Numbers Station Samples – Call for Submissions

by JP

I’ve been bouncing around on twitter for a long time the idea of getting together 10-12 tracks featuring electronic musicians interpretations of so called Number Station samples.

Number Stations if you are unfamiliar are shortwave radio stations that broadcast strange and cryptic content, often ordered or seemingly random series of numbers repeated over and over again. Other stations played weird music, and other still just repeated tones over an over. They were all the rage back in the Coldwar era and are often thought to have been spying agencies means of communication.

Probably the most famous Number Station sample is from the Wilco album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, partly due to the album being named after it but maybe more so because it lead to complex legal wrangles over who “owned” the recording, eventually settled out of court.

The most authoritative collection of Numbers Stations recordings is the Conet Project by Irdial Records, who make available the entire collection under their Free Music Philosophy. There are also plenty of other places online to find other samples that can be used in recordings as samples (my so called 3 note oddity used in my track comes from this very informative site).

So now you have the background, here’s my idea. I’d like to get 10-15 tracks together, and release them through an established netlabel free. My current netlabel of choice is the Barcelona based Public Spaces Lab (I’ve contacted them and they seem very interested).

If you are an electronic musician, of any flavor and would like to make a piece that heavily uses samples taken from Number Stations recordings and then make it publically available for nothing, either drop me an email mail at madebyrobot dot com, or leave a comment below and drop me a message on twitter @madebyrobot.

I’ll keep a running list here of people who have expressed interest in contributing:

- Made By Robot
- Kieron James
- Ambienteer (James Fahy)
- FixateMusic
- Svanbommel
- Mrbitterness
- I Am Genko
- Battery Collection
- % (aka Owner Operator)
- Martin Backes
- Weather Balloons (Dave Barber)
- Oicho

For anyone interested in submitting and those who already have listed above, I will need the following for Public Spaces Lab at some point:

What we need from you is the following:
Every artist involved in the release, including yourself should provide us with:
1. Small Bio (300 words max)
2. High Resolution Photo

All artists have to agree to being released under a Creative Commons License 3.0 Unported by-nc-nd.

I have setup my soundcloud drop box for submissions, if you have a soundcloud account you can just keep the track private and share it with me that would be great.