Shawn Hansen – Radio Badlands

Radio Badlands is a phonography expedition exploring the technique of onsite improvised music in nature with battery powered electronics and capturing the environment with a field recorder, a light microphone, and a VLF (very low frequency) radio antenna. All of the electronic sounds on this recording were made at the same location as the field recording and most often at the same time, direct to the recorder. The phonography expedition coincided with a trip to the Dakotas to bury my grandparents’ ashes, visit my mother’s childhood home, and to find my great grandmother’s homestead, which she claimed on her own at the age of nineteen after immigrating from Norway at the age of six. 

Dawn Chorus and Thunderhead Radio feature the VLF antenna, capturing two distinct phenomena. Dawn Chorus is the sound of the sun manipulating the Earth’s magnetic shield just prior to sunrise, and Thunderhead Radio captures the sound of the energy from lightening ricocheting off the shield. Solar Microphone captures the light modulation of the sun as white noise, the sound of a tree’s shadow dancing on the forest floor, and the reflection of flies’ wings above the microphone. 

All improvised electronics and samples performed on Teenage Engineering’s OP1 and Standuino’s 2pi. 

Read more in this interview.