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The Weirdest Vinyl Story of the Month: The White Noise Record Label

White noise: n. 1. Also called white sound. a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds. 2. Physics. random noise with a uniform frequency spectrum over a wide range of frequencies.

There are plenty of musical sub-sub-sub-genres out there. If you look hard and long enough, you’ll find exactly the sound that excites that special part of your brain. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be a song, a tune, a melody or even a beat. Maybe your thing will turn out to be a very specific type of noise, a scramble of fractalized frequencies that make no sense to anyone but you.

This is the theory behind The White Noise Boutique, a record store soon to open in Brighton, England, which will sell nothing but vinyl records featuring, well, white noise. It sounds like some kind of art-project-cum-pardody of recorded music–and it is–but it’s also more than that.  I’ll let Death&Taxes explain:

The shop was created by artist Jeff Thompson — who previously made “Computers on Law & Order”. Visitors to the shop can select a seed (dice, yarrow sticks) and a generator (such as hard drive entropy, algorithms,Type 1390-B vacuum tubes) to create a unique recording of white noise (for more info on the process, see the boutique’s site). They can then print a 7″ record of their creation, and/or get a digital file of it for £4 and £1, respectively.

Oh, and there’s more. Much, much more This is from the store’s FAQ about their vinyl product.

Can my white noise be made to be cryptographically secure?

In short, we will do our absolute best but you should take your own precautions depending on your individual needs.

We offer:

  • A Faraday cage for generating your noise to avoid electro-magnetic radiation
  • Several generators that are considered cryptographically-secure, including Threefish andAES_OFB
  • Packaging closed with tamper-proof sticker and a unique serial number
  • The option not to have the salted hash of your white noise stored in our database – this ensures no one can read your noise, but means it may not be unique
  • Digital files are securely deleted once it is cut to the record or delivered digitally

Of course, you should take your own precautions. We are happy to accommodate any requests possible to ensure your noise meets your needs.

Interesting. What would one use white noise for? I’m glad you asked.

We offer the very best quality white noise available anywhere. Your noise can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Listen as music
  • A unique artwork for your collection
  • A poetic object
  • Crytpographic purposes where high-quality random numbers are required, such as passwords or one-time pads

Finally, what does white sounds sound like? I’m glad you asked. Please enjoy.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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