22 June 2004

Messages from the ether

Leave it to BoingBoing to make something interesting into something boring by waving the copyright flag. The band Wilco's label was sued by independent label Irdial Discs for a radio transmission of unknown origin included on Wilco's recording Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Irdial had released a recording of broadcasts found in the short-wave band from numbers stations. Wilco's sample is from one of the numbers stations. Numbers stations generally broadcast continuous streams of letters, numbers, the NATO phonetic alphabet, and other miscellany. The strong assumption is that they are used by various countries for espionage.

Here're some samples. NPR has an article with audio clips and links, and Salon had an article back in 1999. Both refer to a four CD recording called The Conet Project (put out by the above-mentioned Irdial Discs). $239.99.

[ posted by sstrader on 22 June 2004 at 1:16:56 PM in Culture & Society ]