This evening at 9.20pm we feature ‘Volcanic Lungs’ by Marcelo Armani – a sound piece composed of field recordings made on a beach formed by volcanic spill, located on the Reunion island, France during October / November 2013. The soil of this place presents porous stones containing small holes inside formed by the abrupt cooling of volcanic lava meeting with the waters of the Indian Ocean. The composition depicts a typical and unique acoustic landscape: blows, bubbles, water, the continuous movement of natural actions that are encroaching on this coast. A “lung” that inspires and expires continuity of these gestures, while silence conducts the mountain.
To bring our week long broadcast to a close we present a new piece by Robin the Fog, produced especially for Radiophrenia – ‘Mount Shock – Music for Microphone Cradle’ will be aired at approximately ten to midnight tonight.
This composition is created from a single recording of a creaking microphone cradle in the BBC’s New Broadcasting House. Cracks have already begun to appear in this recently opened state of the art complex, but from this unwanted disturbance to an acoustically treated environment a surprisingly rich and harmonious accidental soundscape has emerged. Five copies of this recording were played back simultaneously, each with slightly different adjustments in pitch so that they fell in and out of sync with one-another, creating random melodic and harmonic patterns. Other than some judicious editing, no computer effects or artificial reverb have been used.
Robin The Fog is a sound artist and radio producer whose work blurs the boundary between documentary, musique concrete, and field recording, both independently and as part of the reel-to-reel tape wrangling duo Howlround. His biggest fear is being swallowed by a python, though being based in London he admits the contingency is a remote one.
On our final night of broadcasts ‘ROW’ at 11.30pm takes us to the Wadden sea in company with a Dutch ram team during their training. The recording was made by Andreas Oskar Hirsch, who says “the focus of the piece is on the coxswain’s commands which resemble a funk singer’s ones and which make the team become one body working their way through the waters”.
Team: Roeiteam Terschelling Recreatie
Steersman: Cees Plug
Rowers: Iense Roos, Rein Jan Buren, Iemke Ruijg, Jelle Cupido, Cor Langerak, Rik Plug, Jauk Hek
Recording & Editing: Andreas Oskar Hirsch 2011 / 2014
With friendly support by Stichting Oerol & with special thanks to Joop Mulder & Jelle Cupido.
On Saturday morning we featured a new work, presented live in the studio by the producers Christian Ahlborn and Frauke Berg. Christian explains more about the ideas that informed the piece:Germans are not very experienced in public controversy and normally do everything to avoid it. Especially if it might spoil our self-image as a democratic “model student” . So we avoided a common dispute on migration, integration, our self-conception as nation in a unified Europe, gender mainstreaming and many other potentially contrivers topics in the last decades.
Now this dislocations brake open in rallies and manifestations which appears to be a divide in the recent german history. They call them self PEGIDA “Patriotic europeans against the islamic influence on the occident” (which held the biggest rally in the german post-reunification era). They are a extremely heterogeneous fusion from frustrated middle class citizen, over fundamental religious movements, right wing splinter parties to hardcore neo-nazis.
Using field-recordings from the Düsseldorf PEGIDA and DÜGIDA events , a hint of soundclips from Godard’s “Weekend”, and a live sampling of music and sound fragments from Frauke Berg, “Fatherland” is an attempt of an acoustic approach on the strange clash of antipodal world views in the streets of Düsseldorf.
Frauke Berg: live sampling & musical parts
Christian Ahlborn: field recordings, concept, editing
Thomas Frank: concept, editing
Matti Rouse: Voice-over
Thomas Frank / Bochum
Radio Journalist (focused on arts & culture coverage) for the WDR & Deutschlandfunk
Christian Ahlborn / Düsseldorf:
Radio Journalist ( media, culture & society topics, also working in the field of mayor radio features) graphic-designer, photojournalist, co-designed a participative art installation for the memorial site of the former sinagogue Marburg
Frauke Berg / Düsseldorf:
In her artistic works Frauke Berg interweaves animations and drawings with her voice and electronic sounds. She published a vinyl record “Ten little Bugs” on the Düsseldorf independent label “Slowboy Records”. Together with the composer and musician Anja Lautermann she founded the sound-performance project “Studium Stadt” using field recordings mixed with voice, analogue sounds an animations.
