When this album came out in 1969, it was far beyond anything anyone was doing. A Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd- Pfft! Not even close. This was just before the advent of the Moog synthesizer so what you'll hear may sound like synthesis, but is actually tape-splicing taken to the 11th degree. What first interested me was the fact that one of Europe's greatest free drummers to this day- Paul Lytton- was a member. This album is a blend of three musical styles that are now in very diverse camps: Noise (Merzbow, etc.) electronica and pychedelicia.
The White Noise project had its origins in the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, whose previous claim to worldwide fame was the theme music to Doctor Who. The workshop was peopled by a small team of technical wizards and musicians whose principal function was to generate futuristic effects and music for BBC TV and radio programs. With no keyboard-based polyphonic synthesizers available to them, every last chord had to be assembled from numerous tape edits painstakingly stuck together. Much use was made of musique concrète techniques, whereby physically generated sounds would be subjected to all manner of electronic distortion and tape manipulation.
Having heard Pink Floyd’s recently released A Saucerful of Secrets, a lengthy instrumental track on which a drum riff underpins a cacophony of noise, in order to complete the album they needed something fast. The result was the hair-raising -- "Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell," which replaces Saucerful's heavenly choir with the sound of souls screaming in eternal torment. Simply, one of the scariest pieces of music ever recorded. It's an album that sounds like no other.
By 1970, however, White Noise had been overtaken by events. As the Moog synthesizer became widely available, the kind of equipment used by the Radiophonic Workshop team became obsolete almost overnight. And since it was this very equipment that gave the White Noise album so much of its charm, there was never any question of a full-scale follow-up.
1. Love Without Sound 2. My Game of Loving 3. Here Come the Fleas 4. Firebird 5. Your Hidden Dreams 6. Visitations 7. Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell
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7 months ago