- Spoken Word
This mix, for the exhibition 'Ghosting' of the M.1 Arthur Boskamp Foundation, draws on the idea of media and medium-ship. In the spiritualist sense, radio in particular is a medium, an intermediary that channels unseen intelligences. We can take this as face value, that the acousmatic experience of listening to the radio makes disembodied thoughts appear as words, not just in the air, but in our minds.
In the late 19th and early 20th Century both Marconi and Tesla picked up mysterious voices from their radio experiments, assuming them to be undead or extra-terrestrial. Around the same time, Edison attempted to develop a technology specifically to receive the voices of the dead.
In 1957 painter and archaeologist Friedrich Jürgensen began to notice strange interferences on his attempts to record bird song in the Norwegian countryside. These sounds began to resemble voices and eventually he received a message from his dead mother “Friedel, can you hear me? It’s mammy. …”
Deeply affected he began to make thousands of recordings of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) speaking in polyglot mixtures of different languages. Around 1960 the “voices of his friends”, as he called the sounds he was capturing, told him to “Use the radio.” As a result, he developed a technique where he asked questions aloud and received answers via wireless.
Latvian psychologist Konstantin Raudive further developed the technique: on one of his recordings, he received a message that seems to centre the medium-ship of radio from the other side. In it, a spirit voice claims to be able to sense his wife and assistant: “We can see Edith by radio.”
But radio as an open channel and an era of receiving signals through the air is passing, replaced by digital and online versions. Contemporary ghost hunters who before this passing were using automatic radio scanners have now moved on to mobile phone apps that scramble banks of phonemes, static and noise. No longer open to outside signals, these assemblages of sound influenced by the presences of the dead need the interpretation of a human medium.
On the mix you’ll find recordings of channelling, possession, speaking in tongues and musical mediumship as well as numerous artistic and literary responses to EVP, spirit voices and ghosts. The unique technological and dramatic aesthetics of such recordings are sensationalist, uncanny and real, regardless of one’s belief or scepticism. As the liner notes to Okkulte Stimmen – Mediale Musik – Recordings of unseen Intelligences 1905–2007 point out “Many of the sound recordings make themselves heard with an enormous, disturbing intensity – they represent the human in a state of emergency, like distant calls from the border regions of consciousness.” (Translated from German)
Yet, the human body under stress can reveal the processes that are hidden during normal circumstances and the idea of mediumship is useful when thinking about the uncanny intrusion of everyday language into our minds. The role of the listener is that of an active interpreter of the imperfect channel of speech, transmitted though the noisy, cluttered wavelength of the air, intercepted by a less than optimal receiver. Given the lack of reliability it’s spooky to imagine that voices of others appear as apparitions in our minds, but this is not possession, rather speech is made meaningful through mediumship, and meaning is always produced collaboratively with sensitivity to the spirits of other humans.
PlaylistLeif Elggren - Commentary - Various – The Ghost Orchid: An Introduction To EVP
Unknown - We can See Edith By Radio - Various – The Ghost Orchid: An Introduction To EVP
Friedrich Jürgenson - Einspielung #11 - June 1960 - From The Studio For Audioscopic Research
Unknown - Paranormal voice on the answering machine, rec. Germany, 1999 - Okkulte Stimmen
Mark Korven - Witch's Coven - The VVitch (A New-England Folktale) OST
Unknown - Possessed children II, February 1978
Graham Lambkin - Ghost Boxes (Dedicated to Friedrich Jürgenson) - No Better No Worse (Vol 2)
Charlie Morrow - Spirit Voices (1987) - Chanter
Unknown - Glossolalia - Pentecostal Church, Oklahoma, USA 1980s - Okkulte Stimmen
Erik Bünger - The Empire Never Ended
Walter Maioli - Eagle Bone For The Ghost Dance - The Art of Primitive Sound
Jerome Rothenberg - First Horse-Song for 4 Voices - The 12th Annual International Sound Poetry Festival
Michael Esposito & Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - Phantom Air Waves – The Ghosts Of Effingham
Unknown - Ecstatically emotive artificial language in a chronic paranoid - Okkulte Stimmen
Oscillatorial Binnage - Subharmonic Ghost Suite - Agitations: Post-Electronic Sounds
The Horla - Guy de Maupassant - Audiobook
Konstantin Raudive - Side One - Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment In The Electronic Communications With The Dead
Mark Fisher & Justin Barton - On Vanishing Land
Haruomi Hosono and Bill Laswell - Spinning Spirits - N.D.E.
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
John Duncan - Phantom Broadcast
Nathan Gray - Sono X10 Spirit Box Recording - iPad App
Unknown - Unknown
Pliny the Younger - letter to sura by pliny the younger - Libri Vox
Spine Scavenger - Weighted Ghost 2 - Analogue Electronic Music 2008 Cd1
Richard Dawson - Ghost of a Tree