Peter Gabriel: inspired by shortwave radio

Peter Gabriel Photo by By Skoll World Forum (Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship Ceremony) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter Gabriel Photo by By Skoll World Forum (Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship Ceremony) via Wikimedia Commons

SWLing Post reader, Chris, writes:

Your recent post about John Lennon triggered my memory about an interview I heard years ago with Peter Gabriel. He too had a fascination with Shortwave Radio listening and it inspired some of his music. 

Chris then shared a link to the following promotional video for the Real World 25 music collection with Peter Gabriel’s introduction:

“I was listening to shortwave radio in a village about seven miles away from here. As night came, you’d suddenly pick up all sorts of radio stations that you couldn’t in daylight. So that was quite mysterious to me and beguiling…and I would explore all sorts of strange sounds, noises and music.”

Real World Records is Peter Gabriel’s label–and Real World 25, a three-disc collection, is the story of their first 25 Years. I listened to samples of songs and purchased my own copy. At $17 US, it was a no-brainer; I love world music (as well as Peter Gabriel’s music) and appreciate anything that Gabriel would consider for his label. (Note: the CD set is actually less expensive than the MP3 album at time of posting.)

Chris also noted this quote from Peter Gabriel, which describes his “obsession” with shortwave radio and its influence on his hit song, “Here Comes The Flood.” Via the website Planet Jeffro:

“When I wrote this song [Here Comes The Flood] I had an obsession with short-wave radio and I was always amazed at the way in which the radio signals would become stronger as daylight faded. I felt as if psychic energy levels would also increase in the night. I had had an apocalyptic dream in which the psychic barriers which normally prevent us from seeing into each others’ thoughts had been completely eroded producing a mental flood. Those that had been used to having their innermost thoughts exposed would handle this torrent and those inclined to concealment would drown in it. (‘Peter Gabriel’ by Armando Gallo, Omnibus Press, 1986.)”

Fascinating! I particularly like this live version of “Here Comes The Flood:”

Chris, I owe you a debt of gratitude: while I’ve been a fan of Peter Gabriel for well over two decades, I never knew about his connection with shortwave radio. Time to revisit some of his tunes with that in mind…

Shortwave Radio Recordings: The Mighty KBC

Kinks_Lola_Uk_CoverLast Sunday, I tuned to The Mighty KBC on 7,375 kHz, starting at 0000 UTC. The KBC signal out of Europe was blow-torch strength.

The Mighty KBC’s Giant Jukebox is chock-full of rock-n-roll and Euro-pop variety, spanning the decades. DJ “Uncle Eric” never disappoints.

If band conditions are as good as last night, you should be able to hear The Mighty KBC quite easily tonight.

In the meantime, here’s a recording from last week to wet your appetite:

Forbes: “How To Make Music (And Money) From Shortwave Radio”

RFNomadModularGridTwo weeks ago, we posted a video of Evaton Technologies RF Nomad: a modular synthesizer that employs shortwave radio to create unique sounds. As someone who has always been fascinating with music and the sonic texture of the shortwaves, of course I find this product fascinating.

Forbes magazine does too. This morning, @UlisK3LU shared an article in Forbes where Russell Hoffman, who runs Evaton Technologies, explains why he believes using shortwave radio in new RF Nomad will be a hit:

“What’s interesting about shortwave radio is that it isn’t necessarily musical by design, but there are interesting sounds to be found when the station tuning is less than perfect,” he said. “You can hear all sorts of sounds on shortwave, from voice, to music, to Morse Code or encoded digital transmissions. In addition to the sounds that are transmitted intentionally, there are sounds that are artifacts of the medium itself like heterodynes, pops, crackles, hiss, static crashes, fading and the like.”

But here’s my favorite bit:

“Shortwave radio has a long and storied history, full of intrigue, espionage, piracy, rebellion, propaganda, and subterfuge,” he added. “It propagates around the world and can be received on inexpensive equipment. It is universal, because it can be heard anywhere; and yet at the same time, in a world of internet, TV, and satellite radio, it is also the underground — a hidden world parallel to that of our daily experiences. It offers an additional perspective.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you, Mr. Hoffman.

Click here to read “How To Make Music (And Money) From Shortwave Radio” in Forbes magazine.

Check out Evaton Technologies and RF Nomad announcements by clicking here.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: The Mighty KBC

"Dad, that's The Mighty KBC! Turn it up!"

“Dad, that’s The Mighty KBC! Turn it up!”

Sunday at 00:00-02:00 UTC, I tuned to 7,375 kHz to listen to The Mighty KBC. This was the first time I tuned to their winter frequency this season and wasn’t sure how strong their signal would be on a relatively noisy night on the bands.

KBC’s signal was blowtorch strength into North America. It could have been easily received on even the most simple of portable radios.

As we’ve come to expect, the Mighty KBC’s Giant Jukebox of music has a lot of rock-n-roll and Euro-pop variety, spanning the decades; DJ, “Uncle Eric” knows how to entertain and spin the tunes! Uncle Eric includes Kim Elliott’s digital text modes in this broadcast–if you missed the live broadcast, you can even decode the messages from the recording below.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Enjoy:

All Night Flight: Weiskopf takes us on an audio journey

ANF_WebI’m a big fan of practically anything that Myke Dodge Weiskopf produces.

We’ve mentioned Myke numerous times on the SWLing Post; based in Los Angeles, California, he’s a radio producer, historian, broadcast artist, multi-instrumentalist, sound recordist, and composer.

Recently, I noticed that one of Myke’s audio mixes, ALL NIGHT FLIGHT, was featured on the über-cool experimental radio broadcast platform, Radius.

In Myke’s artist statement on Radius, he describes this mix simply:

This edition, produced exclusively for Radius, is a 73-minute distillation of the inaugural «ALL NIGHT FLIGHT» performed, created, and mixed live by Myke Dodge Weiskopf in the desert of Joshua Tree, California, on 20 July 2013, 10 PM – 5 AM PST.

I have embedded this mix below, but encourage you to check out Radius for his detailed mix description and Myke’s homepage for details on ALL NIGHT FLIGHT and his other interesting projects.

So, go ahead: put on your headphones, relax in your listening chair, and let Myke take you on an audio journey…

Radio Panik injects shortwave audio into mixes

LetrangerI recently discovered that the radio show L’etranger, on Radio Panik, 105.4 in Brussels, used shortwave radio recordings of pirate radio and numbers stations, from the SWLing Post and other sources, in one of their mixes of eclectic music and sound clips.

The end result is a splendid piece of sonic art.

Note that their audio is only available on archive.org until May 23, 2013. Click here to download the show, or listen via the embedded player below. You can also hear the show on the L’etranger website.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Rádio Nacional da Amazônia

Rio_de_JaneiroLast night, Rádio Nacional da Amazônia had a booming signal into North America on 11,780 kHz. Rádio Nacional’s AM signal was very wide; I actually opened up the filter on my SDR to 16 kHz to record this broadcast. In truth, that’s probably too wide, but it certainly made for great audio fidelity.

So, if you’re in the mood for some Brazilian music and commentary today, this 168 minute recording of Rádio Nacional da Amazônia should satisfy.

This was recorded on Sunday, April 28–starting around 22:15 UTC–on 11.78 MHz. Click here to download the full recording as an MP3 file, or listen in the embedded player below:

Want more Rádio Nacional? Click here for other recordings.