Quiet Noise - Music | Building | Music

Quiet Noise

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Wilkinson applies years spent as a sound engineer to a large and well ordered collection of things that make noise. His compositions feature on nature documentaries, short films and albums of MC’s who think different. In March 2014 he was Bethan Elfyn’s BBC Introducing act of the week. Radio Wales’ Adam Walton calls his sound “evocative” and says he “would like to live inside Quiet Noise’s music.”

Album ‘Audible Life’ was released on Audiobulb in February 2015. Louder Than War described it as “an album that creeps inside the mind and lingers long after listening” while Brainstormimprov.com concluded “there is definitely a master at work.” 

Music | Building | Music

Music | Building | Music is the story of a hard day's work. Percussive sound effects reference the author's experience in labouring and carpentry. While rhythms champion teams of hard working hands, the melodic arrangements deliver the emotional experience of a long shift - triumph, failure, empowerment and exhaustion. Opening with the journey to work, Music | Building | Music pushes on before clocking off and going home to celebrate. The intention is to present a metaphor for our relentless drive for success. 


AB066 | April 2016





  1. Merchants of Air

    Well, this is embarrassing. I could have sworn that I already written this review. I've heard the album dozens of times in the past few weeks. I checked our website. I checked my sent-box. I even checked the folder 'klaar', which means 'ready'. It's where all the albums go when the review is online. Comes to show that you do need a decent planning if you want a job done right, even if it's a voluntary job. 

    Anyway, that leaves me with the opportunity to start writing this review. I'm going to start with a simple copy-paste from the biography because it says it best: Composer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Wilkinson applies years spent as a sound engineer to a large and well ordered collection of things that make noise. His compositions feature on nature documentaries, short films and albums of MC’s who think different.

    Now I know that you've seen the word 'noise' a few times already, but rest assured, this is no Merzbow kind of stuff. I'd put this album on a shelf where it has the good company of acts like Plaid, Autechre, µ-Ziq, Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada. Yep, an electronic music shelf, where ambient teams up with broken beats and unidentifiable sounds. I have no idea what kind of equipment Quiet Noise utilizes but he surely made some nice tunes with it.

    Some almost feel like trip hop songs while others show a seemingly incomprehensive amount of bleeps, blips and beats or simply eerie soundscapes. In 'Teamwork Is Paramount' I can even hear some dubby bass lines, much to my delight actually. Mind you, not everything on this album in danceable. 'Need A Minute' certainly is not, but it did make me decide to add Aphex Twin to the list of references.

    The album seems to get weirder near the end but I certainly don't mind. Electronic music has the right to be weird. It's not a prerogative to the analog side of the musical spectrum. Yet, even with all the in-your-face attitude of the beginning of 'The Final Hour', this act managed to slip in some nice melodies. The whole thing even ends beautifully, with a relaxed downtempo tune. But not for me, it doesn't end here, I'm going to listen again...

  2. Buzz Magazine

    West Walian multi-instrumentalist sound engineer Adam Wilkinson reveals his second album as Quiet Noise, with prettily poignant collection of twinkly, intricate melodies and filigree beats reminiscent of Ulrich Schnauss and Bonobo. With a conceptual element in its 'day at work' narrative, and wooden percussion referencing Wilkinson's carpenter background , Music | Building | Music successfully realizes a charming and emotive idea. Wilkinson gestures at the epic while staying familiar and folksy; his panoramic melodic flights retain a lo-fi digital veneer.

  3. Bucket List

    If you’re into music production and enjoy electronic soundscapes, read on. Adam Wilkinson is an audio engineer who creates compositions for nature documentaries, short films, and for himself through his project called Quiet Noise. He just released MusicBuildingMusic, and I will try my best to review this interesting piece.

    I’ve been listening to this record for the past few days, and the vast quantity of sounds heard within made it difficult for me to pinpoint what it reminds me of.  I think I’ve figured it out: this record reminds me of walking through a vast art exhibit in a museum. The album represents the story of a hard day’s work, from the journey to work through to the moment of celebration felt while heading home. It’s an instrumental record that expresses emotion through the manipulation of all kinds of sounds. The opening track, “The Scenic Route,” starts off with two notes drowning in reverb, perhaps symbolising an alarm ringing to start the day. It’s quickly met with a rhythmic pattern that seems to combine drum elements and breathing. Arpeggiated melodies criss-cross each other as a pulsing bass is added to the mix. The production on this song is varied and expertly handled. It’s a gentle song that reminds me a little of Tycho.

    “Generating” is next, and on this song I hear Adam’s editing skills. A combination of bell sounds is chopped up to create a rhythmic pattern that’s embellished by a collection of sounds I’ve yet to hear elsewhere. There is an ever-present ambient texture to this piece, thanks to beautiful sounding reverberation and the coming and going of various instruments like chimes, plucked strings, and glockenspiels. On “Ideas of Steele Chord,” we hear the juxtaposition of an acoustic guitar, flutes, and sampled beats. The flutes are processed to sound like the wind, while the bass pushes a ton of air, rumbling low like the hum of a large engine. Near the end of the track there is a triumphant ascension brought forth by a string section while tribal-sounding beats thunder away below. The track closes with mechanical thumping you’d hear in a factory.