We have about 45 different jingles which you will hear during our broadcasts. If its a piece of carefully constructed abstract noise its probably been made by Mark Vernon. If it features samples from seventies sitcoms then it will have been haphazardly cobbled together by Barry Burns. And if its a beautifully crafted piece reminiscent of the glory days of the Radiophonic Workshop then it will have been made by Jez Butler of The Twelve Hour Foundation.
As well as the jingles, we’re playing lots of short works by Jez in the various compilations of short works dotted around our schedule.
Here’s Jez on his inspiration: “Having heard John Baker on a Woman’s Hour interview from 1968, explaining how he created the sounds to create his radio jingles I decided to use a sampler to create the same palette. The results were surprisingly close, so I took the idea further and created an album, each piece taking between 1/2 hour and 2 hours to write and record. All tracks (apart from the electronic demos) were created using nothing but homemade samples of household objects being struck, blown or ‘twanged’. Track 10 comprises nothing but sounds made by the human body”. The lighter side of concrete.
Following requests to play live, Jez formed the Twelve Hour Foundation (with Polly Hulse). They’re working on a new live set which incorporates vintage synthesizers – kind of late ’70s time-capsules – in order to avoid the computer/midi setup required to replicate the album.
In Thursday’s Clear Spot at 10.30am Zoe Irvine explores the slightly sinister world of voice analysis in a 3-part work, ‘Lies and Other Truths’
“Lies and Other Truths is part of my ongoing fascination with voice analysis software – Nemesysco’s Layered Voice Analysis – http://www.nemesysco.com/ When I heard about the widespread use of this I was intrigued but also sceptical. I first used it to make quite an abstract piece, exploring the poetic idea that it would be possible to have ‘true’ sound and the sound of ‘lies’. I worked with an oral history archive in Brussels and made a soundscape and monologue which I’ve performed live in Brussels as part of Tuned City 2013 and in Dundee in 2014.
This year I have used this same technology to analyse my own voice from recordings of my mobile calls for a work called Your Voice is You which is accessed by calling (Commissioned by FCA&C as part of Portraits+ – link http://www.fcac.co.uk/event/portraits/). Making this work was startling and confronting because of course I had opinions about my emotional state in the recordings that were either backed up or in conflict with the software’s analysis. Instead of feeling like I’ve come to the end of exploring this I feel I’ve got more I’d like to do. Lies and Other Truths, the piece I made for Radiophrenia with George and Subramaniam is the start of the next direction I’d like to go in. We set about recording and analysing our conversation. We didn’t know each other particularly to start with so the questions are those of initial encounter, who are you? where do you come from? what are you doing/ interested in? We knew of course that the answers were being analysed using LVA which adds a certain stress or anxiety. It also made me think about trust and truth. Trust in people, trust in memory, everyday lies we tell others and ourselves to make life run smoothly, it also made me think about moments of betrayal or times when I have misread and misjudged people and situations. This is the direction I’d like to take the work now. I’d like to record a series of conversations that reflect on trust, that are then analysed in the same way as Lies and Other Truths.”
At 12.30pm today Catriona Shaw presents a new radio play titled ‘Mein Name Gisela DK9JE’. More details below:
“I’ve been doing quite a lot of research into ham radio and recently stumbled across a couple of SSTV images featuring a woman called Gisela, call sign DK9JE. After a little more investigation, I found this post on a forum:
Hallo Gerd, Du wirst es wohl nicht glauben, aber manchmal schaue ich zu, was Theo so am PC macht. Das ist eine gute Sache, denn dann geht er nicht so oft in den Keller zum Bier trinken hi. vy 73 GiselaDK9JE
It says ‘hello Gerd – you won’t believe it but I’m sometimes watching what Theo gets up to on the PC. Its good, because then he doesn’t go down to the cellar so often to drink beer.’
Mein Name Gisela DK9JE is An experimental radio play featuring the character Gisela, a YL living in Berlin. The play is made up of a mix of narrated text and SSTV sound signals and images. Gisela DK9J is a middle‐aged woman whose husband, OM Theo, is more interested in his hobby (and beer) than in interacting with his wife. As her relationship with OM Theo fades, she whiles her time away communicating with ham radio antenna she finds erected throughout the city. If she can talk to the antenna, the physical forms housing her husband’s voice, then maybe there’s still hope for reconciliation.
