The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 12, 2015

Numbers Station Phenomena: New Antenna in the World

I live across the street from the Federal Building which houses,
among other things, the NSA and the Secret Service. We can't
park or pull up in front of our building; the space is guarded.
On the roof of our building are older television antennas, as
well as satellite dishes, etc. I attached a 1970s radio kite
antenna wire to one of the stranger antennas, similar to a
vertical wave ground-plane configuration - I'm not sure what
it's four. The wire is attached to one of the 'spokes,' runs
about forty feet through a window frame. The results have been
amazing; the antenna connects to a Sony ICF-6700W shortwave
radio, which is a top of the line 1980s analog model; without
digital noise, the sound quality is great. Even though
short-wave station numbers are on the decline, there were
signals from everywhere, including Turkey and Albania; there
were also a number of anomalous signals, including some unusual
numbers stations at 9330 and 9065 mhz, 3:30 am - 3:40 am local
time. (The whole area of the band was filled with anomalous
transmissions.) The signals are largely a combination of digital
and analog technologies, lookup codes and encoded digital
transmissions. The Spanish-speaking female voice is similar to
what I've heard in the past, as is the five-digit spoken code,
but the intervals are different. A spectrum image is included

Brand New CD, Threnody, Shorter Discourses of the Buddha!

Available from Public Eyesore

Azure Carter, voice / songs,
Luke Damrosch, madal, guzheng, electronics
Alan Sondheim, acoustic instruments

We have a new release, available now! The new cd has 24 pieces,
including five songs with Azure Carter, and live Supercollider
reverse reverberation (revrev) from Luke Damrosch. I play 19
instruments, the musical structures are innovative and at times
fast enough that speed itself becomes an essential component of
the pieces. There are also slower pieces, pieces with Luke on
madal and retuned guzheng, pieces with qin, and several double-
recorded duets with myself (alto clarinet and clarinet for
example). I try to reach the limits of my ability, breaking new
ground when I can. The emotional range of the music is broad;
the title indicates a sense of mourning, but the shorter
discourses of the Buddha imply peace, planes of sound, fast and
slow structures, enlightening.

From Jason Weiss (author of Steve Lacy: Conversations; Always in
Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk; Back in No Time: The Brion
Gysin Reader, etc.)

"Who could have made such music? What was he thinking? Or
rather, what were his fingers telling him with their ecstatic
stuttering, their motormouth metalanguage?

"And do you call this music? It does not sound like noise. In
its skittering, scampering, blurting of pure expression, it is
alive, unmistakably alive. Like a creature we don't quite
recognize, that moves by its own lights, that does not need our
permission to exist, that finds or makes its own spaces and

"Music is always abstract, so it would seem a redundancy to
think of this as abstract music. Of course, we do not consider
songs abstract, nor familiar melodies or classical forms---even
when we are aware that what seems familiar is really a matter of
cultural habits and slowly developed norms (which are themselves
constantly changing, naturally). This music, this splash of
tonalities and textures, this breathing of illuminations in
their flurries of flight, might well be an abstraction of the
seemingly-non-abstract. Quickest glimpse of a melody from afar,
so far that it must be foreign, though no less human for that;
and so quick, so speeded up perhaps, that we do not know what we
are hearing. The spine of a massive animal poking up through a
surface we did not even realize was there.

"Alan Sondheim is a polymath, a restless connecter, explorer of
virtual realms, tinkerer in the currency of questions, ever
curious about impossible articulations of the body, of bodies,
of dust and stars. Or what had seemed impossible. Luke Damrosch,
meanwhile, tracks the flickering web of Alan's spells, catches
their reflections, follows them through to their secret
heartbeat. And Azure Carter? Azure assures him, ensures the
voice within the music, soft anchor to a wild ear, filters the
wind of vast expanses into a sigh, a melodic speaking, we are
here, we were here, we may be somewhere else tomorrow."

Please consider ordering and supporting this music; and please
share this announcement! We need your support!

Also, consider ordering Avatar Woman, from Public Eyesore,
(see numerous reviews for Avatar Woman here)

Thank you so much!

- Alan Sondheim,

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