Funkenspiel by David W. Halsell


Funkenspiel by David W. Halsell


Funkenspiel is a noise/music assemblage recording of shortwave radio, spacecraft transmissions, and atmospheric phenomena. In performance, this is remixed dub-style with live shortwave broadcasts. Funkenspiel includes repetitive rhythms, bursts of noise, and undulating radio signals. A prominent feature in the source material is the use of “number stations”– repetitious coded vocal messages of unidentified origin, transmitted via shortwave bands. These broadcasts are supposed covert transmissions by various state intelligence agencies to field operatives (see the Conet Project, which is where some of the source material for this project is from.)

These enigmatic transmissions are an overlapping territoriality of social influence between the social, machinistic, and political realms. Natural and man-made radio waves envelope us constantly, generating variable definitions and meaning of what is signal and what is noise. Funkenspiel thematically considers the politics of control in information transmission, the interplay and significance of noise in a sonic environment, and the metaphorical implications of the body/voice being awash in a constant flow of encoded information in radio signals.

The title of the work is a variation on “funkspiel” (radio-play), a technique used in WWII by both German and Russian forces in which foreign agents and transmitters were manipulated into treasonous activities; “funkenspiel” can be translated literally as transmitter-play or spark-play. Funkenspiel debuted at Control Acoustics, the Zeppelin 2005 Sound Projects Festival, Barcelona, Spain. The work was released in digital distribution in 2018 by Flat Field Records.

Track Listing:

  1. Ionosphere and Guidance
  2. The Bulgarian Incident
  3. The Torkham Opportunity
  4. Rendezvous: Gomal E-7
  5. Lo Wu Control Point
  6. The Russo-Angolan Operation
  7. Telstar Tropical Spherics
  8. The Arctic Van Allen Haarp
  9. Goodnight, Dark Knight

Funkenspiel by David W Halsell