Radio Wide World

Jeff Gburek

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Released 04/17/2014
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In 1994, while living in Florence, Italy, in a top-floor apartment of the former Ursuline convent on the via Guelfa, Jeff Gburek experienced sounds shaped by random processes through a shortwave radio. During radio listening sessions in the middle of the night, Gburek noticed that when the stations closer to him signed off, sudden gaps, chasms of vibrant static, new stations, and other signals from afar drifted in - often from places too far off to seem within logical range. Coming later to understand that these bounced signals where effects generated by ionic scatter and extreme weather conditions, even solar flares and meteorite showers, his immediate intuition became reinforced: even the so-called random noises where not devoid of meaning; outer space was being communicated inside the inner space of the listening experience. Behind the novel sonic effects, there was an alive and expressive cosmos.

Two versions of one broadcast would often repeat slightly out of phase creating echo-effects (heterodyning). 3 or 4 stations equally audible at the same moment, a further one just a slight fingering of the dial away, created chaotic multiplicity. Touching the antennae turned his body into an extension of the device. The continually shifting frame of aural perception taken to the limits of absence, the ears chasing ghosts of ghosts, permitted one to experience fantastic hybrid languages and unimaginable musical monstrosities.

These recordings were made on cassettes mainly in the summers of 1994 and 1995 with no extraordinary equipment: a small AM/FM/SW/LW radio with double cassette deck. The recordings and remixes continued over the years in NYC, Montreal, Java, Bali, Rome and then in New Mexico where Gburek managed to acquire a 1963 U.S. military shortwave receiver at a yard sale out on the Mesa near Taos. By then he had started making compositions with the shortwave radio and integrating the machine into live performances. These broadcast are more or less in chronological order: the very first recordings made in Italy drift into the years of remixes where other recordings were added. The final broadcast is a composition based on improvisations using the military issue shortwave.

Instrumental No