Sunday, 29. January 2006, 23:05. - 23:45, Ö1


Frequency Post curated by Andrew Garton


IV. The Crystal Remains of Dead Air Memories

by Ollie Olsen




One of my earliest memories is that of my uncle introducing me to the wonders of sound via a tiny crystal set radio. Using the tap in our backyard as an antenna, we magically scanned for a station. The signal was very weak, phasing in and out of stations - this completely fascinated me as a young child and really is the first time I can recall being so intrigued by electronic sound.
A few years later in my life I was already experimenting with radios at home, trying to find sonic curiosities, and was never unsatisfied by my discoveries! I was always really attracted to the sound of the phasing between stations and how the sound seemed to move - it was so tangible, I felt I could see it.
By the time I was around 10 years old my auntie had one of those small AM transistor radios. She was giving my cousins and I a try of this new radio that had a single earpiece. It was then that she realised I was completely deaf in my right ear, and I made yet another discovery through radio.
Nowadays, as a composer that doesn’t hear stereo like most people, I realize that this is why I have always been attracted to the movement of sound in a mono perspective. Things going in and out of phase, frequency wavering, anything that suggests movement to me. I have found that by using convolving techniques sound can be produced that can be so dramatic in mono that even people with two working ears can think it’s in stereo.
In Elwood (Melbourne, Australia), my place of residence, there is a major hole in transmission. People cannot get a decent TV or radio signal and mobile phones sometimesreally struggle to work.

For my project I built a crystal set radio, using the basic diagram from an article which was found in a 1932 Australian newspaper. Using the crystal set, I mapped out my local area by recording transmissions I located with it.
These recordings are used as source samples for a generative composition (using PURE DATA or MAX/MSP). The program acts as a kind of crossconvolving multi-channel mixer that hopefully achieves the desired effect of something akin to those first sounds I heard back at the start if the 1960’s coming back into the present and made timeless.

Ollie Olsen (Melbourne, Australia)

Statments by Andrew Garton (Curator):

about Frequency Post in common

about ther Gerneral Idea of Frequency Post

about Ollie Olsen