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The Radio Art Hour: Short Waves / Long Distance Part One

Mar 12, 2022: 3pm - 4pm
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Standing Wave Radio

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Produced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellows and Artistic Director Tom Roe.

Wave Farm, Montez Press Radio, and The North American Shortwave Association presented “Short Waves / Long Distance,” an open call for works exploring the sonics of the shortwave radio spectrum (2-30 mHz), and the experience of long distance listening on March 4, 2022. This is Part One of two parts.

Selected Works:
Stephen Bradley's freeze.THAW
In my recent sonic composition, freeze.THAW, I investigate a virtual SDR dynamic filter to detune the signals of distant webSDR shortwave signals as a form of an audio readymade, grounding the shortwave soundscape within a universe of modulating low and mid-frequencies.

Chelidon Frame's A Circle Has No End
My sound explorations are divided between electroacoustic composition - with the use of radio noises, found sounds, and synthesizers - and data signification, where code interprets data and turns it into sound. “A Circle Has No End” is part of the audio project FLATLINE VOYAGES, where I explore the connections between drone music and short wave radio fragments, collected during lockdown.

Jeff Economy's Orthicon Ghost
My piece is titled Orthicon Ghost. An orthicon tube is a bit of television imaging equipment from the 1950s, I first learned of them from a punchline on Ernie Kovacs’ show. I may be conflating TV and radio paradigms here, but to me it’s all one big signal — the difference is that with radio, you make your own pictures. Broadcast signals often compete for dominance, but in the end the hand on the tuner — the house — always wins.

Jonny Farrow's Circuits±Waves
Circuits±Waves is comprised of a mix of various shortwave radio recordings captured in the United Arab Emirates. In one sense the work is location specific, but it is also outward reaching, defying the curvature of the earth. The act of tuning a shortwave receiver allows one to directly connect to the global, the cosmic, the electromagnetic. As an artist working with this material I am just as much interested in what is between broadcasts as the broadcasts themselves.

Jill Freidberg's El trabajo y la paz
This is a composition I made using recordings from Radio Sandino, the night that Somoza surrendered and left Nicaragua. I chose the Radio Sandino shortwave recording because it reminded me of the year I spent documenting a popular uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006, when a people’s movement occupied several radio stations and used them to organize and mobilize people all over the state. We listened to the occupied radio stations day and night, and the sound would often blend with the sounds of rural and urban Oaxaca…rain, birds, farm animals. It’s such a strange and comforting experience to listen to something urgent and human while, at the same time, hearing the undisturbed sounds of a natural environment. 

I also did a lot of reading about the clandestine radio stations of Central American resistance movements in the 80s (Radio Sandino, Radio Venceremos), and learned that they often broadcast from very remote locations, literally hiding in the jungle, and the communities that tuned in to their broadcasts were also often in remote, rural locations. The composition I’ve put together is what I imagine it might have sounded like that night that Somoza left Nicaragua, as people all over the country tuned in from their communities, celebrated, listened to the rain, and wondered what would come next. This composition includes recordings I made of accordion and water harp using a LOM Geofon seismic microphone.

Glass Salt's Shooting Star
Glass Salt is an experimental music and sound duo consisting of singer, producer and improviser Caylie Staples and artist, engineer, and musician Johann Diedrick. Shooting Star is an excerpt from their piece Cove, an hour long radiophonic piece created in December 2021 during their artistic residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island, Canada. In this excerpt, Glass Salt plays music on the beach and using radio transmitters to broadcast the sounds of the Harvester, a custom hand-held sampler and synthesizer, as well as interacting with the different snippets from radio stations captured on this beach at the tip of the island just south of Toronto. These radio transmissions are accompanied by the sounds of the immediate environment- quiet singing, waves from Lake Ontario, and planes flying overhead. The piece uses radio waves to both receive and interact with transmissions coming from a long distance, as well as to make the sounds they create in their immediate environment audible - short waves revealing what is present both near and far.

Magz Hall's Waves of Resistance Tonnta Friotaíochta Radio Art with out Boundaries
Waves of Resistance (Radio Art with out Boundaries) is in Galiac and English, and was recorded in Canterbury UK and on the Celtic explorer marine ship out on the Atlantic Ocean off the Irish coast. It features the voices of Mairead Ni Chroninin and Alexandra Jueno and was originally commissioned by Louise Manifold for Galway 2020 as a micro broadcast across the Aran island of Innis Orr. Waves of Resistance considers how radio helps us with forced isolation and how visible and invisible boundaries can be broken via radio waves as an act of resistance. And was inspired by the kitchen table broadcasts of Galway women’s pirate radio activist Margareta D'Arcy.

Gregory Kramer's Remote Regions
Remote Regions was composed by Gregory Kramer (Philadelphia, PA) using shortwave radio recordings, and two synthesizers, including a homemade, drone remote control-housed synth which receives infrared remote control signals. The remote control synth was also built by Gregory.

Ian Moorhead's Shortwave (Part 2)
Shortwave is a new work inspired by coded and clandestine radio broadcasts in Australia, including: Cherry Ripe - a number station that transmitted from the Northern Territory until 2009; Radio Maubere - a Timorese radio station that communicated with activists in Darwin following the invasion of East Timor; and JN-25 – coded Japanese messages intercepted by radio units across northern Australia during WW2.

Welcome to "The Radio Art Hour," a show where art is not just on the radio, but is the radio. "The Radio Art Hour" draws from the Wave Farm Broadcast Radio Art Archive, an online resource that aims to identify, coalesce, and celebrate historical and contemporary international radio artworks made by artists around the world, created specifically for terrestrial AM/FM broadcast, whether it be via commercial, public, community, or independent transmission. Come on a journey with us as radio artists explore broadcast radio space through poetic resuscitations and playful celebrations/subversions of the complex relationship between senders and receivers in this hour of radio about radio as an art form. "The Radio Art Hour" features introductions from Philip Grant and Tom Roe, and from Wave Farm Radio Art Fellows Karen Werner, Jess Speer, and Andy Stuhl. The Conet Project's recordings of numbers radio stations serve as interstitial sounds. Go to wavefarm.org for more information about "The Radio Art Hour" and Wave Farm's Radio Art Archive.

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