Noise Music

Noise is not as boring as you think. Mathematically speaking, noise is maximum content. It is everything at once, all frequencies in random order. When other shapes have some kind of continuity to fall back on, noise goes full out to never return. It is random and lacks order,which does not mean that everything can happen. White noise always sounds and looks like noise, it doesn’t just randomize itself into an opera. That is why noise music is fascinating to me, because it explores randomness in a social sense. For me, ideal noise music keeps transforming and contrasting and makes me feel displaced, confused. Noisy soundscapes in all honour and cut-up frenetics yeah yeah, but making good noise music is something far more difficult. I am not sure I ever experienced something like that from a recorded piece of music.

8-bit noise music is not very common, which means that good 8-bit noise music doesn’t really have best of compilations (yet!). It is maybe a bit like someone over at 8BC said about breakcore: the certain particularities with a genre that make it so good, are quite tricky to reproduce with an old soundchip and is therefore often completely lost. Indeed, good 8-bit breakcore is also quite rare (nevertheless something we will get back to in that thing called future). Here are a few examples of 8-bit noise music that I appreciate, and if you have more suggestions then feel free to leavy a harsh and random comment with maximum content. I must have left out a lot of gems, right?

Fjyssel is a Dane that uses the C64 data cassettes as audio material. He cuts it up, adds effects and other sounds.

Apostleship of Noise – a Swedish duo that use two Amiga500’s and other things, including about 10 effect pedals. The results are not very much like chip music at all.

Neurobit – Dutch one-man noise/ambient-band. “Producing soundscapes, drones, Pulses and noises using 4bit, 8bit, & LCD console sounds based on the idea of a live situation.”

Herr Galatran: Show 1×04 for Radio ill. (MP3 2008) Live noise improvisation on Atari 130XE in Berlin.

Narwhalz of Sound: American noise, probably irritating for some. Visit  dotcomandshit and myspace.

More occassional noise

Overthruster: Legendary American chaos musician, usually more rhythmical than drone-noisy.

Environmental Sound Collapse: Occasional noise from this American, usually harsh and dark.

Shame On Me

But a bit of self-promotion has to slip by here. I’ve done a few noise experiments, but this audiovisual piece is very overlooked. The visuals are made by Rosa Menkman (who also does research on glitch, noise, etc). I give you Eastern Fire Swim. (audio is an unedited C64-jam)

22 Responses to “Noise Music”

  1. peter Says:

    I ran across an interesting noise thing via pirate bay this weekend:

    http://truechiptilldeath.com/2009/03/sega-death/

    Ive always wanted to do a drone project with the atari synthcart and my lynx sfx kit… just haven’t ahd the time :D

  2. TRUE CHIP TILL DEATH » Chip Flip on “Noise Music” Says:

    […] Chipflip has an excellent write-up on the state of chip-noise. […]

  3. chipflip Says:

    @peter: ah yes, shit!! that’s one of my favourite 8-bit noise projects, damnit. thanks for reminding! is it at pirate bay? i hope we can put internet links behind bars soon, to end this madness!!! http://thesystemis.com/internot/

    + gijs gieskes should be mentioned! argh, i was too tired when i wrote that post. more to come i guess…

  4. Kezzie Says:

    Definitely going to check out those artists! I’m currently putting the final touches to an 8bc compilation of drum sounds only, so of course the noise sound has been the main focus, which usually creates a lot of noise music, so there have been several occassional noise tracks submitted, i love it!

  5. Mr Tomczak Says:

    Nice post.

  6. infradead Says:

    Nice not enough other people doing more noise and ambient stuff with 8bit sources. Or at the least the people who are harder to hear than the more beat oriented stuff.

  7. Jellica Says:

    would any of Josstintimberlake’s datamushySIDgrumbling and acid wonk count?

    listen to Qetasid and amiganoiserave shit.

