Issue 35 / 2018

The All-Time Hit Parade: soundplays and radio varia chosen for the „Glissando“ readers by experts from 11 countries and 3 continents (vol. 3)

Arturas Bumšteinas, Chantal Dumas, Dinah Bird, Gregory Whitehead, Jon Rose
Arturas Bumšteinas

Samuel Beckett

It won not only Prix Italia but also many hours of my own lifetime.

Alvin Curran
Maritime Rites

This large work plays with the relationships in the chain of composer-performer-listener. Here composer  is also performer, guest performers are 9 composers, the listener… In radio, you never know who’s listening.

Gregory Whitehead
Pleasure of Ruins

If listening can be a kind of perverse pleasure, so this one is all mine.

Stefano Giannotti

Sonic art that talks to you… What has been dreamed of by many generations of composers, has been achieved by radio, or by Stefano Giannotti, to be more precise.

Alessandro Bosetti
Collection of Smiles

When i heard it for the first time, i fell in love with it. At the second hearing i fell asleep from boredom. Later this year i’m going to organize a festival in Vilnius and Collection of Smiles will happen in my life for the third time. I have a feeling it’s not the last time.


Gregory Whitehead

Hans Flesch
Zauberei aus dem Sender

A sly infiltration into the dominant 1920s cultural identity for radio as expertly curated and hosted music program, turned on its ear, inside out. The Sorcerer asks the question: can there be a music that nobody plays, a music created by the air, in the air? Flesch does not want us to “stage” a play in the space; he invites us to stage (and play with) the space itself. To my ears, much more provocative than the similar infiltration (into “the news”) performed by O. Welles, a dozen years later. A path opened towards a whole new kind of radio “drama”, yet very few have followed it.

Delia Derbyshire & Barry Bermange
Invention for Radio No. 1, The Dreams

Montages of recorded interviews floating in a bed of musique concrete: loosely episodic, haunting, playful. Simple in conception, yet subtle and intricate in the montage, rhythm, choices, voices, vibes. Invigorating medicine for those addicted to clever host-centric narration and tidy structural resolutions that have since come to dominate BBC radio in the name of being “accessible”. Yet what could be more accessible than free poetic association for the listener’s own imagination?]

Glen Gould
The Idea of North

Another provocative use of documentary materials free from the tight confines of a linear narrative or report. Much of the theme is not “north” but rather solitude; a meditation on isolation in a public space by way of an accumulation of solo voices into a polyphonic chorus. Here again, a path opens, and few have taken it.

Sun Ra
Space Is the Place

Soundtrack for a film by that title but close your eyes and listen as a radiocast. Sun Ra, born from confrontation with a radio head, a confrontation that blew his Herman Blount mind into the celestial being named Sun Ra, a radiated being who then conjures music from the decayed vibrations of ancient sounds that have bounced off Neptune and returned home, into his Arkestral head. Is this the answer to Flesch’s Sorcerer, a music that nobody plays but that emerges from the space itself? Ra: “It’s After the End of the World.”

Max Neuhaus
Radio Net

In Radio Net, Neuhaus engineers a sort of artist-pirate takeover of the flagship program of National Public Radio (NPR), “All Things Considered”, and floats instead a mass compression of air through anonymous lips, in search of a National Public Whistle. A singular event, in the sense that from that day on (to my ears and understanding) NPR slowly yet steadily developed a distinct aversion to all forms of radio experimentation outside of tightly contained “art slots”, usually confined to late on Sunday nights.


Jon Rose

The works of Kaye Mortley – very specific radio style. Australian but worked in Paris for years for rRdio France and France Culture.

The radio works of Alvin Curran.

Much of the work made for Klaus Schoening at WDR cologne.

Some of the work made for Heidi Grundmann and Elizabeth Zimmerman at ORF Vienna.

Works made by Rik Rue in Australia.

Works made by John Blades in Australia (he is dead now).


Chantal Dumas

Gregory Whitehead
Pressures of the Unspeakable

Why Gegory Whitehead? Simple because it’s brilliant!

In 1991, Gregory Whitehead arrived in Sydney for a residency at ABC presenting himself as the director of the International Institute for Screamscape Studies. It sets up some infrastructures such as a screamroom and a national screamline with an answering machine. He invites himself to talk shows and debates at local universities to talk about his research on Cree therapy. After a few days, the “screamline” is deactivated and the cries placed in a bank of cries for future researchers. The result of this sham: Pressures of the Unspeakable (ABC, 1992). ]

Luc Ferrari
Presque rien no 2, ainsi continue la nuit dans ma tête multiple

Why Luc Ferrari? Listening to his anecdotal pieces opened a window of freedom. It told me that everything is possible in creation. You have to dare.

“Description of a night landscape that the soundman tries to surround with his microphones, but the night surprises the ” hunter ” and enters his head. It is then a double description: the inner landscape modifies the outer night and composing it, adds to it its own reality (imagination of the reality); or, so to speak, psychoanalysis of his night landscape? ” Luc Ferrari.

Anna Friz
You are far from us

Why Anna Friz? She brings a poetic aspect to the sound flow without ever forgetting what the radio medium is.

An installation realized as a multi-channel array of radio receivers suspended above visitor’s heads, where breath emerges through the thin heterodyne music of the radios in the array and results in an immersive, dynamic sonic environment, lit only by small LEDs constellations.

Alessandro Bosetti

Why Alessandro Bosetti? He manipulates the art of performance with brillo and humor and makes the listener lives the risk taken each time.

