Coordinated Weather Waves

November 8, 2021 5:52 PM

I love listening to shortwave radio on the web. I love mixing sounds together and processing them until they ooze. For whatever reason, this track relaxes me, like the Shipping News. Your mileage may vary.

posted by not_on_display (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Roky Erickson used to listen to twelve radios at once. These blend together much more harmoniously, though! It feels like there's something occupying each major EQ band.

They also seem to have either a common pulse or an emergent pulse.
posted by ignignokt at 6:06 PM on November 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, pulsing is a good adjective to describe the end results of the knob-twidling. Mainly, the processing responsible for the pulse was that I took all the sound samples and had the computer force them into 120bpm, so as to keep a beat with the natural rhythm of the Universal Coordinated Time pulse. I had all the "meters" "pinned" so that a track or sample would sound "on the beat" but also be keeping its own original time. I also pitch-shifted them as much as I could so they'd roughly round off to a D-major-ish sound to match that Timestamp tone's pitch, while also sounding treated with electronic robot goo. There is also a lot of looping and delay and phasing going on, but I didn't want to get too bogged down in it so I made myself stop, and then I cut parts back or out of each track to give it a little more breathing space. So for instance, I wanted to highlight this one place where the man speaking the foreign language sounds like he's singing to the beat.

Most of this was accidental; it's so much fun to grab shortwave radio live off the air and onto my hard drive, and I hadn't done a piece like this in a while.

I'd also listened on repeat to this actual songy-like song a few weeks ago and it definitely subconsciously nudged me in this direction.
posted by not_on_display at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2021

Oh yeah and the EQ, too, good catch, I had forgotten that when I was younger I was much more concerned with covering the range of EQs in any arrangement, but over time I lost that path, and I need to keep that in the front of my consciousness. I did try to make sure here that I got a nice wide range, even if ultimately it's just noise. Meaten-up those tinny shortwave frequency ranges, etc.
posted by not_on_display at 11:11 PM on November 8, 2021

The Doppler-y music is very "apocalypse shopping mall" or "skating rink at the end of the world". I love it!
posted by TheCoug at 7:40 AM on November 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wow, OK, that's a lot of sculpting. The final song makes it sound like it's plausible that the coordination comes from incredible luck, so you did it well!
posted by ignignokt at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks! Really, most of what I do is "press these buttons and see what happens" and the mantra is "the Undo keystroke is your best friend" and over time, it's gotten more natural (but I'm still discovering new things all the time)
posted by not_on_display at 11:52 AM on November 9, 2021

This is really cool! In my old band, I used to make cassettes of things like this—shortwave radio recordings, numbers stations—and play them through an old tape player held up to my guitar pickups and whatever effects I was running.

Agreed that this is really well-layered and paced. So many interesting harmonies and dissonances!
posted by Maaik at 8:50 AM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

That's funny, so did my old band. In fact, there were quite a few bands in the 90's kicking around Boston that carried around a microcassette player, in order to play their analog sound collages into the microphone between songs. (Only successful bands, or bands subsidized by rich college kids, had samplers back then. I had a friend who used to make stuff with his Commodore Amiga.)
posted by not_on_display at 9:36 PM on November 15, 2021

I love this.
posted by drowsy at 8:11 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks! I'm starting to think it's one of the better pieces (in the noisy genre) that I've fallen into making. I like it more each time I listen to it—I know that sounds navelgazing, but I consider something I've made as "good" if I like listening to it even after it's been ringing in my head for days prior to making it. I don't expect many people to like this so much as find it interesting. I freakin' love it for whatever quacko reason. Makes me proud to be not making music FOR THE NORMS

posted by not_on_display at 11:23 PM on December 17, 2021

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