Spy broadcasts, shortwave radio and beautiful gardens
This one’s from the gorgeous and tranquil Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire. If it’s a sunny afternoon and you’re in this part of the world, it’s well worth a visit. In amongst the displays of flowers and trees is an amphitheatre used for live performances during the summer, and at the back is an archway (pictured) with a perfect little reverb in it, so I spent some time in there recording the variety of birdsong to be heard, with added layers of natural reverb.
Looking up at the sky while I was there, I was thinking about sound carrying on the airwaves as a plane went by, and thought about all the other encoded sounds that are whizzing around our ears every day in the form of radio waves etc., and I wondered what it would be like if we could hear every sound wave, encoded or otherwise, or what would happen if some of the disembodied radio voices mingled with the natural birdsong. I’ve always been fascinated by the use of shortwave radio for many years to send codes and secrets through methods like number stations – indeed my old band sampled number stations some years ago in this track. So I’ve layered some multilingual number station samples over this very natural original sound, imagining secret codes and voices speaking in many languages all around us.