Amoeblog


White Noise for Channel Identification

Posted by Whitmore, October 5, 2008 07:08pm | Post a Comment

Stereo Test albums and Stereo Dynamic records almost always have great graphics. My all time favorite album cover could very easily be To Scare Hell out of Your Neighbors. My Dad has that record; not only does it look great but it also sounds pretty incredible … well, if not actually incredible, at least bigger then friggin’ hell itself. As a kid I used to play it at full volume over our more then adequate state of functional-furniture-by-way-of-Sears-1967-winter-catalogue stereo console. To Scare Hell out of Your Neighbors features a couple of the finest room-clearing tracks you’ll ever hear, like Bach’s Toccato in D Minor -- aka the Rollerball theme --and the first cut, "Adolph Hitler" from Edmund De Luca's Conquerors of the Ages, where we hear several members of the London Philharmonic forthrightly shouting "zeig heil!" Pieces like these literally disturbed the holy crap out of my grandmother. Perhaps it was I who drove her to those late morning/early afternoon gin and tonics.

Anyway, there is something about the secret language and technical diatribes on the back of these albums I absolutely love. All the numbers and graphs and arrows point you, the listener, in the direction of an aural climax.

And in fact from an early 20th century Dadaist or Surrealist perspective, the complex narratives on these back covers could be viewed as truly modern poetry: polemic critiques of technology, ready to bugger all of our puny, inconsequential romantic rhymes. Reason and precision annihilates passion and unprotected sex. Nonsense belittles the hollow logic of bourgeois capitalist society, producing nothing more than an insane spectacle of collective slaughter … Eat your heart out André Breton … eureka, I have found you!

Ok … here is my favorite track list/poem found on the back of one of these albums: 

White noise for channel identification

Left
& Right
                                                                  Balance
Test Cartridge

Tracking test tone

Bursts with specific
frequency
         
With noise evaluation

Of hum
 
In system
Quiet groove
Left
& right
Turn table with rumble
                                                                 Left
& Right


Speaker with hum slight
Moderate
 
Flutter
 
Heavy musical
Range of system
Normal
Drum rolls, low piano,
     percussive,
       high octaves


Final drum
Ultimate obstacle


Tests all
simultaneously

Left
      & Right

Relevant Tags

Dada (10), Surrealism (6), Stereo Test Records (1), 1960's (84), Blather (58)