1969 was a year which saw the world of popular music blossom. Of all the albums released that year by Island, “An Electric Storm”, by White Noise was by far the most experimental and ground breaking. The album was equally surprising for the fact that two of the three members of White Noise were not long haired rock musicians, but were respected pioneers of electronic music who worked at the BBC’s legendary Radiophonic Workshop.
Initial recording work was undertaken by Vorhaus, Derbyshire and Hodgson at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale during the night after staff had gone home. “It was all very unofficial and the BBC was unaware of us using the studio and equipment for our own ends” recalls David. “However, it’s common knowledge now that the first couple of tracks recorded by White Noise were actually recorded at the BBC, so I think it’s safe to come clean!”
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- 0600753131251 / Reissue LP on Island. (BBC Radiophonic Workshop/ Vorhaus, Derbyshire and Hodgson) CLASSIC!!!
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- An Electric Storm by White Noise
2 reviews. Add your own review.
It's a challenging morning for me today. First I had to tackle the much-anticipated sophomore effort from Goat, and now I've got this head-scratching reissue of a 1969 album by White Noise, an experimental pop band notable for the presence of such radiophonic luminaries as Delia Derbyshire within their ranks.
The story of the record's genesis is a fascinating one too, with initial recording taking place at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop itself, out of hours and without the BBC's knowledge. The final results of these clandestine recording sessions are very much an LP of two halves, with side A comprised of more conventionally structured pop songs with a dreamy, playful feel that's sonically somewhere between Stereolab and Joe Meek, with simple melodies and refined electronic tomfoolery.
On side B however, the trip gets much darker with two lengthy tracks titled 'The Visitation' and 'The Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell'. These are full of all sorts of hallucinatory weirdness. The former has spooky speech samples and haunted fairground folk drifting in and out of twisted tapestries sobbing and heavy breathing and screams and ominously pulsating electronic ambience, while the latter wallows in weirdly phasing drum textures with slicing electronic swoops and nightmarish yells.
In short, it's pleasant on side A, challenging on side B, but interesting and stimulating and a little bit unhinged throughout.
10/10 Seeformiles Customer review, 28th July 2014
Nice to see this getting a vinyl reissue (first time since the 80s). This album has been like an old, deranged but oddly comforting friend to me for the last 30 years. I was walking past a friend's flat early one morning when he ran out, wide-eyed from a hard night's LSD session, thrust it into my hand and told me he never wanted to see it again. Obviously from that moment on, it became (side 2 in particular) a psychedelic rite of passage for us - especially on headphones in a darkened room. Had the pleasure of meeting David Vorhaus a couple of years ago and he was an absolute gentleman. A record that's still ahead of its time and hopefully still scaring would-be psychonauts in the 21st century.
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