The piece is a combination of fiction and reality. Gisela’s story is (partially) concocted, but the dialogue she has with the antenna is essentially the sound of B/W sketches and detailed observations of real ham radio aerials around Berlin, converted into bitmap images and transcoded into SSTV sound signals. Using the program MMSSTV, Gisela’s shrill, ca. 8-second dialogue can be decoded and Viewed live during the broadcast.”
For those listeners who are up for the challenge the SSTV signal files can be downloaded here:
Its only compatible with PC. Its very simple to use. Download, install, open – ignore the box that says enter call sign (just click enter to make it go away). Then click on the ‘RX’ tab above the graphics box and click on ‘Auto’ to the right of that. Click on ‘Lock’ at the bottom. Then go to file and select ‘Play sound from file…’ – then you select one of the .mmv files. The image will start to show up slowly as the program decodes the signal.
Here is an example of a sketch that Gisela would speak.
At 11.30am on Monday we follow the journey of a box of 78’s with sound artist DinahBird.
This is the story of a box, a leather box that is over eighty years old and has lived in three different countries, and on two different continents. It contains over fifty 78 rpm recordings of classical music and opera hits of the day. The box and its contents were inherited by my grandmother who was born on the Gulf Islands, British Columbia, in 1910. She grew up on Salt Spring. She took the box with her when she left the island in 1925 and carried it to her various adult homes until her death in 2000. In September 2012 I retraced the box’s long journey and took the records back to the island where they were first played. This is the main piece A Box of 78s = 24 mins, on the other side is a series of locked grooves. I would like the same copy of the record to be relayed between the different partner radio stations, so that no single broadcast sounds the same. The radio station or programme maker therefore has to agree to receive the record, play it within a certain time frame, and then send it on by post to the next radio station, at his/her own charge. The scratches formed en route will become part of the piece, mirroring the journey my grandmother’s records made. I will also ask each station that plays the record to fill in a listening log, a bit like the piece of paper that used to get stamped when you took a book out of the library. You can see the journey the record has taken so far below.
DinahBird is a sound and radio artist living and working in Paris. She makes radio programmes, audio publications, installations, and soundtracks. Recent commissions include Dakar Morning Birds, a radio installation that transposed the dawn chorus of the Senegalese capital to an inner city garden in Northern Paris and east Berlin, and Topographies Nocturnes, a radio art project for which she won the prestigious Prix Luc Ferrari. She has just released A Box of 78s, her first solo vinyl radio work on Gruenrekorder. Works have been played on BBCRadio4, France Culture’s Atelier de Création Radiophonique, Resonance FM, Kunst Radio, and through the Radia networkand have been presented at radio festivals in over twenty countries around the world. She has performed live in the Pompidou Centre and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris and is presently employed by the Paris Museum of Modern Art to develop a programme of sound workshops in correlation to their permanent and temporary collections.
On mainstream radio certain pieces of music are played regularly at specific times. This is a way of quickly identifying which station you’re tuned to and as a way of marking the time. On Radio 4 for example, think of Sailing By with its repetitive and somehow reassuring tune, played every night at 00:45. Here on Radiophenia we have our own station idents that will play each day at midnight and midday. These are recording of howler monkeys made by Stephen Hurrel. He says:
“These are recordings I made whilst travelling down the Usumacinta River in Mexico – on a Clipperton expedition last year. The howler monkeys create an amazing deep, primal growling, scraping sound that seems to travel across distance within the forest. The monkeys themselves are quite small but their sound is big. These sounds happen at dawn and at dusk. It’s a way of communicating their territory; Male howler monkeys use their big voices to defend their turf. Howls by one troop are answered by other males within earshot. Every-one starts and ends the day by checking out where their nearest competitors are. In this way, they protect the food in their territory. It’s an important job because their diet is made up mostly of leaves—not a particularly nutritious food. Finding young, nutritious leaves is a priority”.
