Shifting Stations, A String Quartet
Updated: Mar 29
Shortwave Radio Transmissions 2022
This piece was composed for the Shortwave Transmissions project for CitiesAndMemory.com. It was composed in a span of about a week with most of the musical material compiled during one afternoon in November 2021. It is featured in the podcast and on the culminating album, Highlights from Shortwave Radio, https://citiesandmemory.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-transmissions, that was released Feb. 13, 2022.
Cities and Memory is an ongoing project that includes sound designers, sound artists, composers, and other sound and music professionals. The project catalogues found sounds, such as nature sounds, city sounds, and other collected sounds and repurposes them to turn them into “musical memories” of the place and space that the original sound was recorded. Some sounds are left clean; others are highly processed, but all of them are transformed into a new piece of auditory art. To learn more about this project and to listen to many works it inspired, visit https://citiesandmemory.com/.
The found audio for this piece is a recording from Gulf Harbor Radio. Gulf Harbor Radio is a radio station that features weather conditions for ships offshore of New Zealand.
The audio contains a lot of static along with hosts reading off weather reports. The static itself reminded me of the howling winds and roaring seas so I processed it to further accentuate that. Then I selected a section of the 30-minute recording that I preferred and used them as the backdrop to the piece.
Then I took another clean version of the audio and cut out words and phrases to drop in between the music phrases after the musical part was completed. For the musical material, I composed a short melody that oscillates between major and minor and manipulated it many ways to create the themes. Lastly, I added the harmonic texture which mimics the sounds of wind and waves.
The sound wave video was generated with veed.io.
Listen to Shifting Stations below and check out the entire album on bandcamp.