TransSonic Awakenings in D

Douglas Hedwig

Before the advent of the Internet, short-wave radio broadcasts brought sounds and ideas from around the world to anyone with a radio and antennae. TranSonic Awakenings in D is an electro-acoustic composition in three sections, inspired by the fascinating, and often mysterious sounds and diverse languages associated with short-wave radio broadcasts and audio transmissions. The opening of the work thrusts the listener into an alternate sound/space/time dimension, a world organized and experienced through the medium of radio waves. Before digital tuning in receivers, manual tuning of radio frequencies was necessary. So, interspersed throughout this section we hear a pastiche of tuning sounds over a bed of tonal pulsation. For the middle section, the composer has recorded fragments of radio “call-signs,” typically used at the start and end of scheduled short-wave broadcast cycles; in this case, from Argentina. The final section begins with another immediate thrust back into the alternate world in which the work started, but this time, out of the cacophony of sound we hear the reassuring sound of Medieval church bells in central Italy with which the composition concludes.