  8. 10k Says:

    http://www.centrumchaos.com/It_s_Hard_It_s_Hard_-_Untitled_EP.rar

    This is a project that I did for a while, it was 8bit noise.
    Collab between myself and Australian Noise artist NOWINGUS.
    Give it a go?

  9. chipflip Says:

    thanks for the suggestions! i will add them to the noisyclopedia!

  10. skynoise » Chips, Flu, Hungry Cycling Wolves Says:

    […] Chips CHIPFLIP is a new blog by Swedish 8-bit wunder-kid, Goto80 ( also “Extraboy, Susanne, 4D-Man, […]

  11. Quiet Works for Cello & Commodore 64 « CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] but as the concept sunk in, I started to like it a lot. It is a form of combination of ambient and noise, and the cello connects it to ‘classical music‘. The technology is just “doing […]

  12. d0us Says:

    Thank you very much for this overview.

    I’m very much impressed by this Russian demoscener skrju

    This is one of the most intense noise pieces I have ever encountered.

    My own project jahiz also uses an Atari Falcon and STE for our soundscapes myspace.com/jahizband

    I am also working on a pure 3 channel Atari noise tape.

    I really loved the noise possibilities you demonstrated on defmon

    • chipflip Says:

      hey d0us, thanks for the suggestion. skrju is great! i like your music too, haven’t heard it before actually. keep me posted when you make new stuff available! …. or find some more 8-bit noises.

  13. d0us Says:

    Some of the Russian Demosceners have some interesting realtime noise/coding art going on.

    skrju for example

  14. d0us Says:

    Let me know what you think ;)

    http://8bitcollective.com/music/d0us/GrYMdom/

  15. chipflip Says:

    gijs gieskes!
    chantal goret!
    knoeki’s random noiz: http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=51701
    knoeki’s heart/monitor: http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=63478
    nq/skrju’s onomatopoeia http://www.ubiktune.org/releases/ubi004/
    knoeki: random noiz http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=51701
    knoeki: you broke my.. http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=63478

  16. Chip Rock « CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] There is plenty of metal-smelling 8-bit music without guitars. People like Virt and Heospheros and Norrin Radd make intricate beep “metal” that relate to the old Konami NES-style. Others do it a bit harder like Laconic Zero (related to the underground-famous Next Life) and use C64 and guitar/bass. Aleksi Eeben’s the Grand Rules is a true metal epos, made strictly on C64 (in his own tracker I guess). To get more grindy you should check out Unas, who I can’t seem to find a link for atm. If you prefer things more noisy, you can check out chip noise. […]

  17. Passionately fucking the scene: Skrju « CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] randomly semi-similar thing-stuffs: tbk – bl, eerie norwegian demos, chip noise, disco calculi, put on your goggles, jodi, hatebit, ZX Spectrum Orchestra, Lukas Nystrand’s […]

  18. Tim Drage Says:

    I’ve done some true chip harsh noise live tho nothing really recorded yet, partial live video here at 39 sec: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AqaG3j2l_w

    multiple gameboys running Trippy-H and one GBC with Pushpin, ZX spectrum with loading sound and some synth app i forget the name, minimal effects (just delay and behringer bass synth i think)

  19. A Short History of Hardcore Chipmusic | CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] tandem to chipbreak, others worked with darker atmospheres, sometimes bordering to noise and rock. Overthruster and Timeheater from USA seemed pretty outstanding at the time, and were […]

  20. lau7aro Says:

    hello.
    I was always careful to find artists 8bit noise.
    I use gameboy and circuit bending elements in my music. Some of my pieces could be considered noise.
    If you are interested to hear a bit:
    http://lautaro.bandcamp.com/
    It is rare that people like the noise within the chiptune, for that is appreciated finding these items!
    thank you!

    • goto80 Says:

      Thanks for that, will have a listen. If you have more suggestions of good 8-bit noise, feel free to share. It’s rare to find. Besides, this post should be updated a lot, I feel. Some day… :)

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