Gazing Too Long Into The Abyss: All That Noise

Let your mind retreat into itself through these tracks of forbidding, atonal dissonance.

Confession: I enjoy listening to static. When life gets the better of me (which has been often this year) and my metal and ambient options aren’t doing the trick to mentally snap me back into place, I’ll find an in-between AM or FM radio station with nothing but seething, sputtering fuzz and let it flood the background noise of my thoughts for awhile. Why let your mind chatter away with doubts and frustrations when you can scrub it clean through an hour of ugly oblique frequencies?

Enter Full Noise Albums on YouTube, featuring over 200 videos of artists ranging in style from pure static noise to touches of dark ambient to lo-fi retro beats. Most appear to come from cassette tapes ripped to videos. Details about each tape are scarce, leaving you to decide whether to do the googling about each artist on your own, or ignore the details and preserve their clandestine nature. These could be current artists who are active today or it could be one man’s personal collection from years of tape-trading.

Here’s a small sampling of full albums featured on the channel. The variety is huge, so if you don’t hear something you like in the vids below, I strongly encourage you to visit their full upload list and click around to find something that suits your tastes.

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Puce Mary – Rubber Therapy

The channel’s most recent upload (as of this writing) telegraphs immediate unease with its grimy NSFW cover art, and rarely deviates from its “you won’t enjoy this” atmosphere of hazy, lossy reverberations and impact patterns. Its overall sound is compressed and flattened into a lifeless EQ rut, never punching you with deep bass or slicing you with screaming highs, but instead sitting in a midrange pocket of voicemails, bad phone reception and AM radio. The closing crescendo section from 18:45 to 24:00 sounds like an alternate soundtrack for Quake scored by Author & Punisher, with eight bit video game sound bytes looped through homemade distortion and echo circuits.

Terence Hannum – Burning Impurities

With cover art that looks like an endlessly-photocopied picture from The Satanic Bible, this trancelike noise ritual is divided into two halves. Programme A, “Ceremonially Clean,” is hypnotically hymnal in its rhythmic repetitions, mixing throbs of maxed out, distorted humming and ethereal touches of delicate dripping synths. Later, waves of white noise begin spilling into choir chants and carefully controlled feedback. Programme B, “Pass Through The Fire,” is a half hour of seldom-changing static drones, only tapering off layer by layer in its last several minutes to reveal a return to its initial hymnal tones, completing the ceremony.

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Crown of Bone / Nighttime In The Abyss ‎– Split

VOLUME WARNING: Crown of Bone offers 30 straight minutes of harsh, clipping static and magnetic tape chatter: pure earsplitting hatred. There’s little else to describe it. When this abruptly stops, Nighttime In The Abyss slinks in like a cold fog hanging above warm soil with horrifying artificial chants, musique concrète spasms and recordings of a religious ceremony (complete with sanctus bells) taking place in a nightmare of interminable howls and abrasive winds.

Misery Ritual – Become

Ignore the amateur illustration on the cover and you’re in for an enthusiastic session of signal destruction. Imagine having access to an analog instrument mother lode like NIN, then eschewing any sort of musical purpose in favor of plugging shit into other shit endlessly and fucking up the signal beyond all recognition. Beeps, warbles and squelching MIDI feeds rotate and burst in an almost completely random order that feels more like an odd live performance than a crafted composition for an album. Around 6:30, the analog bursts dissipate and the track takes a darker turn with a murky, sinister voice that continues almost through to the end, where the signals finally lose strength and die out in a painful wind-down.

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Wasted Cathedral – Pleasant Valley

Far less oppressive and malevolent than the other selections, this album is a unique crossroads of retro loops and synthesizer pads that sound like they were snagged from an 80s corporate training video, a lost Tangerine Dream soundtrack and segments of Beyond The Black Rainbow – all with a significant patina of wear and tape hiss, as if the cassette were thrown in a river, frozen several times, recovered on a shore, left to dry and recorded for this video upload.

