Tag Archives: Shortwave Music

Alan Roe’s updated B18 season guide to music on shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who notes:

I have now compiled my Music on Shortwave listing for the B-18 broadcast
period.

Alan, thanks so much for keeping this brilliant guide updated each broadcast season and for sharing it here with the community!

Click here to download a PDF copy of Alan Roe’s Music on Shortwave B-18.

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Switzerland: Museum Tinguely to host a sonic journey

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Justin Moore, who writes:

This may be of interest to your readers in Switzerland (and nearby!). From Bruce Sterlin’s Beyond the Beyond blog at Wired:

“From October 24, 2018 to January 27, 2019, Museum Tinguely will host a sonic journey giving access to works of radio art from the last hundred years in a unique way. As visitors navigate the space with headphones and specially programmed smartphones, their movements act as “human radio dials,” activating works (current and historical, well-known and unknown) by artists including Antonin Artaud, John Cage and László Moholy-Nagy through to Michaela Mélian, Milo Rau and Natascha Sadr Haghighian. The installation was designed by the artist, architect and musician Cevdet Erek and realized by Meso Digital Interiors. The resulting interplay of sound and space is both technically sophisticated and aesthetically striking, giving visitors an immersive experience of the world of radio. In the second part of the exhibition, diverse aspects of the theme of radio will be discussed in 14 themed weeks, offering visitors a chance to engage and experiment actively with this fascinating medium.

Over the hundred years since its emergence, the radio medium has been explored by musicians, composers, writers, philosophers and fine artists (and many others who do not fit into such categories). They have examined the production of programs, ways of recording, transmitting and receiving, and the possibilities for recording broadcasts. In the first exhibition of its kind, Radiophonic Spaces brings together more than 200 pieces for radio from around the world with the aim of documenting this sustained engagement with the medium by artists of all fields, and allowing visitors to hear it. Unforgettable broadcasts that existed only in obscure archives can be experienced afresh, presenting the history of a medium whose rootedness in actuality means it gives a picture of the century of its existence. The major disasters of the last hundred years are revisited here, as are the great technical and social achievements of the period—to current positions such as Documenta Radio (2017). The “sonic journey” combines artistic approaches to radio art and broadcasting with a scholarly project led by the research group on experimental radio at the Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar. The results of this creative interplay unfold in an immersive journey featuring some 200 gems of international radio art. Historical and contemporary works are related to one another: from Antonin Artaud, John Cage and László Moholy-Nagy through to Michaela Mélian, Milo Rau and Natascha Sadr Haghighian. With the help of a headphone system, visitors gain access to individual works of radio art, triggered by their movements. In a space designed in cooperation with the artist, architect and musician Cevdet Erek and realized by Meso Digital Interiors, visitors immerse themselves acoustically in this art form. This experience resembles the reality of using an actual FM radio: looking for channels until a voice, a piece of music or a sequence of sounds prompts the listener to stay a while longer, or at least to note the frequency so as to be to return to the channel and the voice later. The range of channels on offer is confusing, overwhelming, sometimes too much, but it reflects both the sprawling variety that characterizes the medium and the possibility to decide quickly what to listen to.”

Radiophonic spaces at Museum Tinguely

https://www.tinguely.ch/en/ausstellungen/ausstellungen/2018/radiophonic-spaces.html

Many thanks for the tip, Justin!

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Bruce’s shortwave music is influenced by Holger Czukay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Atchison, who shares the following in response to our recent post about musician Holger Czukay:

I love Holger Czukay’s music, especially with CAN. I especially love the
song, “Animal Waves.”

I also incorporated shortwave sounds in my own music.

Here are video links to my YouTube page which might interest you.

CHU Canada

Click here to view on YouTube.

A Short Wave to Shortwave

Click here to view on YouTube.

Stop Listening Now

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks for sharing your work, Bruce! Very cool! I need to get you in touch with David Goren for inclusion in a future Shortwave Shindig!

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Holger Czukay: another musician fascinated with shortwave

Holger Czukay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and resident shortwave music specialist, Justin Moore, for sharing the following from his blog, Sothis Medias:

Holger Czukay was another musician who was fascinated with the sounds of shortwave listening. He brought his love of radio and communications technology on board with him when he helped to found the influential krautrock band Can in 1968. Shortwave listening continued to inform Czukay’s musical practice in his solo and other collaborative works later in his career. It all got started when he worked at a radio shop as a teenager.

Holger had been born in the Free City of Danzig in 1938, the year before the outbreak of World War II. In the aftermath of the war his family was expelled from the city when the Allies dissolved its status as free city-state and made it become a part of Poland. Growing up in those bleak times his formal primary education was limited, but he made up for it when he found work at a radio repair shop. He had already developed an interest in music and one his ideas was to become a conductor, but fate had other plans for him. Working with the radios day in and day out he developed a fondness for broadcast radio. In particular he found unique aural qualities in the static and grainy washes of the radio waves coming in across the shortwave bands. At the shop he also became familiar with basic electrical repair work and rudimentary engineering. All of this would serve him well when building the studio for Can. In his work with the band he not only played bass and other instruments but acted as the chief audio engineer.

Click here to read the full article at Sothis Medias.

