Archive for the 'radio art' Category

All Chemix Radio ‘Encoded Message / Radio Rabotnik’

'Encoded Message/Radio Rabotnik' cassette coverRadio Rabotnik cassetteDe Ridder farewells obsolete radio days1977 'Deathly Fear Therapy' radio horror play

01 Encoded Message (44:49)
Willem De Ridder: narration, field recordings
Recorded 1979

  • Willem De Ridder was born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, October 14, 1939 – though other sources mention Amsterdam as a birth place. So, yes, 2009 is his 70th birthday. Encoded Message was recorded in 1979, when De Ridder was living in Italy with Annie Sprinkle. De Ridder was fleeing the United States after receiving death threats from Charles Manson, offended by a sex magazine De Ridder published there. De Ridder and Sprinkle lived at their friend’s Prince Maximilian Lobckowicz di Filiangieri villa, whose partner was US sexologist Susan Block. During the late-1970s, De Ridder was creating scary radio shows based on narration and real people re-telling scary situations, like in his ‘Deathly Fear Therapy’ program (see paper clip above and PS below). Encoded Message is in somewhat similar vein. It’s an atmospheric, spoken episode with minimal background sounds. Very striking use of speaking-in-tongues around the 18mns mark, in a dialogue with a children – I could not help compare this with Tony Schwartz’s own children recordings. I guess the purpose of this episode is to keep the listener captivated by the mere use of dramatized narration and mysterious anecdotes, though the story-telling itself doesn’t seem to go anywhere actually.

02 Radio Rabotnik (43:41)
Cora Emens: voice
Nicole Veldman: voice
Hessel Veldman: synthesizer and cello
Willem De Ridder: electronics and voice
Recorded ca 1983-1986

  • Radio Rabotnik (from the Russian for Workers Radio) started as a pirate TV on Amsterdam local cable network in 1982, taking advantage of Netherlands’ policy of more or less free access to the media. One of the founding members of Rabotnik TV was Menno Grootveld. When it was closed down by local authorities in 1983, they switched to pirate radio. Radio Rabotnik was active until 1986, when they merged with Radio WHS. The radio programs favoured experimental, messy and freeform mixes including everything from movies/TV cut-ups, excerpts from other radios (incl. BBC), live improvisations, tapes, etc. Their live sessions created environmental soundscapes mirroring the bleak Cold War atmosphere of the times. The present Radio Rabotnik session is no exception, what with its typical Cold War phone tonalities, intercepted Russian officials conversations, obsessive string pizzicatos, menacing electronics, tribal percussion or excerpts from movies of the times. Note gorgeous bass loop starting at 6:20, possibly by Hessel Veldman. Impressive cohesion from all participants – well, as far as I know they more or less lived together at the times, constantly recording together. The episode, avoiding many traps found in some previous ACR efforts, is a gripping listening exprience from start to finish, with fresh ideas popping up more often than not.

Total time 88:29 [music+pictures provided by Olivier Prieur. Thanks!]

. . . . . . . . . .

  • Below is a video produced at Radio Rabotnik TV, 1990:

. . . . . . . . . .

Additionally, a 1977 episode from an early De Ridder radio program called ‘Doodsangst Therapie’ (Deathly Fear Therapy) can be found on VPRO Radio archives (link to mp3). The 41mn episode is delivered in Dutch and features George Crumb’s ‘Vox Balenae‘ as background music.

