Ongoing History Daily: Weird CD alert

If you’ve ever fooled around with a shortwave radio–and this is admittedly something of a lost pastime–you’ll know that you can hear weird interference noises that are almost musical.  You may have also stumbled on something called “numbers stations.” 

It’s just a voice–sometimes real, sometimes computer-generated, sometimes female, sometimes even a child–reading a seemingly meaningless string of numbers.  We think these are spies communicating with each other in code.  So what does this have to do with music? 

In 1997, a dude named Akin Fernandez released an album called The Conet Project that featured nothing but these weird numbers stations broadcasts.  Since then, all kinds of bands have sampled from this record. And if you ever want to clear out a party at the end of the night, put this one.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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