Show 271: Endangered Radio Band by Mobile Radio

replacement programme by Mobile Radio

An intrinsic feature of radio broadcast is on the verge of extinction: interference. Artists have always loved interference. Early memories convey intoxicated sweeps of an old valve radio dial, simultaneous capture of two shortwave stations, the swashing sounds of the in-between as a prerequisite for sleep. The new interference is reduced to metallic distress at the breaking point of digital transmission; the new silence of buffering and disconnect presents a wholly characterless absence. What happens now? Will people forget what a rotary dial is? Will the radio band become an endangered species?
Whilst digital audio technology tries to emulate the analogue sound wave as closely as possible, digital transmission renders the radio spectrum inaccessible. The bits in-between are reallocated or discarded. The noise that changes when you touch the aerial is out of reach. Maybe the caller on the Harmon E. Phraisyar show Album One is correct when she says: “You and your stupid radio programmes, I’m fed up. Tell me this you stupid radio worms: radio interference, often it is that I am getting the interference. Why is it that the interference is always more interesting than the programme itself?” Endangered Radio Band is a performance by Mobile Radio, voyaging the vocal and electromagnetic spectra in search of an answer to this question.

Recorded in Napoli in December 2009 by Etienne Noiseau.
Here is a list of sound sources that were used for the performance (in no particular order) which was distributed on the PA system, and via FM transmitter to portable radios in the room.

– VLF natural radio from Todmorden (UK, 8-8:30pm local time) (live stream)
– electromagnetic sounds from Sony Minidisc recorder MZ30 via telephone coil of a modified analog hearing aid (live)
– broken AM radio (live)
– malfunctioning toy radio purchased in Napoli (live)
– home-made ultrasonic detector (live)
– home-made electronic instrument “Feedbug” via internal fm transmitter (live)
– air traffic radio band receiver (live)
– electromagnetic recording of the journey leaving Zurich for Milano in an Italian Pendolino train on 16/12/2009
– Morse code version of Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonate”, recorded in Barrow on 22/10/2009
– Original version of “Ersatzrauschen”, sounds of a defunct Bell&Howard digital 8-track data recorder, recorded in Prague in 2006
– excerpt from the Harmon E. Phraisyar show “Album One: Unthinkable” produced in 2004 for Kunstradio
– cut-up recordings of the 15th and final World Chess Championship Game between Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik on 2/12/2000 (French and English commentary, as well as Kasparov in the press conference)

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