These recordings, introduced by Nerea Bello, will be played at dawn and dusk – but MEXICO time – so that it synchronises with the activities of the howler monkeys. Mexico is 6 hours behind so 6am would be noon UK time and 6pm midnight. It’s a way of making a conceptual real-time link with another place in another part of the world, other kinds of activities and as a reminder of what’s happening in the natural world.
Stephen Hurrel undertook undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art from 1984 to 1989. Exhibitions and projects include: Sea Change, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (2013); Mapping the Sea: Barra, Cape Farewell Commission, Barra (2012); Turbulent Terrain, Latrobe Gallery, Australia (2009); Beneath and Beyond, Tramway, Glasgow (2008); Here + Now, Dundee Contemporary Arts (2000); and Zones [ZONES] – An Audiology of the River Clyde, Glasgow (1999). Hurrel’s work has been included in festivals such as: Walk & Talk Azores – Public Art Festival, Portugal (2013); Soundwave ((5)), San Francisco (2012); FesteArte Video Art Festival, Rome (2010); and Glasgow International (2005 and 2008). He lives and works in Glasgow.
Every morning at 10am we present Walter Benjamin’s 1930s radio work brought to life in contemporary Glasgow.
Philosopher Walter Benjamin’s 1930s radio work reimagined in contemporary Glasgow. Interesting thinkers read and reflect on Benjamin’s diverse radio scripts in atopic locations under, over, inside and on top of Glasgow in an attempt to put into practice Benjamin’s image of the past as a dynamic constellation where ‘what has been comes together in a flash with the now’.
Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) was a German Jewish literary critic, essayist, translator and philosopher. Despite his tragic suicide fleeing Nazi-occupied France in 1940, his renowned critical essays (including ‘The Storyteller’ and ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’) changed forever the way we discuss history and the impact of technology and capitalism on culture.
Less well known are his early radio shows which were initially aimed at children before they gained a larger public following. Spanning 1927-1933 these playful and eclectic radio pieces were broadcast during a tumultuous period of German history and were aired live right up to the eve of Hitler’s declaration as Chancellor. Forced to flee in haste, Benjamin left these scripts behind and many only survive by virtue of being seized first by the Nazis then impounded in Soviet archives until their rediscovery in the 1970s. In 2014 Verso Books published a selection in English for the first time. No audio recordings of Benjamin performing this material survive, only this extraordinary collection of thoughtful and oblique cultural narrations.
These shows, subtitled ‘Glasgow Constellations’, attempt to put into practice Benjamin’s image of the past as a dynamic constellation where ‘what has been comes together in a flash with the now’. Eighty-five years later in another country, in another language and with other voices, we want to find out if Benjamin’s claim is correct, that ‘knowledge exists only in lightning flashes. The text is the thunder rolling long afterwards’.
With sound recorded by Niall Morris and music composed by Kyle Stewart, this show was produced by Amy Bromley and Katy Hastie, and was only made possible by the generous support of the Goethe Institut and the Collaborative Research Award from the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow. All seven translated scripts are broadcast with permission from Radio Benjamin edited by. Lecia Rosenthal and published by Verso Books in 2014.
Producers: Amy Bromley and Katy Hastie
Recordist: Niall Morris
Composer: Kyle Stewart
Speakers: Dr Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Dr Sarah Armstrong, Dr Ernest Schonfield, writer Louise Welsh, Dr Cara Berger, Dr Jane Goldman and Dr John Coyle.
Kyle Stewart – Kyle Stewart is a composer and audiovisual artist based in Glasgow. He is a postgraduate student at The University of Glasgow where he studies Sonic Arts
Niall Morris – Niall Morris is an artist, musician and sound recordist from Glasgow. His research areas include the abstract characteristics of time; sound’s relationship to architecture; and experimental radio broadcasting.
Katy Hastie- Katy Hastie is a creative writing and literature PhD student at the University of Glasgow where she also completed an MFA in Creative Writing. Her thesis explores representations of surveillance in early modernism and her creative work spans radio, short stories, essays, performance, teaching and editing.
Amy Bromley – Amy Bromley is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Glasgow, where she also completed a Masters in Modernities. Her thesis explores Virginia Woolf’s use of short forms, particularly the sketch. Other research interests include literary theory, the avant-garde and philosophy, particularly in the work of Walter Benjamin..