Mental Radio (Audio)

Jan 15, 2021
Created by Charles Amirkhanian (1994). Introduced by Jess Speer.

Charles Amirkhanian’s 1994 piece Mental Radio is made up of several movements, primarily of sound collage and sound poetry, prominently featuring Amirkhanian’s rhythmic and mesmerizing text-sound composition style alongside sampled field recordings. The effect showcases Amirkhanian’s experience as a radio producer, sounding very much like a great set on a radio show. The piece includes recordings of lectures by musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky in honor of his centenary. Slonimsky references Amirkhanian’s own work and comments on the evolving relationship of audiences and critics with avant-garde compositions, turning the piece into a commentary on itself before the radio show has moved on, continuing to play with sound, text and rhythm. Equal parts playful and thought-provoking, the piece leaves the listener surprised that phrases can become earworms as much as melodies, and pondering how the piece itself has and will age over time. - Introduced Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.