I'm 8 years old, spending the night at my friend Donnie's house. Its about 1 in the morning. 'My dad has a weird radio. You have to hear it.' We sneak up to the living room of the house, and turn an enormous knob two clicks to the right, from 'aux' to 'sw'. Gonk. Gonk. Gonk.
It sounds like everything's being played at the beach. Whitecaps of noise break against static background. I am hooked. We go see the second star wars movie later that month,and the Imperial Probe Droid that Han Solo shoots at the beginning goes 'bampita bampita, bampita bampita'.
Same crests crashing on noise sand. I know where they got that sound. My fate is sealed.
I bought this beauty (see top of post) at a flea market outside Berlin on DAE's first tour there, right after 9.11. It's from Poland. It makes great sounds. The brand is Jowita.
Shortwave sounds have been giving me creative fire since I was a kid, and trying to find distant signals is still my favorite way to pass a sleepless winter night. See, nighttime is when the signals are clearest and travel farthest. I record obsessively, and someday may have as many sounds as Tod Dockstader did when he made his amazing Aerial albums. I made a mixtape for you guys compiling some of it - may it lull you to sleep.