Noel Griffin composes electronic music that merges a range of genres. His musical influences include: Autechre, Mogwai, Cocteau Twins, Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Jon Hopkins, Boards Of Canada, Nils Frahm and Four Tet. His music is often described as "visual".
Originally from a rural part of Strabane, a border town in N.Ireland, he was first introduced to recording at an early age while helping his father produce a tape of newspaper articles, field recordings and music for the sight impaired. He also developed an escapist affection for film soundtracks, often capturing them from television onto a mono-cassette recorder and later cutting/splicing them together to form his own "soundtracks". This activity established his compositional processes.
He relocated to England in 1987 to escape the Troubles, severe unemployment and to pursue a career in graphic design. This move enabled him to further explore his musical interests and eventually make a living from teaching music. Gaining a first-class degree in Music Composition and Professional Practice in 2013 fuelled an intense period of creativity. He produces from his loft studio in Northampton and has just finished his latest album SENTIENT LIFE - an electronic homage to his favourite sci-fi films/books/80s arcade games (and musical therapy for a severe period of tinnitus).
From Noise To Music - The Making Of SENTIENT LIFE
Noel Griffin has suffered from mild pulsatile tinnitus since childhood. He would often lie awake in bed listening to the internal whooshing sounds and at other times, awaken thinking someone, or something, was lurking in the dark. However, nothing would prepare him for the extremes he experienced in March 2017. Upon arriving home from work one evening, intense noise comparable to a jet engine began roaring in his head. Bi-lateral high-pitched screeching and ringing modulated from ear to ear. Conversations, phone calls and music became imperceptible, and sleeping was near impossible. Hyperacrusis also increased his sensitivity to certain frequencies and volume ranges of sound, resulting in intolerable agony. This disturbing period initiated a vicious spiral into isolation and depression.
Having forgone any social events, and a break from his job as a music teacher, Noel decided to take action and find a road to recovery. He adjusted his diet, employed CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy), sound therapy (white noise masking/residual inhibition) and read intensively about the condition. He experimented with various medications, often to his detriment. He also rediscovered his interest in futurism, both in literature and film, and found solace and distraction in its themes.
Following six months of gradual improvement and some attenuation of the tinnitus, he decided to compose SENTIENT LIFE as a form of extended therapy and to a lesser extent, a homage to his favourite sci-fi films/books/80s arcade games - there is strong evidence that creating music, customised to filter out the frequency of ringing experienced by the tinnitus sufferer, can retrain neurons and reduce symptoms. The initial stages offered relief, however, certain frequencies seemed to exasperate the condition and mixing was primarily guesswork. Nevertheless, he persevered and with the help of spectral analysis, was able to complete the first track of the album. Incorporating masking sounds into successive tracks with subtle manipulation, gave the project an element of personal substance as well. This achievement offered rigour to complete more tracks until he had the first draught of an album. Despair and isolation had been re-energised into something positive.
For release the week of April 30th
SENTIENT LIFE Review
“...fusing heavy electronica and ambient elements with real instruments that are recorded in unusual ways. The result is something that feels like an alien planet, grown from Earth seeds...a robotic yet human experience full of great rhythms and catchy motifs and melodies. For those who love electronica, you have a new man on your radar”