Friday, December 25, 2009

X-Mas Special! ZXR RADIO SEADROME on Other Dimension Radio


Other Dimension Radio

The Official 'Other Dimension Radio' Podcast available now!
Program # 1. ZXR RADIO SEADROME  
Almost Live via Biomass Transmitor - Music and Interview!

     Other Dimension Radio 1 - X-mas 2009  by  TAOXProductions
An interview with Sir Devin Starke

Of ZXR RadioSeaDrome


This interview with Devin Starke was conducted via
biomass interface between ZXR RadioSeaDrome
and the Biomass Research Laboratory
of Doctor Stephan Warlock in October of 2009.
Transcript from the desk of Dr. Stephan Warlock:

Recently, while conducting some experiments in Biomass Communications, I stumbled across an unusual signal. I was able to tune in to a broadcast from a strange facility called  ZXR Radio Seadrome.  After some calibration, I managed to pinpoint their clandestine Broadcast Network long enough to reverse a patterned biomass signal and get their attention.
    Only someone with a mind sharp enough to design, build, and operate the Tesla powered SeaDrome broadcast facility would be able to see the code in the biomass feedback pulses and recognize them as a “friendly hello” from someone with the capacity to interrupt their signal.
 It was the first round in a game of “psycho-electro-acoustic/ tag” with ZXR Radio Seadrome. 
For those unfamiliar, ZXR RadioSeadrome is comprised of a partnership between:
·                            Dr. Alex Zarkov (Chief Engineer – Electronics Expert),
·                            Captain Reginald Van Duesenberg – (ZXR’s Commander and navigator).
·                             Sir Devin Starke – (Composer/Musician and ZXR’s Music Director)

And now, streaming through an arcane array of biomass feedback generators and wave converters, I am pleased to bring you delegated representative from the SeaDrome itself …
Sir Devin Starke, Composer extraordinaire:

1.                              Dr. Stephan Warlock:  Greetings Devin, I believe you are it, so to speak.  Could you start by telling us a little bit about the ZXR RadioSeadrome and your music? Give us a general sense of your purpose and style…

Sir Devin Starke: Greetings Dr. Warlock, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. By the way that was pure genius how you intercepted our signal, very impressive work. Dr. Zarkov would like to talk to you about it after the interview. Let me start by saying that the SeaDrome is the world’s only Tesla-powered floating radio station. It roams the Atlantic sending out a one million watt signal capable of reaching halfway around the globe. Being ZXR’s onboard composer and music director I alone am responsible for what goes out over the airwaves. As an artist my sole purpose is to create the finest electronic sound sculptures I am capable of producing for the station. Some may say that I have fallen short of this goal but as the SeaDrome is a unique creation in an increasingly conformist world I feel compelled to create the most unique sounds I can for broadcast.

As for my style I have no name for it. Dr. Zarkov likes to call it lo-fi sci-fi for your Hi-Fi. The style could probably be traced back to the countless hours I spent as a child ‘composing’ on my Muson toy synthesizer which was an excellent source of incredibly cheap-sounding outer space type noises. I still have the Muson but seldom use it anymore for fear that it may finally give up the ghost. It’s at death’s door now.

2.            Dr.W:  How did the ZXR team actually come together…I mean you have quite a unique approach to fusing science, art, and broadcasting.

DS: I first met Captain Van Duesenberg after a midnight performance of my “Wow and Flutter Concerto” at the 42nd Street subway station in New York. He told me that he was the commander of Dr. Zarkov’s new floating radio station which was to be launched later that week. He also mentioned that they were looking for a music director to join them on the high seas. Having grown rather tired of performing underground I immediately offered my services. The rest as they say is history.

Dr. Zarkov is a brilliant scientist, he designed the SeaDrome entirely on his own. Unfortunately just a few weeks after we launched into the Atlantic the United States Federal Communications Commission began searching for us, claiming that we had no license to operate a one million watt transmitter. This was a ridiculous claim since we were broadcasting in the middle of the ocean far from any government jurisdiction. They continue to hunt for us nonetheless.