All Chemix Radio ‘Another Day Another Depression / Kali’

'Another Day Another Depression/Kali' cassette boxCassette coverWillem De RidderAnother Day Another Depression cassette

01 Another Day Another Depression (44:05)
Ingrid Willemse: voice
Willem De Ridder: voice
Andrew McKenzie: narrator, library music LPs, synths, sound effects, live mix
Recorded ca 1985-90

  • These All Chemix Radio episodes came in a box-set containing two C90 cassettes with 2 more episodes (Encoded Message and Radio Rabotnik) that will be posted later. The story of ‘Another Day Another Depression’ starts with birds merrily chirping around while the voice of McKenzie is introducing the war situation amid menacing sounds of air raids and falling bombs over the city. Later enter the 2 survivor protagonists Ingrid and Willem, shut in their bunker, arguing about their future, until they finally decide to go out for a walk. Though De Ridder claims there was never any preconceived plan for a Radio session, it seems McKenzie’s text was written beforehand and a general plot was decided on. The rest is obviously improvised, though, and would have benefited from some post-production. During the 1980s, Andrew McKenzie (aka The Halfler Trio) collaborated with Willem De Ridder on different projects, including The Spiral Information Service, NYX and SNUFF. They possibly met during the heydays of Radio Rabotnik freeform radio mixes in 1982. On ‘Another Day…’, he’s probably responsible for most of the library music LPs used as background, with some pops from the vinyls noticeable here and there. Ingrid Willemse, a Dutch top-model and actress, took part to some of De Ridder’s Radio Art Foundation radioplays, as well as De Ridder’s theater play ‘In De Wachtkamer – A Continuous Story’ (=In The Waiting Room). She was also featured on The Halfler Trio’s ‘One Dozen Ecomomical Stories By Peter Greenaway’ (1989-93) and ‘Fuck’ (1992). Known for her role in the film ‘Let The Music Dance’ (1990), Willemse is now a TV producer.

02 Kali (44:07)
Nicole Veldman: voice
Hessel Veldman: synth
Cora Emens: voice
Willem de Ridder: electronics & voice
Andrew McKenzie: objects, noises and synth
Ben Uijtjens: recording & live mix
Recorded 1989

  • According to the New American Radio presentation, the 1989 Kali radioplay was “an unusual sonic meditation. Kali invokes the Hindu goddess associated with death, destruction, and disease. Though often represented as a terrifying monster, garlanded with skulls and bearing a bloody sword in one of her many arms, Kali is also worshipped by many as Mata, the Divine Mother.” This live radio session is credited to FNT-CORA on the cover, also known as FNTC (see previous post with same line-up except McKenzie replaced by… Jon Rose!). Kali is an obscure mystical ceremony recorded from a remote dark cave – well, you know, the reverb effect actually. Priests and worshippers are uttering undecipherable chantings and interjections. Sonic events creep in your mind like worms in a rotten fruit in a part Lovecraftian nightmare, part psychoanalysis gone wrong. People involved were obviously having fun here – and you’re necessarily having fun when using a whistling hose (near the 10mns mark). Other sounds include unidentified percussion and noises, metal objects, male falsetto voice chanting an hymn around 22:50. The last 15mns is an industrial-ambient soundscape without vocals build from beautiful musique concrète sounds, synth and sound effects. I guess the gorgeous synth is played by Hessel Veldman while the great noise-scape is the work of Andrew McKenzie, both masters in their respective field. It’s an impressive conclusion to a remarkable All Chemix Radio episode.

Total time 88:12 [music+pictures provided by Olivier Prieur. Thanks!]
Download (NEW LINK as of August 20, 2010)

Tony Schwartz ‘The Sound Of Children’


01 Introduction (2:00)
02 Recording Techniques (6:00)
03 The Death of a Turtle (7:46)
04 Stories About Your Child (3:17)
06 Children And God (8:55)
07 Nancy Grows Up (2:16)
08 Sound Snapshots (5:17)