    “Break it Down, Build it Better” begins with a sound that reminds me of an elevator bell ringing. A clean guitar riff plays a melancholic melody, surrounded by an orchestra of electronic sounds. Halfway through the song, flamenco guitars strum up furious energy before giving way to a glitchy mix that is rhythm-heavy and syncopated, a little like dubstep. “Teamwork is Paramount” combines a harder rhythmic style with a collection of synthesizer sounds. It’s smooth, yet edgy, as if I’m hanging out in a lounge for robots. The track ends with one of the electronic sounds diving in pitch revealing its origin of a drill or sander. “Chiseling the Form” sounds like the continuation of the previous songs, though this one seems to vamp on the same form throughout. “Need a Minute” sounds like a break during a work shift. Beginning with a long exhale, it journeys through ambient synthesizer chord changes played alongside a rhythmic pattern that sounds like the inner workings of a grandfather clock. Sadly, I have reached the word-count limit of what I can write. However I can say that the three remaining songs are beautiful, and intense.

    This is an interesting album. There is a ton of creativity to be heard here, and some new sounds that audio geeks will surely appreciate. These songs are good on their own, but I think they would resonate with me more if they were paired with some beautiful cinematography. With MusicBuildingMusic, Adam Wilkinson has created a piece of music that pushed the boundaries of my musical experience, and for that, I thank him.

  4. Louder Than War

    Adam Wilkinson has been busy making an album about being busy. It’s one of those gems that deserves wider recognition, and, if the interest attained by his last album ‘Audible Life’ (see review here) is anything to go by then it’s just around the corner.

    Under the name of Quiet Noise, Wilkinson has created an album of uncomplicated but interesting rhythms and arrangements which are both delightful and stimulating. His work as a sound engineer and composer of soundtracks for nature documentaries and short films has served him well as his ability to construct increasingly entertaining and almost living pieces evident for all to see.

    Using the format of a day at a workplace, ‘Music | Building | Music’ takes the trip to the place of employment and then skillfully takes in several moments throughout the day before the return back home.

    Album opener ‘The Scenic Route’ starts the metaphorical drive for success as the start to another laborious day begins. Throughout the shift, intermittent percussion and machinery sounds add to the effect of the album an almost begin to tell the story without the use of words (bar the occasional shout from a work colleague).

    Along the way, we are treated to quiet, noise, (sic) uniformity and disorganisation as the album treks from one track to the next. ‘Need A Minute’ is nothing short of delightful as it slowly rises and the continual use of broken beats and slightly staggered effects makes the album one of noteworthiness.

    ‘The Final Hour’ sees a last push to increase productivity and achieve the day’s targets before the sounds of pistons and air valves slowly gives way to human voices and the workers begin to wind down for the day before machines are turned off and left to run down.

    Album closer, ‘I Earned This’ sees the writer having time to relax maybe over a glass of beer or an hour in front of the television before the events of the day are noisily washed out of the system in readiness for the time of slumber.

    It’s a thought-provoking album and one which holds much credence to Wilkinson over ten tracks of well-thought out, well executed musicality.

  5. Western Telegraph

    SOCIETY'S 'relentless drive for success' is the inspiration behind composer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Wilkinson's latest offering.

    Having spent years collecting a variety of 'alternative instruments' - from children's toys to pots and pans - the sound engineer has released a range of ambient and electronic tracks, which have featured on nature documentaries, adverts, short films and charity album Touched.

    In March 2014 Adam - better known as Quiet Noise - was Bethan Elfyn’s BBC Introducing act of the week.

    And Radio Wales’ Adam Walton calls his sound “evocative” and says he “would like to live inside Quiet Noise’s music.”

    His last album ‘Audible Life’ was released on Audiobulb in February 2015, and was described by Louder Than War as “an album that creeps inside the mind and lingers long after listening” while Brainstormimprov.com concluded “there is definitely a master at work.”

    His new records, Music - Building - Music, is the story of a hard day's work.

    Percussive sound effects reference Adam's experience in labouring and carpentry.

    While rhythms champion teams of hard working hands, the melodic arrangements deliver the emotional experience of a long shift - triumph, failure, empowerment and exhaustion.

    Opening with the journey to work, the album pushes on before clocking off and going home to celebrate.

  6. Beach Sloth

    Quiet Noise delivers a brilliant medley of sounds on “Music | Building | Music”. Freedom defines the entirety of the album as Quiet Noise refuses to be pigeonholed into any specific style. Stylistically Quiet Noise brings together elements of classical, field recordings, found sound, glitch, framed within a folktronica approach. Moments of it feel reminiscent of Four Tet’s early celebratory work. Various pieces seem to also retain a hint of Matmos’s silly endearing adherence to elastic grooves. Overall though, while Quiet Noise does reference a little of what came before him, what he has created is an entirety different creature altogether.

