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Re:sound #31: The Transmissions Show

This hour: spies, pirates, mysterious broadcasts, and a bold acoustic experiment.

2005 / TCF / WBEZ 91.5, USA


This hour: spies, pirates, mysterious broadcasts, and a bold acoustic experiment.

Listening at the Border

by Jay Needham (Sonic Interventions, 2005)

The airwaves are a tangle of transmissions: some people are cryptically saying something and others are desperately trying to decrypt it: our government agencies, other goverment agencies, spies, and who knows who else. Listening at the Border introduces us to someone (of course he remains nameless) who, for years, spent everyday, all day, trying to decipher scratchy transmissions from North Korea for the U.S. government.

Atencion: Seis Siete Tres Siete Cero: The Shortwave Numbers Mystery

by David Goren (Lost and Found Sound, 2000)

If you tune into the the shortwave signals hidden in between the AM and FM band on frequencies from 3 to 30 Mhz, you can hear voices reciting endless streams of numbers, in numerous languages, all day, everyday, for decades on end. These "number stations", as they're called by ham radio operators and military communications experts, contain no information about where they are transmitting from or who they are trying to reach.

Max Neuhaus

by Roman Mars (Re:sound premiere, 2005)

Basically, radio is a one-way medium. We talk, you listen. Sure, there are call-in shows that are meant to sound live but more often than not, they are highly edited and pre-produced -- listeners hate to hear it, but it's true. But there have been brief moments in the history of the medium where the airwaves really were a free-for-all and completely new forms of sound were born. Max Neuhaus makes sound works that are neither music nor events. He coined the term "sound installation" and has been the engine behind all sorts of new ways of thinking and experiencing sound.

Pirate Station

by Emily Botein, Sherre DeLys, John Lurie, and Rick Moody (The Next Big Thing, 2005)

Aside from the licensed radio stations, the citizens band, and shortwave operators, there are those who believe that the airwaves are public space and belong to everyone. They're often called pirates, and they want a little piece of airspace --whether the FCC gives it to them or not. This is an ode to a mythical pirate station.

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