Total time 38:30
LP released on Columbia, 1967

Tony Schwartz‘s focus on children’s voices pre-dates the ubiquitous use of children in advertising from the 1970s until today and Schwartz is possibly the creator of a genre which is a heavy trend nowadays. Schwartz pushed things rather far in his famous political ad known as the 1964 ‘Daisy ad’ (see below), an advertising milestone. There’s no denying there is a bit of cynicism in the use of children in advertising, let alone in a political TV spot, and Schwartz is no stranger to this. But his children recordings have an indubitable freshness, as he was basically inventing the genre from scratch. In a way, Tony Schwartz’s children recordings are as pioneering as David Greenberger’s Duplex Planet interviews with elders in the 1980s. Both break new ground in the art of interviews, focusing on marginalized populations not normally offered the opportunity to express themselves in the media. Schwartz started recording kids and teenagers in the early 1950s. He collected and later re-arranged interviews to create stories or atmosphere. Noticeable is the fact children’s voices sound the same today as 40 years ago. The grain of these untaught, un-trendy kids is the same. Or perhaps Tony Schwartz’s way of recording children influenced today’s technique – close miking, enhancing cute syllables, etc. The children here make marvellous sounds.


. . . . . . . . . .

Comprehensive history of the 1964 Daisy ad here.

Chris Meloche ‘Document 90’

Aeolian Hall, London, Ont., Canada'Document 90' front cover'Document 90' liner notesChris Meloche (b. Windsor, Ont., 1957)

LINK: A Radio Music Performance Without Borders
01 LINK: Part 2 & 3 (19:32)
02 LINK: Part 6& 7 (20:34)

Total time 40:06
LP released by Korm Plastics (KP6196), The Netherlands,  1996

Canadian composer born 1957, specialising in long duration ambient environmental electro-acoustic music, especially designed for radio broadcasts, Chris Meloche started making music in the early 1980s as a member of M104 duo with Werner Albert. During the 1990s, he collaborated with Philip Perkins and UK’s Martin Archer, and now with Herb Bayley in the Outward Sound Ensemble which they co-founded in 2002. The work on this limited LP was premiered and recorded at the London’s Aeolian Hall (pictured above) in 1990 and simultaneously broadcasted on local radio. Shortwave radio is itself the source of all the sounds heard in these tracks, whether used to trigger synthesizers or as occasional, random speech or music excerpts. The music offers a deep immersion into sound textures and floating tonalities, part-ambient, part-collage work. Detailed recording quality rewards high volume listening with elaborate mix and sonic substrata. Interesting comparison with Michael Snow’s 2 Radio Solos, showing infinite possibilities offered by radio waves as source material for musicians.


Tony Schwartz round up

Tony Schwartz portrait from the 1950sTony Schwartz presentation from the SoundViews cassetteA Tony Schwartz limited edition, unofficial LPFront cover of the 'New York 19' LP

  1. Music In Marble Halls (6:08)
    [from You’re Stepping On My Shadow LP, 1962]
  2. Sounds Outside My House (5:45)
    [from Sounds of My City LP, 1956]
  3. Columbus Day Parade (5:08)
    [from The Library of Congress archives, 1963]
  4. The Small Recorder (3:13)
    [from The Library of Congress archives]
  5. Moondog (Fog on the Hudson) (1:20)
    [from New York 19 LP, 1954]
  6. Nancy Grows Up (2:16)
    [from Tony Schwartz Records the Sounds of Children LP, 1970]
  7. Factory Whistle Carols (1:35)
    [from Milions Of Musicians, 1954, incl. in the SoundViews cassette]
  8. Sounds from New York (15:08)
    [from The Library of Congress archives]
  9. Sound Picture of New York (4:31)
    [from The Library of Congress archives, 1956]
  10. Children’s Ring Game (4:30)
    [from Nueva York LP, 1955]
  11. Nancy’s Voice (6:35)
    [from the Adventures In Sound show, 1970]
  12. How We Remember (5:09)
    [from The Library of Congress archives]
  13. Favorite Sounds (4:22)
    [from The Library of Congress archives]
  14. Major in Germany (2:40)
    [from The Library of Congress archives, 1958]