    Nicely introducing the album is the welcoming spirit of “The Scenic Route”. Glitch defines “Generating” whose jumps and skips feel seemingly at random at first, but upon deeper listens reveals a true talent for form. Reflective in nature is the rock-infused spirit of “Break it Down, Build it Better” whose rollicking beat works wonders. Downright giddy is the hyperactivity of “Teamwork is Paramount” which veers from groove to ambience. Rather soothing with its cyclical style is the poppy “Chiseling the Form”. Quite tender tones flow out of “Need a Minute”. Deeply moving is the elegant classical arrangement of “A Fresh Perspective”. “I Earned This” brings the album to a celebratory close as the song’s hazy, happy approach feels earned.

    Experimental with a strong sense of play, Quiet Noise creates an album that teems with life on “Music | Building | Music”.

  7. Ambient Blog

    Adam Wilkinson is a composer and multi-instrumentalist that spent his years as a sound engineer building ‘a large and well-ordered collection of things that make noise’.The cover of his new album shows a colourful machine room (Google, obviously) that is as playful as it is well-ordered and clean.

    And so is his music: a massive collection of inventive samples ordered together in playful and bright-sounding compositions, backed by well-ordered yet somewhat unconventional rhythm patterns. There are many things to discover in this lively demonstration that experimental music does not need to be heavyweight, dark and incomprehensible, but can be fun to listen to without becoming too simplistic.

  8. Chain D.L.K.

    The follow-up of last year's ‘Audible Life’ is presented as "the story of a hard day's work" based on "the author's experience in labouring and carpentry" and is "a metaphor for our relentless drive for success". From a musical perspective this is something that could be classified as 'glitch-pop' or 'ambient-pop' as the experience is depicted with short tracks whose themes are absolutely catchy.

    A track like "The Scenic Route" opens this release setting a musical structure where melodic appeal and rhythmic intensity sustain each other. While "Generating" develops the rhythmic elements using short samples, "Ideas of Steel Chord" develops the melodic element resulting in something between a pop song and an ambient track. A guitar loop is the main element of the first part of "Break it Down, Build it Better" while the second part is based upon the arrangement of short elements in a rhythmic structure. "Teamwork is Paramount" is almost a dance track while the guitar interlude of "Chiseling the Form" breaks a rhythmic development. The ambient miniature of "Need a Minute" is an introduction to "A Fresh Perspective" whose synth is a vague reminiscence of lost times. The aggression of the first part of "The Final Hour" is dissolved in a dreamy second part. "I Earned This" closes this release in a joyful mood.

  9. So What

    È attraverso  un riuscito connubio di pulsazioni ritmiche e accattivanti linee melodiche che Adam Wilkinson, aka Quiet Noise,  ha deciso di raccontare la dura giornata di chi lavora in fabbrica nel suo nuovo album, che rinnova il sodalizio con Audiobulb, etichetta che aveva già pubblicato lo scorso anno  il suo precedente “Audible life”.

    Le undici tracce che costituiscono “Music | Building | Music” ripercorrono ritmi e sensazioni a partire dal brioso ed energico incipit di “The scenic route”, che dimostra subito quanto equilibrio ci sia nelle strutture sonore costruite da Wilkinson. La narrazione procede attraverso momenti in cui le atmosfere claustrofobiche di “Generating”, caratterizzata da battiti ipnotici e ossessivi che restituiscono il senso di alienazione tipica della catena di montaggio, e tracce in cui prevale una dimensione melodica più luminosa e trascinante (“Ideas of steel chord”, “Break it down, build it better”). Il nucleo centrale sconfina verso un’elettronica più dance, con l’andamento ritmico che diventa più fluido (“Teamwork is paramount”) o dirompente nel suo incedere irregolare costellato da glitch e interferenze (“Chiselling the form”).  Una componente più ambient si fa presente nel dittico costituito dal frammento di “Need a minute” e la successiva “A fresh perspective”, ricca di modulazioni sintetiche dal sapore vagamente retrò, che conducono all’andamento inizialmente frenetico di “The final hour” che sfocia in un finale che proietta verso la calda quiete di “I earned this” che con le sue tranquille trame chiude il racconto di questa intensa giornata.

  10. Beat 05

    "Music | Building | Music“ bildet eine Art zeitgemäßes Update zu dem romantisierenden „Days of Future Passed“ Ein Konzeptalbum über der Moody Blues: einen Tag in der Fabrik, vom Weg zur Arbeit über die Produktion bis hin zum Gefühl, sich den Feierabend verdient zu haben. Die Musik verarbeitet die klanglichen Inspirati- onen sehr explizit, von stählernen Sounds über kontrolliert stotternde Beats bis hin zu berauschend schönen, sanft anschwel- lenden Streichersätzen. Menschliches und Maschinelles verschmelzen zu Kompositio- nen, die einen tief berühren, ohne dass man jemals ganz genau sagen könnte, warum.