White Noise (band)

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White Noise
OriginBillingham, UK
Years active1968–present
MembersDavid Vorhaus
Mike Painter
Past membersAnnie Bird
Delia Derbyshire
Brian Hodgson
Mark Jenkins
Paul Lytton
Val Shaw
John Whitman

White Noise are an English experimental electronic music band formed in London in 1968, after American-born David Vorhaus, a classical bass player with a background in physics and electronic engineering, attended a lecture by Delia Derbyshire, a sound scientist at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.[2] Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, then both former members of electronic music project Unit Delta Plus, joined Vorhaus to form the band.[3]


An Electric Storm[edit]

In June 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 used 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. Although not initially commercially successful for Island, the album is now considered an important and influential album in the development of electronic music,[4] namechecked by contemporary artists like The Orb and Julian Cope, influencing contemporary acts such as Broadcast, Add N to (X), and Secret Chiefs 3.[2] Peter Kember of Spacemen 3 included 'Firebird' on his 2004 curated compilation Spacelines.

White Noise 2-III-IV-V[edit]

Following the departure of Derbyshire and Hodgson, to pursue other projects, Vorhaus released a second album, the largely instrumental White Noise 2 - Concerto for Synthesizer on Virgin Records in 1974. It was recorded in his own studio in Camden, North London. The album further utilized the EMS VCS 3, 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. A further two albums were released, the atmospheric White Noise IV - Inferno (AMP Music) (1990) incorporated the use of samples, and White Noise V - Sound Mind (AMP Music; 2000), an experiment in what Vorhaus called "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, no pitch, no rhythm. It's so dark, you can't even see the stars[5]


  • David Vorhaus (1968–present)
  • Mike Painter (2011–present)


  • An Electric Storm (1969)
  • White Noise 2 - Concerto for Synthesizer (1974)
  • White Noise 3 - Re-Entry (1980)
  • White Noise 4 - Inferno (1990)
  • White Noise 5 - Sound Mind (2000)
  • White Noise 5.5 - White Label (2006)


  1. ^ Reynolds, Simon (22 April 2007). "King of the Cosmos early progressive rock". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b Pattison, Louis (2007). "White Noise - An Electric Storm". BBC.
  3. ^ "Unit Delta Plus". delia-derbyshire.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017
  4. ^ "The 50 Most Influential Dance Music Albums of All Time". mixmag.net. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  5. ^ ""David Vorhaus", Sound on Sound magazine, February 2002, accessed 2010-0909]

External links[edit]