Total time 68:00
Source: Library of Congress, WFMU, WNYC, Gibble Gabble

In 1952, Tony Schwartz (born in Manhattan, 1923-died 2008) was recording New York children and untrained street musicians when, just down the place where he lived on 57th Street, he fell on a blind musician he recorded playing his unique percussion instrument on a background of street noises (see tr.#5 above). This was the first time someone would record Moondog. Schwartz was collecting everyday sounds from his neighbourhood since 1945 and producing a weekly program on WNYC called Around New York (1945-1976). First he had used a Webster WEBCOR wire recorder from 1945 to 1947, when he was finally able to get a battery-operated Magnemite tape recorder, allowing to record anything on the way to work or back from a late diner. Back at his home-studio he would select the best excerpts from the day’s harvest, label them and store them for future re-use, building one of the largest sound library in the US (incidentally, French composer Pierre Henry uses exactly the same technique).

He started releasing records as early as 1953 for the Mars company, but soon found a home on Folkways Records, whose founder Moses ‘Moe’ Ash would be bold enough to put out his crazy ‘ambient sounds’ records. His first Folkways LP was ‘1,2,3 and a Zing, Zing, Zing’, released in 1953 and including sounds recorded the previous year near his West Midtown area. Tony Schwartz said he suffered from agoraphobia, that’s why he never wandered far from his base, which is all the more remarkable considering the variety of sounds his records are made of. From his West 57th Street apartment, he recorded Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte or Yma Sumac, as well as many politicians and famous people. In the early 1960s, Schwartz co-founded the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising company (DDB) with which he did commercials for national advertisers like Coke, McDonald’s, etc, as well as politicians.

The 14 tracks above were collected on the web in various formats, their sound quality varying from mediocre hi-fi to acceptable lo-fi – once you realise the importance of Tony Schwartz, you disregard eventual sound flaws. Most are mono recordings, either from LPs or broadcast archives. All Schwartz trademarks are included (except taxi drivers): children, immigrants, men-at-work, Jewish communities, animals, street peddlers, elders, blind people (Schwartz suffered temporary blindness for 6 months in his young age). More often than not in his sound work, Schwartz is working as an advertiser, trying to sell us the prettiest neighbourhood in the greatest city in the world. If truth be told, his sound collages are sometimes mere aural postcards from an imaginary city where men work hard, children play endlessly, women stay at home, colored people bring out their sooo-charming music. But this shall not detract us from the tape splicing genius Tony Schwartz was, as important as Pierre Schaeffer (who never used tapes) or Orson Welles and John Houseman’s Mercury Theater, and a pioneer paving the way for Arsenije Jovanović or Willem de Ridder.

Download. (Link removed. Complaint received)

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Tony Schwartz discography (tbc):
On Mars label:
1953 – Moondog In The Streets Of New-York

On Folkways:
1953 – 1, 2, 3 and a Zing Zing Zing
1954 – French Folk Songs – Henriette and Emile Zmirou
1954 – Millions of Musicians
1954 – New York 19
1955 – Nueva York: A Tape Documentary of Puerto Rican New Yorkers
1955 – Exchange, Friendship Around the World Thru Tape Exchange
1956 – Sounds of My City
1957 – Music in the Streets
1958 – An Actual Story in Sound of a Dog’s Life
1958 – Sound Effects, Vol. 1: City Sounds
1958 – The World in My Mail Box
1962 – You’re Stepping on My Shadow
1962 – American History in Ballad and Song, Vol.2
1970 – The Sounds of Children

On Columbia:
date? – The New York Taxi Driver (late 1960s)
date? – That’s My Opinion and it’s Very True

Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’


  1. Shelley Hirsch
  2. Gregory Whitehead
    How To Pronounce Prosthesis
    + M Is For The Million Things
    + This Is Not A Test
  3. David Moss
  4. Jacki Apple/Keith Antar Mason/Linda Albertano/Akilah Nayo Oliver
    Redefining Democracy in America (10:05)
  5. David Wojnarowicz & Ben Neil
    The Collapse Of The Illusory One-Tribe Nation (10:39)
  6. Constance Dejong & Brenda Hutchinson
    Vanishing Act (6:39)

