Tag Archives: Shortwave Music

Orchestral music on shortwave?

Photo: Thomas Fries / License: cc-by-sa-3.0 de

Photo: Thomas Fries / License: cc-by-sa-3.0 de

SWLing Post reader, Eric (w4OTN/3), asks:

Years ago I loved tuning in Radio Bulgaria and listening to their orchestra play. The ether would deliver the beautiful music to my ears with some fading at times but I loved listening to it. That is, of course, until they stopped broadcasting. I’ve tried to find an alternative without success.

I wonder if you know of any shortwave station that still broadcast orchestras?

Thanks,
Eric W4OTN/3

Any suggestions for Eric?  Please comment with details!

Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and shortwave radio

YankeeHotelFoxtrot

After posting our articles about Joe Strummer and Peter Gabriel, Mike Barraclough writes:

“Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is my favourite shortwave radio related album, I was a fan of the band anyway so when I read about the theme I was really looking forward to the album and was not disappointed.

Reprise rejected it for not being radio-friendly, somewhat ironic given the theme, after streaming it free they released it through Nonesuch to critical acclaim and is to date their best selling one.

“On YHF, Wilco use short-wave radio as a metaphor for communication in a relationship. Short-wave radio allows people to speak who are not in physical proximity, but there’s no guarantee that the coded messages will be received successfully, and atmospheric interference is a given. People involved in a relationship often find their communication imperfect and cryptic, not unlike the experience of those relying on radio. After all, language itself is inherently flawed, inaccurate, and misread—a code often misinterpreted; further complicating matters are external distortions and distractions—a metaphoric radio static. With all of this interference, can we ever succeed in communicating with someone else?”

[Quote taken from this article.]

I later went to see them live at the Hammersmith Apollo.

My favourite track, Poor Places, includes the Irdial recording of the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot numbers stations fading in at the end on top of the music. They hadn’t sought permission to use this so Irdial sued them for copyright breach and won, think it was an out of court settlement. Halfway through the gig they started playing this number, I was waiting with great anticipation for the numbers station recording to fade in during the closing of the song, one I remembered hearing regularly on shortwave from back in the 60s, but was disappointed, just noise came up over the music. Guess the out of court settlement meant a ban on using it live.

Many thanks for sharing this, Mike! I like Wilco too, though haven’t seen them live yet–but I hold out hope as they have been known to venture into my part of the world.

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.