White Noise

White Noise [Special]

White Noise is an experimental electronic music band formed in London, England in 1969 by American-born David Vorhaus, a classical bass player with a background in both physics and electronic engineering. He was initially joined by BBC Radiophonic Workshop composers Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, both ex of electronic music project Unit Delta Plus.

In 1969. White Noise released the groundbreaking album An Electric Storm on Island Records. The album was created using a variety of tape manipulation techniques, and is notable for its early use of the first British synthesizer, the EMS Synthi VCS3. Amongst many oddities, the first track on the album Love Without Sound employed sped-up tape edits of Vorhaus playing the double bass to create violin and cello sounds. 'I use voices a lot too, but not as conventional vocals. I always use a lot of voices, and if somebody having an orgasm in the background is used as part of one of the waveforms, it makes the sound more interesting, without the listener actually knowing what they're hearing.' Interview with David Vorhaus

Although not initially commercially successful for Island, it has over the years proved to be a cult classic, going on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, namechecked by such contemporary artists as The Orb and Julian Cope, influencing contemporary acts such as Broadcast, Add N to (X), and Secret Chiefs 3. A brief extract from An Electric Storm can be heard in the Hammer Film Productions film Dracula AD 1972.

White Noise II-III

Following the departure of Derbyshire and Hodgson, to pursue other projects, Vorhaus released a second album, the largely instrumental White Noise II - Concerto for Synthesizer on Virgin Records in 1974. Typically dark in atmosphere, it was recorded in his own studio in Camden, North London. The album further utilized the EMS VCS3, as well as prototype sequencers.

A third album, the single track 'space fantasy' White Noise III - Re-Entry was released by Pulse Records in 1980. By this time the instrumentation had expanded to include synthesizers and a drum machine.

Drummer Ermanno Ghisio Erba a.k.a Dino Ferari also contributed to therecordings. White Noise IV-V A further two albums were released, the atmospheric White Noise IV - Inferno (AMP Music) (1990), which incorporated use of samples, and White Noise V - Sound Mind (AMP Music; 2000), an experiment in what Vorhaus calls Dark Ambient: 'It means I won't be getting on Top Of The Pops, but I felt the category was broad enough that I could redefine it in ways that I couldn't redefine other genres, such as country and western - much as I'd like to! There's a lot of scope for experimentation and on one track, 'Dark Matter', anything that is recognisable is out - no harmony, not pitch, no rhythm. It's so dark, you can't even see the stars!'

Interview with David Vorhaus

White Noise currently performs regularly in the UK and Europe as a duo lineup comprising David Vorhaus and Mark Jenkins. Mark Jenkins is a London-based music journalist who has written for Melody Maker, Sounds and NME and is the author of the book and CD "Analog Synthesizers" .

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1969 - White Noise - An Electric Storm
1974 - White Noise 2 - Concerto for Synthesizer
1988 - White Noise 3 - Re-Entry
1990 - White Noise 4 - Inferno
2000 - White Noise 5 - Sound Mind
2006 - White Noise 5.5 - White Label
2006 - Eindhoven Set (special concert at the Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, May 2006.)
2008 - An Electric Storm Over Paris