 But I would say that life on the SeaDrome is quite groovy actually. Supplies are delivered to us every week via Dr. Zarkov’s private magnacopter and there is always fine champagne and Beluga caviar on hand to fuel my creativity. And Dr. Zarkov’s daughter Alexia spends a lot of time on board where she can be closer to her father. She’s a fascinating young woman and we enjoy each other’s company a great deal, although the good Doctor seems to disapprove somewhat.

3.            Dr.W: You seem to have a great deal of focus on Nicola Tesla and his science, from the theoretical design of your broadcast facility, to the content of your music. You’ve even written a marvelous tribute piece, “Theme for Tesla”. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came together and the involvement of the Tesla Memorial Society?

DS: I had wanted to write a Tesla tribute for a long time but the right idea wouldn’t come to me. Then one day I came across the Tesla Memorial Society website where I first heard the beautiful eulogy speech read by Fiorello La Guardia who was mayor of New York City at the time Tesla died. In my mind I could hear music accompanying the words and immediately began writing the track. I contacted the Society asking for permission to use excerpts of the speech in my recording and I also sent them the track for their perusal. The Society’s president actually wrote to me giving his approval and thanking me for my work on Tesla. I was honoured to say the least.

4.            Dr.W: Besides Tesla, Whom else would you consider an essential influence that inspired the work you do today?

DS: Hugo Gernsback was a big influence on me. He was a prolific publisher of science fiction stories long before anyone even heard of the term. He actually coined the term “science fiction” although he preferred to call it “scientifiction”. As a young lad I was given a rather large collection of his early magazines. They’d be worth a fortune today if I still had them.

Regarding music I would have to say Kraftwerk first of all, I was greatly affected by their early albums. Klaus Schulze’s double album called “X” (“Ten”) was a major influence on me as well. I thought “Stratosfear” by Tangerine Dream was an electronic masterpiece, though I really don’t care for anything else they ever did. And I also spent a lot of time listening to vintage stereo test records. These were highly technical affairs usually filled with frequency sweeps, white noise, pink noise, all different colors of noise, sonic booms and such, really inspiring stuff.

Then there was a guy named Edd Kalehoff who was an early Moog player. The only time I ever saw him play was in a TV commercial but it had a profound impact on me, not so much for the music as for the huge modular synths, tape machines and electronic devices he was using. If you’d like to check it out I believe it’s still on YouTube somewhere. Edd looked like the coolest guy in the world surrounded by all that technology and I wanted to be that guy, minus the moustache and glasses of course, maybe a different shirt too.

5.            Dr.W: You have an unusual tone that is both old, warm and retro feeling, yet new and crisp simultaneously. For some of the ‘techies’ and music producers out there, would you be kind enough to describe a little bit about your recording process and the gear you use?

DS: I have no definitive recording process. I do use a combination of analog and digital devices which probably contributes to the ‘old/new’ feel of many of the tracks. Sometimes I’ll record certain parts directly onto reel to reel magnetic tape for added warmth and saturation before I transfer them into the digital realm. Some parts of “Frequency of Storms” were recorded onto a vintage stereo cassette deck for a truer lo-fi feel. Quite often I find that a digital synth will sound much better when first recorded in analog. Of course it all goes digital eventually but the process does impart a certain ineffable feeling to the track. One could call the tracks “analogically de-mastered” so to speak. Yes, I rather like that term and I think I’ll coin it right now. You’re my witness to this Dr. Warlock, I hereby make my claim as the man who coined the phrase “analogically de-mastered”. All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed and all that.

6.            Dr.W: Could you tell us something about the track you created (“In Robots We Trust”) for the upcoming “Rise of the Retrobots” compilation project? For starters, is that your voice opening the track?

