Long Wave Goodbye

by Michael Day

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The idea that analogue radio signals, long used to communicate telegrams and for commercial broadcasts, will eventually be phased out in favour of digital signals has been a recent preoccupation of my work in sound. The experience of ‘tuning’, the making-audible of atmospheric conditions that hand-tuning presents to the listener will soon be as rare as the experience of playing vinyl records has become with the advent of the compact disc.

Some sounds persist as signifiers of other meanings even though they rarely occur in daily life: the screech of a stylus being pulled from a vinyl record is often used as a clichéd way of drawing the audience’s attention to a sudden change of pace in visual broadcast media, even though very few people under the age of 20 will recognise the source of the sound or what it originally signified. Tuning, or dead air, may well end up the same, a signifier dislocated permanently from its signified.

This piece presents a transition across the full range of the long wave spectrum available on the Technics SA-200L. It was originally presented as a two-channel sound installation, with a looping time of 33 minutes. Here, the silences between tracks have been removed, and the original stereo files mixed down to mono.


released June 12, 2006


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Michael Day Sheffield, UK

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