Public Spaces Lab recently released their fifteenth (PS015) album entitled "Number Stations" (click here to find out more information) and it has sent my mind in a tizzy! (see the first definition 1b) My imagination has been stirring for the past week and this project has superseded my listening of other great music which has come out around the same time. After spending hours listening to the music, I've spent a fair share of my free time looking into Number Stations and how unbelievably mysterious they are.
This took me to the mother project of inspiration for not only the Public Spaces Lab project, but for what appears to be scores of artists (both musical and not): The Conet Project. I've listened to about 50% of the four disc set and the sheer eeriness of what they have compiled over there is amazing (yes, I used eerie in a complimentary way). The booklet for the set is pushing 80 pages, I think, and is chock-full of great information.
Both are a tremendous inspiration for my creativity!
Also, in my journeys, I've kept myself up late at night. One article I accidently came across was Cracked.com's "The 5 Creepiest Unexplained Broadcasts" which helped me pin down the name for this episode: UVB-76 (I'll update this post to let you know a bit more about this sphinxlike number station. Plus, the Max Hedrom video really FREAKED me out at one in the a.m. I was checking locks at work, looking in my backseat of the car just to make sure I wasn't being followed. These sounds will get to you; especially the "Backwards Music Station" and it's freaky sounds).
I cannot forget to mention the ambienteer in all of this. As I was visiting his site of great music a while back, I saw his songs inspired by these "Number Stations" there first and kind of passed them off as something of not much importance. My wonderful mind said, "Aren't all radio stations numbered?", enjoyed the music and went on. Boy, was I wrong. Then, I read in a book recently about how spies out in the field will have One Time Pads (OTP) where they could decode super secret messages and possibly send them back.
All of this didn't click in my mind until PS015 hit me like a tonne of bricks.
So, here we are!
I am currently creating an intro using sounds from UVB-76 (or better known as "the Buzzer" which the fine folks over at Irdial have so graciously allowed me to use) and my wife vocalizing code so all of you with your OTPs can better understand.
You may have also noticed my cover (which my wonderful wife, Lady ten10, took around here) and will probably notice it falls in line with other music/etc projects (scroll down to the bottom) connected with the Number Stations (particularly the cool one associated with the Number Stations project - no, I'm not trying to suck up, it's just really COOL! Go see for yourself!). I wanted it to look blurry, grainy, almost something you'd see in either a conspiracy book or a recon photograph. I used a few filters to keep it in that manner. Plus, I don't have the time to set up people out in the woods or in a mall or somewhere to look like something espianogy blah, blah, blah, so I chose to do something easy which can go along with what I'm trying to do.
Which brings us back to PS015 and the Conet Project. Through the inspiration of the album and the recorded transmissions, I am going to play music with elements of glitch, interference and static that is in no way directly connected (unless it is unknown to me) with Number Stations (i.e. not inspired by the broadcasts), but could sound like they would be transmitted over shortwave radios into your... uh... place of security and secretivity.
It all came to me after I heard the first few songs played I have planned to use in my next episode in a row. I heard their common theme, made the connection, and came to this conclusion: let the conspiracy flow (is it really conspiracy if it is true? or, if people are conspiring to do something then the conspiracy is out there, just not revealed. I want pudding!)
The real art in all of this comes from PS015, the Conet Project, and the musicians whose music I have permission to use either from netlabels or IODApromonet*. This is just my meager attempt to try something I haven't completely done before: have a consistent (well, 90%) theme with the music I have on tap. I've had themes before, well - dedications actually - but this is different.
Through all of this, I hope you enjoy :) also check out the other projects listed and enjoy them as well.
I will use some songs which are directly inspired by these airwave mysteries to help set up the rest of the show.
Here's a list of the first three tracks to get things started:
Konets by the ambienteer: if I am right, this song uses samples from the "Swedish Symphony", number station, from the former West Germany, which had a girl reading the codes.
UVB-76 by Nexus (from the Centrifuge netlabel off of the Silicone Poplars LP): I was searching around for pictures of "the Buzzer's" home site in Russia when I came across this nifty experimental album. If you travel to their page you can read a bit more on the subject.
Kinematics Dub by Galapagoose: It was a tough decision to figure out what song to use, but with some help from my lovely wife we nailed it!
Update 22 January 2010: Refined the grammar of some of the sentences and clarified some things.
*Update ibid: I realized I had done something in my words which I did not intend to do - possibly downplay the great music which will be found on this podcast. That was not my intention... in fact there have been quite a few generous artists who have allowed me to use their music and some great netlabels of which I have found some truly distinguished gems. When the show comes out - follow the links to their sites and find out what I'm talking about. To me, podcasts have many functions and one of them is promotion. I know I downplay my role in all of this because it's not about me... it's about the music. I've probably flip-flopped in a bit of my logic in the post, but truly it is about the music. I am also going to have some fun on this show with all the fun little side things I'm doing (especially the research).
Endnote: If you're looking for references for my information, follow the links I've provided in the text. These include the Conet Project booklet and webpage, Public Spaces Lab, Nexus' page at the Centrifuge netlabel, Cracked.com, the Number Stations page which is somewhere in the body, and I'll throw in Wikipedia about Number Stations and UVB-76.