DS: No, that is the voice of Emerson Crosley, ZXR’s on-air announcer. He and I were having a conversation one day when he mentioned that Captain Van Duesenberg once said that he didn’t trust robots because it was impossible to tell what they were thinking. I thought the line would fit the track nicely so I added it. Since this track was to be destined for a robot-oriented compilation project I wanted to create something a bit more in the style of early Kraftwerk as a sort of personal homage. I trust that imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery and not plagiarism!

Dr.W: For those who haven’t heard, “Rise of the Retrobots” is a multi-media compilation being put together by our glorious sponsors here at Other Dimension Radio, Nightmare Sound and
TAO X Productions creating unique, compelling music & sound for film and media. The call for submissions of Robot Oriented Music, Video, Animation, and Art is out there. Find out more at:  www.myspace.com/riseoftheretrobots
 
7.            Dr.W: Considering the brief telling of the legend of your Captain Van Duesenberg’s experience with the ‘Robot Mutiny’ on his trip to Tahiti, I’m just curious what is the official ZXR stance on Robots?

DS: Actually ZXR is decidedly pro-robot. Indeed, some of our best friends are robots such as Victor the Robot whose electronic grooves are among the finest I’ve heard. Captain Van Duesenberg still has some issues with robots but so would you if a dozen of them turned against you in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during a raging storm. Perhaps a better type of electrical insulation would have made all the difference but he’ll never know, will he? As I mentioned it was the good Captain himself whose words were replicated on the track “In Robots we Trust”.

8.            Dr.W: So, are there any new tracks or projects on the immediate horizon?

DS: I’ve been working for quite a while on the music for a new ballet which is to be performed entirely in zero-gravity, but it seems I shall never finish it now as the SeaDrome takes up most of my time these days. I do have several tracks in the works at the moment, one of which is some appropriate ‘please stand by’ music for those times when the station runs into technical difficulties. A seemingly simple track such as this is much harder to do well than one might realize, it’s a matter of creating just the right mood to accompany the thoughts of a listener who is waiting in anticipation for the regular broadcast to resume. Capturing a mood is everything to me. Each track needs to create a certain atmosphere. If it doesn’t then I reject the track.

9.            Dr.W: If there was one piece of gear you could add to the SeaDrome’s arsenal of sonic equipment, what would that be?

DS: Well, there are a lot of pieces of vintage gear that I would like to have. One which comes to mind is a Buchla 700 synth. I believe about twelve of them were made so they’re a little hard to find.

10.        Dr.W: What are your hopes and goals for ZXR Radio SeaDrome and your musical composition over the coming years?

DS: Whether by fate, luck or inclination I am now part of the ZXR crew. My only goal is to continue working as the artistic soul of the SeaDrome for as long at she may sail over the storm-tossed wine dark seas of time. And long may that be.

 Dr. W: At this time I need to thank you Devin, for gracing us with your time and your music, and thank all of you, for tuning in.
You’ve been listening to an interview with Sir Devin Starke of ZXR RadioSeaDrome here on Other Dimension Radio. You can learn more about ZXR RadioSeaDrome at:
http://www.myspace.com/zxrradioseadrome
 I’m Dr. Stephan Warlock bringing you music and sound from Other Dimensions.
Tonight’s fine programming has been brought to you by Nightmare Sound and TAO X Productions.
You can find out what other mad science and musical metaphysics are going down at the Nightmare Sound Laboratories by checking out:

For Other Dimension Radio this is Doctor Warlock signing off….

 This program has been sponsored by:


2 comments:

  1. For more information on Hugo Gernsback check out a new biography available on Amazon.

    The document was found by me when we closed down Gernsback Publications in 2003. It was an old ms that I edited and produced as a book.

    Follow the link and you can go to the book and thanks to Amazon’s “look inside” feature, you can even get an idea of what it covers.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hugo-Gernsback-Well-Ahead-Time/dp/1419658573/ref=ed_oe_p

    Hope you find it interesting.

    For more information feel free to contact me, Larry Steckler, at PoptronixInc@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for that extra info Larry:)
    Glad to know someone's tuning in out there;)

    Doc Warlock

    ReplyDelete

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