19.02.2012

Radio Boredcast Presents...
Guest blog by Vicki Bennett

Time is a curious thing - on one hand we complain about being so busy we just don’t know what to do with ourselves, and on the other hand weliterally don’t know what to do with ourselves and say we are bored. Given that we need more time, when we are not killing it, it is also strange that (in the western world) we are so obsessed with speed - the one thing guaranteed to make us miss out on the detail, complexity and depth ofexperience in exchange for thrills and illusions of gaining something, that “something” often being more time.

In Spring 2011, AV Festival director Rebecca Shatwell asked if I'd like to curate/program me a month-long radio station for AV Festival 12. I was delighted… and also amused - because it seemed like an insane volume oftime (if you'll excuse the sonic pun) to be trying to not only keep on aleash but then put into 31 large pens with 24 smaller boxes inside withmore little boxes inside that forever decrease yet multiply like Russian Dolls. The first thing that struck me is that 744 hours is quite a long time. 744 minutes is a long time. Four weeks lined up in iTunes is a longplaylist. It would be easy to think about how to fill this up as quickly as possible, but that’s Speediness rearing it’s rather worn out headagain. “Slow” is subtle, it avoids the obvious, the short cut or the firsthurdle; it is to start at the end of the race and see where we are running to. The only thing to be stretched is the concept of what Slow actuallymight be - the only aim to make it an engaging, entertaining and unpredictable a listening experience as possible.

From August 2011 until this day (well it's not really finished, let alone started yet), my mind has been dancing a little dance, probably a waltz,toying with the ins, outs, longs, shorts and ups and downs of the subject of A Slow As Possible.  The first thing I knew was that the preconception of "Slow" may appear drawn out, long, stretched, and possibly quite…boring. So I decided that it had better not be that. Then I had to think of a name. Spent weeks toying with various ridiculous titles and just couldn't think of one. Then in an email talking about our Broadcast Project (working title), I spelt "Broadcast" wrong… and there was the title. Totally nothing to do with boring at all, no. And the project has often behaved much like this - so many things have either worked themselves out magically or been the opposite of what I expected. For instance, this has been about Slowness but it's been such a huge exercisein collecting, assembling and outputting data, of inviting participants, communicating with 90-100 people at once and trying to gauge in advance how this was all going to work aesthetically as well as having to imagine where the conceptual gaps may be and plug them, that this has been more a case of As Fast As, or As Soon As Possible. But the whole process has been as amazing as it has been immersive.

I decided to invite people who I knew also had worked in radio, and also people who (ironically) were able to work fast and who I knew would respond well to this theme, either because their work somehow related to this already, or because they were very inspired kind of people. Participants were asked to participate as radio hosts making a free form/regular radio show, or as an artist making new work, or to compile a mix of other people/their own work.  Of the approximately 100 people that I invited to participate with radio shows, new audio, mixes and so on, 99% said yes AND delivered!  The enthusiasm and diversity ofresponse was a great thing to witness, to see how each person understoodthe concept of Slow in relation to their lives and work and then undertookthe task. It was a pleasure to get to interact with so many people that Iadmire, and all at once. It transformed the nature of a lot of peopleswork that took part.

I simultaneously started the marathon task of downloading 2.5 months of audio from various music blogs, grabbing from and searching through my ownand other peoples hard drives, searching for both content but also ideas. As a result I identified a number of themes that would need addressing, and my job would be to provide a very wide scope of material that may not be covered by the outside participants. I also made my own radio shows as "DO or DIY with People Like Us" and also "Radio Boredcast", coveringthemes that may be missing. The deadline arrived and the pieces of workstarted arriving from participants, at which point the only thing I coulddo was buy an A2 notepad and LOTS of post-it notes and get the hell awayfrom the computer, and then begin the job of making a calendar.  It took a month to fill the month - and would have taken another month to listen to a month - so Slowly I listened as Fast As Possible. Then I made lots of selections called "Radio Boredcast Presents…" which are playlists coveringrelated genres like minimalism and dub, as well as more esoteric themes as "Sounds of the Ether" and "Safe Harbours". Then came the response tothemes within AV Festival's programming. There would be a crossover in to many of the musical events, themes and participants. There is a whole section on Sleep for instance - to coincide with Steven Stapleton's Sleep Concert, a Remembrance of Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, plus the Opening Weekend programming reflects many events going on in relation to people like John Cage, Kenneth Goldsmith, Phill Niblock and so on.  Also there are other related themes that we get to exclusively address, for instancethe 30th anniversary of Touch (http://www.touchmusic.org.uk/) - where I have programmed, with the help of Mike Harding from Touch, 30 hours of Touch music. The month ends with a gradual speeding up of the station, to reflect upon speed in relation to slowness, a reflection on the pace in contract to our perceptions, looking at what speed we might expect life tobe.

