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The name Tinnitus came about from a tape recording about the medical condition of tinnitus, which was incorporated into one of their earliest recordings. Hodgson: “We liked the idea that the experience was a very subjective experience. Therefore, what we were doing was for us, but if you heard it, you’d have your own take on it.”

AudioCulture Profile on Tinnitus

Formed in Christchurch, but eventually Auckland-based production outfit that featured a young Michael Hodgson, along with audio production assistance from Angus McNaughten (Unitone HiFi). They released a compilation on Flying Nun Records that was a retrospective from over a decade of multimedia performances that had previously been release in extremely limited DIY capacity.

As a collective Tinnitus were interested in bands like Throbbing Gristle, Coil, SPK, The Anti Group, the On-U Sound label etc., but their music was not derivative of any of the aforementioned. “We were more ambient or soundscape than industrial,” says McNaughton.

AudioCulture Profile on Tinnitus

Visual manipulation had always played a large part in Tinnitus performances and the early 90’s was the perfect time to explore the role of the VJ within the arts and live music scene. Over the next few years Michael provided visual enhancement for performances by the Headless Chickens, Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, Supergroove, Not Really Anything and many others.

Club Bizarre

Tinnitus were extremely prolific between their formation in 1986 and the end of the 1980’s, and developed their interactive performance element with each appearance:

Numerous other collaborators would come into the Tinnitus fold for performances and audience members walking into a Tinnitus performance would be enveloped by a loud sound system accompanied with multiple visual projections, oscilloscopes, rotating cameras, or sometimes dancers or painters. A backing tape would be played with live percussion and other instruments fed into a dub matrix, as well as feeding in signals from contact microphones they placed throughout the venue. Tinnitus had an inclusive philosophy — the audience was encouraged to engage with the audio-generating elements in the space.

AudioCulture profile on Tinnitus

In 1992 Hodgson started releasing dub remix albums under the name of Projector Mix, working with the likes of the Hallelujah Picassos, DLT and (most notably) Salmonella Dub, which would eventually led to the birth of the duo Pitch Black with Paddy Free.



  • Tinnitus (1985, Self-Released)
  • Fire In Red Desert (1986, Self-Released)
  • Come (1986, Self-Released)
  • Alive NYE 1986/7 (1987, Self-Released)
  • Not for cooks (1987, Self-Released)
  • Untamed (1987, Self-Released)
  • Central Delivery (1987, Self-Released)
  • X- Spiritualistic Function 23 (1987, Self-Released)
  • Ringing In Your Ear (1987, Self-Released)
  • Subjective Experience For The Inside Of Your Head (1988, Self-Released)
  • Firepower (1988, Self-Released)
  • Affliction Addiction (1991, Self-Released)
  • ‘Necessary Tension’/’Fire Power’/’In The Air’ Cassette Single (1992, Flying Nun Records, FN134)
  • Futures Past Alive And Studio ’86-’91 (1992, Flying Nun Records, FN156)


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