Total time 55:36
CD released 1991 by Tellus
Curated by Claudia Gould, Carol Parkinson and Helen Thorington
Cover art & text: David Wojnarowicz

TELLUS issue #25 looks like a continuation from previous endeavors, namely #9 ‘Music With Memory’, 1985 (especially for the Brenda Hutchinson‘s interviews collage ‘Interlude from Voices Of Reason’) and #18 ‘Experimental Theater’, 1987, which included impressive readings on gender issues by Spalding Gray and Jerri Allyn, amongst others. Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’ is a theater of voices with all contributions based on reading, sound poetry and language, as well as extended use of recording studio facilities (including Studio Pass on tracks #1 & 6). The works on this CD mingle semantics with politics, mirroring racial, political and gender issues with semantics/phonetics. Language is considered the tool of oppression itself (via media overload, political blabber and daily prejudices) and the means of liberation at the same time, providing composers and the people use it as a weapon. Which more or less sums up the political point of view of Tellus producers and allies. Additionally this issue of Tellus can be considered a testament to their creative ethos: a cleverly curated project with well chosen contributors given absolute artistic freedom and access to up-to-date technology. One of the 3 curators for Tellus #25 is Helen Thorington, a US sound artist and New American Radio producer who started her carreer as a writer. As a matter of fact, several contributions on the CD are based on literature. It all starts with the sexy voice of Shelley Hirsch reading from Angela Carter’s Dr. Hoffman’s Infernal Machines Of Desire (1972) with added processed breathing. David Moss‘s Conjure is based on Italian writer Italo Calvino. David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was a gay writer and performance artist. His ‘Collapse Of The Illusory One-Tribe Nation’ is a shatteringly powerful track in which Wojnarowicz unleashes endless, angry rants on politics and gender issues amid a complex web of noise and sound treatment, apparently the result of many studio hours. Track #4, a collective collage work conducted by Jacki Apple, describes prejudices that prevailed under Ronald Reagan, even if his second term ended way back in 1989. This is an excerpt from a longer work commissioned by New American Radio. It is at times hilarious, and at times scary. At 6:36, a young black contributor says: ‘Make me President tonight’, while at 9:00, a woman says: ‘A woman will be President’. History is only half-way to fulfill these dreams.


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H. Thorington:
D. Wojnarowicz:
Jacki Apple:

Guy Chalon & Yuri Korolkoff ‘Mai 1968’

CCP (photo Elie Kagan)

01 Jacques Sauvageot + Alain Geismar + Daniel Cohn-Bendit (6:30)
02 Manifestations Etudiantes et Témoignages sur la Répression (6:33)

Yuri Korolkoff: location recordings & sound montage
Guy Chalon: interviews

7” single. No label [Acousti], no release date [1968].

Probably released in 1968, along Guy Chalon‘s 2 documentary films on May 1968, this single describes itself on the cover as ‘sound excerpts from a worker’s film with collaborator Guy Chalon. Actually, Chalon, a documentary film maker and May 1968 activist, directed 2 films on May 68 in Paris, inspired by marxist propaganda movies: ‘CCP’, a short collage of b&w photographs denouncing the cops’ violence (pictured above), and the 30′ ‘La Société est une fleur carnivore’, b&w, 26′, both realised on the spot in May 1968. This is probably a promo single for the former. Yuri Korolkoff was a film technician and sound engineer running his own independent ‘Acousti’ company. Please refer to this picture galery for more May 1968 flavor. The 2 tracks are montage of riots field recordings and activist interviews, with the occasional official blunt politician for counterpoint. Recording quality is impressive and the cut-up technique is faultless, comparable to what Xavier Garcia is doing nowadays with radio archive recordings. Sound quality is baffling and the result sounds extremely lively with a sense of actually being there. Riot sounds are so incredible at times, it seems the microphone is set on the pavement between students protesters and the riot police. The A side features excerpts from 3 interviews with ’68 french activists, but the final mix also embarks street field recordings, passers-by, shoutings and political sloganeering. The B side has more interviews as well as explosion sounds and worker’s union chanting. It’s time to reacquaint yourself with the rebel in you.