At times sounding like an alternate version of synthwave’s runaway 80s nostalgia, the throwback here is not to the popular image of Lamborghinis, wayfarers and palm trees shading beautiful flesh. This is more downtrodden, more worn and bittersweet, like the abandoned mall from Night of the Comet. Whatever small moments of emotion and wonder you may discover are never too far from an oppressive reminder that the world is dead. Soon you will be too. The lights are going out, so enjoy the music while it lasts, right through to its final, simple keyboard hums.


Check out Full Noise Albums on YouTube

(header via)

    • Rob M

      What the fucking, fuck….

      …Im freaking out man!

  • Hubert

    Gaze too long into the abyss and the abyss sends it’s representative, a white goat.
    The goat gazes silently.
    You gaze back, not knowing who started the gazing.
    After some time you draw the conclusion that somebody should stop with the gazing. You say some words…
    “Bookmarked, will check this out after work.”

  • W.

    I missed you, robit.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Thanks Dubs, ditto

  • Waynecro

    This is some mighty fine writing, Cybro; however, I’d rather break insulin-syringe needles off in my stomach twice a day every day than listen to this kind of music for an extended period. Then again, if I ever decide to have a full-blown mental breakdown, I’ll probably use Crown of Bone as the soundtrack to the murder/suicides that occur among a large percentage of my personalities.

    • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

      Yeah, Crown of Bone is a bit too much lol, but the second half, Nighttime in the Abyss, is pretty awesome.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Seeing CybernaticOrganism in the byline is a real nice way to finish this day on the Toilet!

    Your descriptions are fantastic, it is always a pleasure to read your work.

    I’m not sure how I will feel listening to these albums, but Wasted Cathedral has my interest piqued.

  • Can dig that Puce Mary and the first Terrence Hannum track. Good for zoning out of life. And I love your description of Misery Ritual, Cybro.

  • sweetooth0

    I can get down with some noise from time to time.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Yep, I can dig Wasted Cathedral.

  • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

    Here’s some noise from a side project I started. It’s supposed to be a mallsoft album which is a kind of vaporwave but it sure sounds darker than what I intended.

    https://mrinyourhouse4.bandcamp.com/album/mallcrosoft

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Whoa, this is cool

    • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

      I still don’t really have much of a handle on vaporwave. Sometimes I find some that is exactly what I’m expecting, and other times it’s not what I thought it’d be at all.

      EIther way, thought that was pretty cool. Any vaporwave stuff you’d recommend for someone who has only casually found a few Youtube videos prior to now?

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        Start off with Planet Earth Recycled by KROPN. Go onward with their stuff and when you’re done move onto some mallsoft.

        • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

          Thanks man, I’ll check it out. This is actually the first time I’ve heard the term mallsoft. So far, when I’ve been in the right kind of mood (buzzed pretty late at night in a few cases), I’ve stumbled upon a few Vaporwave tracks I really liked, but then others I really didn’t care for. It seems to be the kind of thing I really like a lot when I’m in the mood for it, but that mood is hard to pin down and it’s sort of fleeting.

          I’ve kinda been all over the place this year though. It’s been an interesting one, for sure.

  • Count_Breznak
  • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

    I’ve been getting into noise stuff a bit more this year, but mainly just Prurient. I got hooked on the Bermuda Drain album (his most melodic one) right before Frozen Niagara Falls came out, then loved that one too, and found some of this older, more melodic stuff appealing since then. I only recently started really listening to his more pure noise stuff (of which there is a lot), but some of it has really grown on me.

    I’m really liking this first embed. I’ll be checking out more of this for sure.

    I’ve found this stuff is great to listen to when reading certain kinds of things. Darker sci-fi (Peter Watts, been going through a lot of his short stories lately) is great for it. The noise album adds atmosphere, but there’s no real beat or riffing or anything to really distract, just adds a lot of atmosphere.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Agreed, perfect for reading atmosphere.

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Man, those were all great picks. Crown of Bone itself I wouldn’t really want to probably sit through for that long, but the Nighttime in the Abyss part was great. All the rest of them were very cool. I didn’t listen to each in their entirety, only a couple, but definitely going to come back for more.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Glad to hear you enjoyed them. Definitely check out that youtube channel sometime, there’s a huge variety of stuff on there.

  • Stockhausen

    Man, I need to spend more time with music like this. I feel like it encourages you, more than other genres do, to stop and slow down in order to listen.