Noise Tips

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How do I make noise like nautical almanac, dilloway, weise.

That's kind of funny cause those guys all use completely different setups from what I have seen but they do have some things in common with most noise setups.


I saw Twig Harper(nautical almanac) several years ago and he did sort of a turntable, contact mic and feedback set.

At the 517 fest Dilloway had a bunch of tape sources, a tape loop delay and a mixer.

Wiese uses a laptop most of the time with MAX/MSP which is a MIDI, synthesis and DSP (sound processing) software. Last time I saw him he was also using a microphone to capture and process short sound bits.

In general terms most noise techniques involve processing a sound source. The sound source can be any number of things from a prerecorded sound (feedback, cd, tape cassette, turntable, microphone, mp3 player, contact mic, keyboard, guitar, etc) that is then effected in some way.

The processing part is also varied. You can use guitar pedals, mixer feedback, software, shit electronics or simply play really loud through an amp.

A Feedback loop is also a common tool.. feedback can be created in other ways besides a mic feeding back into itself. Generally speaking if you split the output from a device and feed one of those splits back into the input you will get feedback. This results in varied frequencies, volume and disortion.

An interesting effect you can get with feedback is that if you are also inputing a pulsating sound into the input as well as feedback from the devices output is that the pulsating sound will modulate the feedback which can create synthesizer type sounds as a reaction to the pulsating sound... almost techno music in a crude way (great for Power Electronics.

Guitar pedals.. there are many to choose from. For noise there are maybe four main types that you'll encounter, delays, distortion, EQ and pitch.

A delay may be in the form of a flange(short), chorus(short), reverb(medium) or looping(long). Flanges add a kind of spacey modulation, chorus adds an effect like there are other copies of the signal but at a different pitch, reverb is like you are in a cave or small room and looping grabs a section of sound and plays it over and over again. Another grerat thing about delay is that you can get really crazy sounds by feeding them back into themselves.

Distortions come in various flavors, there are fuzzes, overdrives, gains and bitcrushes etc. Depending on the device it may take the input and randomly scatter the amplitude of the singal and give it a dithered sort of sound or simply make it louder and then clip the waves so the output is more of a rough square wave or it may using digital sampling reduce the bit rate from high to low resulting in a lofi poor resolution effect.

EQ's are often used in conjunction with a feedback loop because you can use the EQ to control the feedback and change it's pitch and tone. In basic terms an EQ can boost or decrease a certain range of frequencies in your signal.

Pitch effects change the pitch of a singal .. they are often used to make a man sound like a woman but usually sound like the Chipmunks .. again can be useful in feedback loops or to lower pitch and get sub frequencies into of your sound for beefiness.

You can also create noise using synthesizers or circuit bending toys or by building your own circuits.. go nuts!

There's really no wrong way to go about it and I think it's the process of figuring it out is what I find interesting.. it's allways evolving. But also you should not let yourself be trapped by your gear.. it still takes an ear and a mind to decide what your output is going to be or what you'll allow to put out there for public consumption.

Noise for experts

For vocals, simply copy some youtube comments and paste them in an online text-to-speech engine such as ;Record result, then download the free trial of Microsoft Songsmith to make backup music, which you can distort with some other shitty computer program. Optional: download samples of bagpipes and reverse them using Windows Sound Recorder. You are now noise elite.

Some good ideas