A trip down on memory lane, back to my youth, laying in bed at night, small transistor radio under my pillow, listening to the mysterious static filled bleeps, blips and voices from far away places beyond my imagination.
Despite the allusion, this is anything but a random take of analogue/shortwave radio. Modelbau (aka Frans de Waard of Vital Weekly, Goem, Kapotte Muziek) takes you on an eerie, radiophonic trip through the aether.
It is practically impossible to listen to this album on the sidelines. It is mind-boggling, unsettling, at times cacophonous and also funny. In short: Even if you're used to listen to complex and, well, 'difficult' music, it likely still won't be your average listening experience: Amateur, maritime mobile, fundamental christian radio, radio plays, atmospheric noise ... augmented by Modelbau's unique synth drone and noise.
Here's what Frans has to say about the album:
"This release I think of as something of a landmark when it comes to doing things different. So far, most of the Modelbau releases had the same look, Xerox art and very minimal information, and from one point onwards, no titles for the individual pieces.
When I was in touch with superpolar Taïps from Germany regarding the cassette single series, I offered something by QST, as it is easier to keep those songs short, but we also discussed Modelbau. I was working in late December with the radio from the website of the University of Twente quite a bit, and as a huge fan of analogue and in particular shortwave radio, SPT label owner bleed Air expressed his interest in what I was recording.
I thought of doing small impromptu radio plays. Find a station with some voices talking, in a language I don’t understand and when something nice came up, adding electronics, Modelbau-style, and keep it within the space of three minutes.
I accumulated many of these pieces and I thought it would be a shame not to do anything else with this material and so the thought of an album came. I had not used a lot of multi-tracking in Modelbau, effectively keeping it all ‘live’ and ‘improvised’, but for this one I stuck them on four stereo tracks and tried to find a dialogue within these pieces, making cross-fades and hard cuts, like one would do when dialling a radio (in the old days, I guess); these days it is mostly digital, not allowing you to scan the waves), and the whole album is one long radio-trip.
I then cut these into separate pieces and gave them titles, from various radio stations (not corresponding with the music). Peter Johan Nÿland did the mastering, another new thing. And for the cover, designed by SPT label owner bleed Air, an unusual image for Modelbau.
I am quite proud of this album, being one big oddball in the Modelbau catalogue."
SPT adds that we too are happy and excited to share it with the rest of the world.
released June 4, 2021
Recorded by Modelbau, February 2019 and January 2021. Mixed February 2021. Mastered by Nÿland at 4 & Rising.
Design by bleed Air.
Official Short Wave Listener Magazine, 1935 (front); Simplicity Of Radio, Powel Crosley Jr., 1924 (inside). All images public domain.
One of my fav cassette labels, and also one from which I've learned a lot. You're a fan of spoken word and haunty, shortwave-esque stuff? Then forget about "The Conet Project", and buy this. Now. superpolar Taïps