Not Forgotten: White Noise – An Electric Storm

“Many sounds have never been heard-by humans:some sound waves you don’t hear-but they reach you. “Storm Stereo” techniques combine singers, instrumentalists and complex electronic sound. The emotional intensity is at a maximum.”
So read the bold sleevenotes on this unique release on which David Vorhaus ,an electronics graduate, teamed up with two members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1969 to produce a collage of tape loops; Floydesque echoing drums and haunting vocals.

A chance meeting with Chris Blackwell of Island Records resulted in an album deal, instead of a single, so entranced with the material was the label maestro. What Vorhaus produced with his cohorts Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson defies description.

From the first opening munchkinised word (sound…sound…) the atmosphere takes hold as the music literally floats out of the speakers and wanders around your apartment like a prospective buyer, penetrating nooks and crannies that other recordings don’t reach. If you suffered from synethstaesia you’d spend the whole album ducking. On ‘My Game of Loving’, Vorhaus recreated the sounds of an orgy electronically, and a little nonplussed with the results bolstered it by going to record a real one.

The track ‘The Visitation’ occupies the majority of side two (if you’re listening on vinyl…and really, seriously you must!) and is a ghostly ‘Leader of the Pack’ tale, a fatal motorcycle crash and subsequent spiritual return from the grave. It took three months to put together, involving recording tape,scissors and sellotape.

The album is a heady mix of whimsical psychedelic innocence (and depravity); sinister demon-summoning backmasking and Tom & Jerry saucepan fights. Despite stiff competition from some fine vocal performances and quirky original riffs the real star is the production, which belies it’s conception date and truly sounds as if it was recorded the day after tommorow…by aliens…from the future. Perhaps the BBC really did have a TARDIS. If so it’s evident what certain employees used it for afterhours.


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