Michael Snow ‘Two Radio Solos’


01 Short Wavelength (39:14)
02 The Papaya Plantations (47:12)

Total time: 86:26
Recorded 1980
Cassette released by Freedom In A Vacuum, 1988

Two Radio Solos is a cassette of 2 playing-the-radio improvisations done in 1980 and released in 1988 by a no longer existing Toronto company (it’s still available though).’
[Michael Snow, 2005, +]

nordmende-idolApart form being one of the greatest experimental film makers of all time, Canadian Michael Snow (b Toronto 1929) has also extensively played piano, trumpet, synth and percussion on numerous records and live performances. His recorded output includes many jazz and improvisation records, with the Canadian Creative Music Collective (CCMC) amongst others. Snow issued several legendary experimental albums on his own as well, like 1975’s ‘Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder’ [excerpt here] or ‘The Last LP’ in 1987 (full album here]. ‘Two Radio Solos’ was recorded in between those 2 masterpieces and offers lenghty improvisations played on a Nordmende radio receiver (pictured above). Here as well, Snow is dealing with long durations, like in his films ‘Wavelength’ (1966-67) and ‘La Région Centrale’ (1971). The tracks are vast collages of foreign radio broadcasts, static bursts and abstract electronic sounds, all ‘played’ with the radio surfing the shortwave frequencies (2 to 30 MHz). Chinese and Russian languages are recognizable, as well as english. I suspect there was a kind of post-production editing of one kind or another, contrary to what Snow states on the cover: some recordings are noticeably sped up, some passages juxtapose 2 sound sources and some cut-ups are obvious. The B side is a joyous collage of languages from around the world, embarking many exotic world musics, lounge music, electronic sounds and gray noise as well, all sourced from the Nordmende. ‘The Papaya Plantations’ at times sounds like regular electroacoustic music, but mostly like an autonomous sound organism with a noisy life of its own. In the liner notes to ‘Musics for Piano, Whistling…’, Snow writes about the ‘hearing/seeing/thinking experience of certain parts of certain of my films’. I assume one could consider the radio listener as defined by all the wavelengths he receives at a given moment, so that the human being is inhabiting a specific region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Listening to the radio you tune to all frequencies, all at once. This tape conjures such magic. PS: I really wonder where is located the ‘North Canadian cabin’ where this was supposedly recorded. I can’t help envisioning a desolate and isolated landscape like ‘La Région Centrale’.


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Michael Snow solo recordings:

  • 1962 ‘Theft/Sunset Time’, 45rpm, Astral Records, Toronto
  • 1975 ‘Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder’, LP, Chatham Square Records, New York (recorded 1970-72)
  • 1977 ‘Hearing Aid’, sound environment with metronome, four C90 cassettes, 4 tape players (2002 CD reissue by Supposé and Galerie Klosterfelde, Berlin)
  • 1978 ‘Vie D’Or’ LP, Music Gallery Editions 11, Toronto
  • 1987 ‘The Last LP’, LP, Art Metropole, Toronto
  • 1988 ‘2 Radio Solos’, cassette, Freedom In A Vacuum (recorded 1980)
  • 1989 ‘Sinoms’, cassette, Art Metropole, edition of 50 and CD, Musée du Québec, ref. MUQ89D-02 [listen here]
  • 1991 ‘They Changed the Lights’ incl. in ‘Masterpieces From The Music Gallery’ CD
  • 1992 ‘Somewhere Else’ in Musicworks cassette and CD #54
  • 2001 ‘Snow Solo Piano Solo Snow (3 phases)’, 3CDs, Ohm Editions, Québec


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