Radiophonics (2013)

My Electronic Chamber Music group’s 2013 Spring Concert — Radiophonics — featured new and classic compositions using radios. Over the course of the semester, we explored the theme of radio: radio as a medium, as a technology, as an institution, as a musical instrument.

Number Stations (2013) by Conor Barry from Michael Gurevich on Vimeo.

Performance by Conor Barry and Brian Kelley from the University of Michigan’s Electronic Chamber Music Spring 2013 concert: Radiophonics, directed by Michael Gurevich. Presented by the Department of Performing Arts Technology, School of Music, Theatre, & Dance.

This choreographed piece for two radios and two performers derives its source material from The Conet Project, a large collection of recordings of “number station” broadcasts. These shortwave radio stations first appeared after WWII, broadcasting mysterious coded messages often in the form of spoken sequences of numbers, to be deciphered by spies in the field. By extracting the rhythmic qualities of these broadcasts, we try to translate these covert messages into actions, oftentimes highlighting their more absurd characteristics.

Different Stations – For Radiophonic Quartet from Michael Gurevich on Vimeo.

Different Stations by Brian Kelley
Different Stations is an improvisation in which one of the voices is particularly unpredictable: live broadcast radio. Through sampling and looping, radiophonic voices are tamed and ordered, becoming an instrument in its own right–-one that requires two performers to play in close coordination. A violinist and pianist must both find and create musical space to coexist with this new radiophonic voice. The title is nod to Steve Reich, from whom the hypnotic rhythmic elements and slowly unfolding form also derive.