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Justin Moore on Making Music with Radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Justin Patrick Moore (KE8COY), who is a radio host, radio enthusiast and musician. At my request, Justin has shared the following article excerpts from his blog that discuss the convergence of music and radio:


Imaginary Landscapes

The development of telecommunications technology and electronic circuits had a major impact on the creation of new musical instruments from the very beginning, but it was only in 1951 that a composer first got the idea that the radio itself could be used as a musical instrument.  Since then the use of radio as a source for live, unpredictable sound, music, and voice has become commonplace across the genres of contemporary classical music, and various styles of electronic, rock and pop music. Using the radio as an instrument has become part of what composer Alvin Curran has called a “new common practice” and is just one of many methods being used to create the sonic backdrop of the landscape we now inhabit in this age of electronic multimedia.

“It’s not a physical landscape. It’s a term reserved for the new technologies. It’s a landscape in the future. It’s as though you used technology to take you off the ground and go like Alice through the looking glass.” John Cage wrote this about his series of Imaginary Landscape compositions. Imaginary Landscape No. 4 was first performed in 1951 and is scored for 12 radios played by 24 musicians, two on each radio, one to control the tuning, the other to control the volume. It is a great example of indeterminate music. The only guarantee about the piece is that no performance of it will never be heard the same way. This is guaranteed because John incorporates chance operations to determine how much the dials of each radio are to be turned by each performer. The novelty of each performance is also guaranteed by the nature of radio itself. Depending on the place and time of a performance, the things coming out of the radio speakers are going to be different. During its premier concert at Columbia University’s McMillin Theater those in the audience heard the word “Korea” over and over again, as well as snippets of a Mozart violin concerto, news about baseball, static, and silence. The performance took place around midnight and many of the stations in New York had already gone off the air for the night.  Of course the silence never bothered Cage, who considered  in an integral part of the experience. He had said that “silence, to my mind is as much a part of music as sound.”

Read the full article at Sothis Medias.

The Radiophonic Laboratory

Radio is the perfect medium for the diffusion of electronic music. The unpredictable sounds coming from radios are also a perfect source material. In many cases the production studios available at broadcast facilities made them the first laboratories for the scientific investigation of sound, for the sole purpose of making music, to be used by electronic music pioneers. Likewise these stations became the first to introduce electronic and other avant-garde music to the public. Such was the case with Westdeutscher Rundfunk, or WDR, the German public broadcasting institution located in Cologne. Their Studio for Electronic Music was the first of its kind in the world and became an epicenter for musicians working in the new medium. On the broadcasting side the WDR promoted new music through unique programming that included radio lectures, the playing of live and recorded music, and commissioning new works from composers working in the field.

Read the full article at Sothis Medias.

Telemusik

As the world caught wind of the work being done at the WDR’s Electronic Music Studio, other radio stations and broadcasting corporations followed suit. NHK (Nippon HosoKyokai) in Japan built their electronic music studio in 1955, directly modeling it on the one at WDR. In 1958 the BBC created their famous Radiophonic Workshop. (I blame starting to watch Doctor Who as a ten year old, with its strange soundtrack and incidental music, for what became my lifelong fascination with electronic music.) The studio at NHK was just over ten years old when they invited Karlheinz Stockhausen over to work there and create two pieces for their airwaves.

When he arrived in Japan Karlheinz was severely jet lagged and disoriented. For several days he couldn’t sleep. That’s when the strange hallucinatory visions set in. Laying awake in bed one night his mind was flooded with ideas of  “technical processes, formal relationships, pictures of the notation, of human relationships, etc.—all at once and in a network too tangled up to be unraveled into one process.” These musings of the night took on a life of their own and from them he created Telemusik.

Read the full article at Sothis Medias.

Kurzwellen

Starting in the early 1960s Karlheinz Stockhausen composed several instrumental works which he called “process compositions”. These did away with traditional stave notation and instead used symbols including plus, minus, and equal signs that indicated the successive transformations of sounds that were otherwise unspecified or unforeseeable by the composer. In this way he brings elements of improvisation into the fold of Western classical music where the strict adherence to a fixed score left little room for interpretation by musicians. The scores in his process pieces don’t dictate specific notes or ways of playing but rather specify the way a sound is to be changed or imitated. Taking a cue from his studies of information theory Stockhausen created a way of writing music that is similar to computer programming. The program “determines the way information is processed while leaving the choice of information to be processed to the individual user.” (Maconie 1990, 156-157)

Stockhausen’s process pieces include Plus-Minus (1963), Prozession (1967), Kurzwellen, and Spiral (both 1968). Eventually they led to the text based processes of his intuitive music compositions in the cycles Aus den sieben Tagen (1968) and Für kommende Zeiten (1968–70).

Kurzwellen (Short waves), the third of the process pieces also marks the beginning of Stockhausen’s magnificent voyage using shortwave receivers as a medium for musical transportation. The formal procedures in Kurzwellen (and the others) are fixed. Stockhausen thinks of these not as fixed in the way Beethoven’s Fifth symphony is a fixed piece that will sound the same to a greater or larger degree from recording to recording or performance to performance. Only the processes themselves are fixed. These are indicated primarily by plus, minus, and equal signs and constitute the composition.

Yet the sound materials themselves, like the knobs on the tuners, are variable. The process scores can be followed and bring about very different results each time they are played and yet somehow still sound similar. The sound material coming in from the shortwave radios is unpredictable. Yet the prescribed processes themselves can be heard from one performance to another as being “the same”. These developments in musical theory and practice make live performances and new recordings exciting events.

Read the full article at Sothis Medias.

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