Trying to count as long as possible while a text / score tries by all means to distract me and interrupt me. A sound meditation on my “blindness to numbers”.

Hanna Hartman
Black Bat (Turgor)

Why Hanna Hartman? She has a very personal and original way of expressing herself by using recorded raw sound material and associating it with a concept, an idea.

Hanna Hartman records places, objects and scenes all over the world, and then composes with them in a way that tracing back to the sound source is not as easy you might think. At the heart of her composition Black Bat (Turgor), is the sound, concept and feeling of pressure.

Radiofoniczny projekt:
170 pastilles sonores #

Why Silence Radio? It is a Website project. Many artists were commissioned over time. The project is now closed but still timely and relevant. For the pleasure of sound. The enjoyment of listening. The nuisance and especially the refusal to resign ourselves to flight or confinement. In front of the complexity of the sound phenomena, to listen is to take responsibility and to start to resist. (Here, a noise delights us.)


Dinah Bird

Les Maîtres du Mystère

It was a weekly radio adaptation of a mystery novel produced by Pierre Billard every Tuesday for France Inter that ran from 1952-1974. I never had the experience of listening on air but about 10 years ago I was given as a present a shoe box full of cassette editions of the very best of this wonderful programme, found in a closing down bookshop. The cassettes soon did the rounds of all my friends. The jingle, Tempo di Suspens, composed by Andre Popp on the ondes martenot could not be better named. Limited sound effects, great illustration music, and delivered in French from a bygone era.

Jim Whelton, Resonance FM
The Harmon e. Phraisyar Show

This is a disastrous instrument, a kind of public service devoid of a public, and each week generates numberless spurious realities in dedication to the activities of the media, global corporations, governments, religious and political groupings.

In this episode he explores the complex problems of living in a small village…

Alvin Curran
Maritime Rites

Maritime Rites is a series of ten environmental concerts for radio composed by Alvin Curran. This series features the Eastern Seaboard of the United States as a musical source in collaboration with improvised musical performances by ten distinguished artists in the American new-music scene: John Cage, Joseph Celli, Clark Coolidge, Jon Gibson, Malcolm Goldstein, Steve Lacy, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Leo Smith, and Alvin Curran. The programs use specifically recorded natural sounds as musical counterpoint to the soloists, whose improvisations are freely restructured and mixed by Curran. As nature is spontaneous and unpredictable, so is the music of man. Curran simply brings the two together in a common radiophonic sound-space letting both chance and intention make the music. Featured here are the foghorns of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and New Brunswick, Canada. Also included are maritime bells, gongs, whistles, and regional bird and animal life. Comments from lighthouse keepers, Coast Guard personnel, and other local people are woven impressionistically throughout.

I particularly like n°2 which features Pauline Oliveros, composer and accordionist, performing her piece Rattlesnake Mountain. “Mixed with her solo, in a quiet rhythm that emulates breath itself, are the sounds of the whistle buoy near Robinson’s Rock, a threetoned gong from the Graves near Camden, and foghorns from Rockland Harbor, all in Maine. Also heard is the voice of the only female lighthouse keeper in America, Karen McLean of the U.S. Coast Guard, Doubling Point, Maine.

Claudia Wegener
Radio Armed Response

London based artist Claudia Wegener walks the streets of two suburban communities in Johannesburg S.A. In door to door interviews, at times through intercom systems and across gates, she asks questions related to public safety and a privatised security system. The result is a radio artwork mixed from what the artist likes to call dramatic field recordings. In surprisingly intimate, often humorous conversations, narratives of a complex urban patchwork of communities unfold before your ‘very eyes’. Yet what unravels, far beyond ‘issues of security’, social and urban divisions are shared concerns, questions, stories and visions about living together.

Here, the original half hour audio piece from 2005 is reframed in recent footage for London’s art radio station Resonance104.4fm (60mins broadcast on 27 April 2007).

Piers Plowright
Setting Sail

It is difficult to choose one of this legendary British radio producer’s masterpieces .. and I am afraid they’re not available to listen to online.

Piers Plowright’s evocation of death, Setting Sail, a montage of sounds and voices beginning among the tombs of Highgate Cemetery that won the Prix Italia. A word or two before you go with Sean Casey , Esther Clarke Len Clarke , John Fry, Michael Jack, Ivor Leverton, Ray Rossen, Frank Sugg, Jill Tweedie, John Tyrrell, Alison Waley, Francis Watson. Compiled and produced by Malcolm Clarke and Piers Plowright in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.


Arturas Bumšteinas – Lithuanian composer and radio artist. His works were comissioned i. a. by Deutschland Radio Kultur in Berlin and Australian ABC. Winner of  Palma Arsa Acustica in 2013.

Jon Rose – British-Australian violinist and composer. A titan of work, whose oeuvre contains also over ten experimental soundplays, comissioned i. a. by ABC.

Gregory Whitehead – giant of American radioart and experimental radio theatre. Debuted in the 80s as a member of a cassette scene and circles of sound poetry, a descendant of the cut up tradition. Later, he would develop larger forms derived from original uses of human voice as well as mix of documental and fictional materials.

Chantal Dumas – sound artist artystka tied to Montreal. She specialises in instalations and radioart.

Dinah Bird – sound and radio artist, connected with Paris and London. She created for i. a. BBC, France Culture’s Atelier de Création Radiophonique, Resonance FM and Kunst Radio. Winner of Prix Luc Ferrari in 2011.

edited by: Michał Mendyk
translations: Antoni Michnik