Static/White Noise
Image from Bernd Helfert
Static Noise and White Noise were an Information Age and Interplanetary Age music craze, sometimes called 'information-free music'. The phenomenon was the ultimate pre-singularity triumph of music corp memetics. For years the corps financed hundreds of acts in hope of finding a single hit. Tired of this completely inefficient approach executives of the FNJ corporation approached the leading memetic engineers at the institute of advanced psychology on the New Israel sea-habitat to develop an innovative solution to this problem. Instead of concentrating on the tired approach of overmarketing an attractive but untalented performer, they used the feelings of alienation in the adolescent population as the hook for the meme. The initial music for testing this meme on the populace was random static noise.

Unfortunately for music lovers everywhere the meme's effectiveness was unparalleled. From mid 80's to early 110's AT (mid 2050's to the early 2070's c.e.) the most popular form of music in the 11-24 year old demographic was Static Noise, together with its cousin White Noise. Music corps were delighted; never before had they done so little work to create a hit. Numerous bands were formed to exploit the meme, including Active Noise Cancellation, Aliasing Filter and Bi-Linear Design.

The Static craze died out thanks to a counter-meme created by an independent memetic engineer, Elvis Presley fan Ryu O'Connor, despite numerous lawsuits on behalf of the entertainment megacorps. However it was revived by an interview with the AI Kilburn in 2105 c.e. in which e listed er favourite music:
InterviewBot: So Kilburn what tunes do you crunch numbers to?

Kilburn: Well there are of course the older classics, and among those I prefer Bach. For popular music I'm quite a fan of middle to late twentieth century rock bands: U2, They Might Be Giants, Bowie and Tom Waits. From more recent music, well, I enjoy looking for patterns in Aliasing Filter's last MP9 "Random Electrical Discharges". Nothing too radical...
The AI movement hysteria was enough to kick-start the meme again, and for much of the interplanetary period static saw periodic revivals among alienated adolescents and AI cults.

Related Articles
  • Kilburn
  • White Noise - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Noise that uniformly distributed in the frequency domain; randomness that is uniformly distributed; thus, a white noise process with a range of 0 to 1 would yield a random number in this range with probability equal for all possible values. Brown noise is a result of cumulatively adding white noise. Some clades and subcultures use white noise for various aesthetic or audio-sculptural purposes. In an audiosculpture for example white noise could be used to mask a soundscape when heard from a certain angle, thus creating a 3D sonic topographic.
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Development Notes
Text by Ben Higginbottom
Initially published on 05 October 2001.