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White Noise - An Electric Storm CD (album) cover


White Noise


Progressive Electronic

4.03 | 75 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars In the world of electronic music, I can hardly think of an album that was so groundbreaking and precocious than White Noise's Electric Storm. Indeed the project joined three incredibly inquisitive and inventive musicians such as German-born Davis Vorhaus, locals Brian Hodgson and Delia Derbyshire, who later were of The BBC Radiophonic Workshop fame. Also a part of the project, jazz drummer Paul Lytton and several vocalists, White Noise cut An Electric Storm in 1968, released on the groundbreaking Island records. Without any proper synthesizer per se, the album relied heavily on complex tape edits and eerie sound effects.

Well AES is not just about electronic loops and effects, but it also relies on a solid dose of goofy British pop weirdo-ism (one that Frank Zappa would've approved of) and a certain sense of minimalism, even if there is plenty of stuff going on simultaneously in the music. Beit pieces like Love Without Sound, My Game Of Loving (don't be fooled by the track names), the electronic loops and tapes are wallpapering the sonic spaces behind far-reaching vocals that can stretch out to sexual moans or nutcase wailings. The madness continues with Here Comes the Fleas and Firebird (nothing to do with Igor) and the quieter Hidden Dreams.

Over the early-Floydish flipside, renamed Phase Out (as opposed to the A-side's Phase In), the madness doesn't stop but changes somewhat from shorter goofy tunes to a more serious experimental sound over two lengthier tracks, opening with the aptly-titled 11-mins Visitation , which sounds like a cosmic storm visiting the confines of your brains. This is clearly the album's centrepiece with the vocals taking on a second role, but remaining poignant enough (there are weeping bouts) to keep you riveted to the edge of your seat. The closing 7-mins Black Mass Electric Storm In Hell could just come out of Floyd's Saucerful Of Ummagumma album, where Lytton's drumming evokes what Nick Mason would do in a few months in Secrets or Setting The Controls Of The Heart Of The Sun. But it's not just about the drumming, there are Waters-ian scream, Wright-ian knob-twiddlings and Barrett-ian lunacy involved.

Well this album should come down like An Electric Storm over the electronic-minded progheads, although the sheer wackiness of the album should please Zappa, Beefheart fans and Moondog or even Terry Riley followers. In either case, passing through AES session should not leave anyone unscathed and should send your sanity up the zaniness ladder all the way up to volume 11.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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