The full list of participants in Radio Boredcast with new and exclusive recordings and shows are Carl Stone, Pseu Braun & Alex Orlov, Touch, Rob Weisberg, Nicolas Collins, Andrew Lahman, Chris & Cosey, Jonathan Dean and Transmuteo, Cheese Snob Wendy, Kevin Nutt, Tony Coulter, Daniel Menche, Scott Williams, John Wynne, Chris Watson, Jem Finer and Longplayer, Tim Maloney, Ergo Phizmiz, Matmos, Dave Soldier, Charlie and Busy Doing Nothing, Andrew Sharpley, Nancy O Graham, Gwilly Edmondez, Anna Ramos & Roc Jiménez De Cisneros, Doug Horne, Irene Moon, David Suisman, Radio Web MACBA, Mark Gergis and Porest, Jez Riley French, Don Joyce, Carlo Patrao and Zepelim, Dorian Jones, Jason Willett, Zach Layton, Primate Arena with Alex Drool and Eran Sachs, David Toop, Dylan Nyoukis, Jared Blum and Gigante Sound, Ed Pinsent, Adrian Philips aka Mr Rotorvator, Axel Stockburger, Craig Dworkin, Felix Kubin, People Like Us, Language Removal Services, Daniela Cascella, John Levack Drever, Joel Eaton, Clay Pigeon, Gudrun Gut, Charles Powne, Carl Abrahamsson, Andreas Bick and Silent Listening, Phantom Circuit, Patti Schmidt aka Wheelie Houdini, Leif Elggren, Ken Freedman, Erik Bünger, Douglas Benford, Christof Migone, BJ Nilsen, Andy Baio, Adam Thomas aka Preslav Literary School, Caroline Bergvall, Ken's Last Ever Radio Extravaganza, Tapeworm, Brent Clough and The Night Air, Ilan Volkov, Nat Roe, Steven Ball, X41, The Long Now Foundation, Sharon Gal, Michael Ruby, Jonathan Leidecker, DJ/rupture, Gordon Monahan, Michael Cumella aka MAC, Lloyd Dunn and nula, DDDJJJ666, and Kenneth Goldsmith.

While listening, you may hear adults talking for hours about slowness and children complaining about how boring it all is, thematic freeform radio shows, mathematical experiments and time-based compositions, field recordings of nature’s cycles and underwater rumblings, musical meanderings through memory and inner worlds of sleepless nights; across landscapes and back through time, discovering the world of ritual and speaking in tongues by way of babbling poets and bubbling brooks full of musical elephants, a voyage into deep concréte through art gallery toilets, scientific discussions on insects and evolutionary biology,ultrasound recordings of bats, journeys through very slow cheese, soundscapes from faraway lands with long phone calls full of language removal, testcard music and shipping forecasts, vast sweeping summaries ofthe entire history of everything, and then… Silence. Outside of this willbe programming of thematic playlists all the way through “Acconci” (Vito)to “Zzz…” (Leif Elggren & Thomas Liljenberg)

This has been a great thing to programme and I can't wait for you to hear it. There is also a preview podcast, which started to get to be the length ofa radio station in itself, and will nearly need a podcast about the podcast.  

Subscribe to the Radio Boredcast free podcast now - it will arrive into your iTunes with previews of show highlights every 2-3 days through the month of March. Subscribe Now.

Subscribe via iTunes here. Or through the apple store

Radio Boredcast is hosted by BASIC.fm, and there's a free Android and iPhone app that you can download now as one way to listen to the radio station while on the move. BASIC.fm already exists in it's own form, and magically will change into Radio Boredcast throughout the month of March. For iPhone or Android.

Vicki Bennett