Radionics: The Weird Tech That Turns Thoughts into Music

I’d never heard of radionics until I read this article at FACT, but apparently it’s been a thing for decades as scientists and composers have worked to turn thought into music.

I’m standing in a rusted water tank in Deptford to witness two men in lab coats tweak waves of static and rudimentary electronic flutter from the makeshift PA. Behind them, a projection of a low-res infinity tunnel – redolent of that early Windows ‘maze’ screensaver – fills the tank wall. Lines of text fade into view, jostling at the front of the tunnel before diminishing. Some stick around longer than others. ‘No more itching!’ reads one. ‘BRAINF**KING LOW FREQS’ demands another. A lot are in Spanish; many request money, or cosmic wellbeing. ‘Leon increases bitcoins.’ ‘Cut off all psy vampires.’ ‘I am magnetizing abundance.’ After 15 minutes, the music shifts, obtuse noise segueing into chiming bell tones. It’s not a tune, as such – it’s too stumbling for that – but it’s melodic. The visuals change to a scrolling sequencer, the text above reading: ‘Peter send me the money so I can fix the boat you promised’. The music fades, the crowd applauds, and the projection is again replaced with the words ‘Radionics Radio’ around two jagged waveforms and a dial reading 0–100.

You can read the rest here after you take a look at this instructional video.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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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