself though, since this is about opinions and not documented fact. It was MADE to sound good, that's the point; most artists don't try hard enough to make the final product sound good, but HERE is a truly wonderful achievement of science and music (noise). Something this groundbreaking CAN'T and I repeat CAN'T come off the top of the head right away like hippy artists of the time used. In fact it is possible to tell that the guys were sort of making fun of hippy music, because they added their special sound effects to warp the musicality of the songs.
This album, in terms of physics, has very little musicality (softness and coherence of how it's improvised), but it's playful and intriguing noise was created with a "home-made" like feel. I personally believe the three people who supported it, helped out with the effects like this: Brian Hodgson - spacey/alien-like/echo/noisy/fresh; Delia Derbyshire - haunting/frightening/experience with electronic instruments/support for creation of electronics/noisy/fresh; David Vorhaus - cool/rhythm/musicality/light-heartedness/noisy/fresh (a new kind of originality).
So basically they were noisy and fresh (original) and into electronic music and instruments and playing them. That was based upon observations of their work, however flawed that may be.
The album is very mathematical and processed, which means mechanical energy was the main support for this album (tape splicing/quality "curve" or realism of sound/how to record it and what volumes/wavelengths/frequencies/speed/amplitude should be made, used, and mixed).
William / USA
Incredible to see how far and wide this album has touched and reached. I remember being introduced to this album by my boss at the time who ran a jazz restaurant. I wonder how they all are... I was 17 and I played it to many friends whilst stoned. Most couldn`t handle Side 2.
I still have the tape somewhere, copied from my boss`s lp 19 years ago. This alum reminds me of such a free and experimental time of my life. I must find it!!!!! You can`t listen to this recording and forget it. It will be etched somewhere in your brain forever...
2007. Rob / England
Just found it again on cd in hmv of all places! sounds as good 30 years later, such good songwriting. not too crazy about the last track but fleas, firebird and my game of loving are perfect examples of 60`s psychedelic pop.
2007. Art Lorigan / Ireland
Great ! I haven´t listen to it since many years because i lost it in germany at some crazy party ! So many memories from the time in Germany 1981-1995!
Have to get it again!
2007. Smörre / Sweden
This is one of my favorite albums. I was given a copy by a friend in about 1976 who no longer wanted it (her loss!), and have played it often ever since. Combines light pop (fire bird), humor (fleas), and sad melodies with real scary stuff. Stereo effects freaky, especially on headphones.
Side 2 is good if you want to feel depressed... seriously, I like 'The Visitation', 'Black Mass' is an aural Satanic onslaught, but play any of this side loud and the neighbors will worry what on earth's going on.
2007. Adrian / England
White Noise, the brainchild of Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus, was one of the first all-electronic groups ever, and contempories of the equally legendary Silver Apples. Their first and only true LP was one of the emerging Island Records early album releases and, along with Traffic, one of their first alternative signing (a distinct change from their blue beat fair). Whatever Island honcho Chris Blackwell saw in the demos of the sublime Firebird and symphonically psychedelic Love Without Sound (both used on the record) we shall never know, but he stumped up the cash for the pair to go back to their Kaleidophon Studio, situated opposite London psychedelic center The RoundHouse.
Derbyshire had set the ante for purely electronic pop with her seminal recording of the original Doctor Who theme. But White Noise, and their strange blend of the Medieval and Futuristic music was to become one of Island's early best sellers and a student favorite for decades.
An historical record for freaks and sound wizards. Wow, didn't hear it anymore since 1975. Hihi... this record with purple haze, orange sunshine and lsd is a experience i will never forget. My god, that was heavy....but i survived.
A combination that still can kill. Special thanks to Delia... my super space wonderwoman. Y'have a special place in my heart.
2010. Old hippy / The Netherlands