SOUND: on "Transmission, a radio play" – Douglas Wright
Transmission, a radio play
Written by Samuel J. Lilly (Symphony of Sound) & D.A. Wright (Story/Libretto)
Performed by Michael Andrew O’Brien
Listeners Note: This piece begins with an immersion before the first words. The chime instrument was handcrafted by Samuel J. Lilly (aka Bazl Whammy) in a Tokyo blacksmith shop for the specific purpose of playing this symphony.
Transmission is intended to be listened in the dark with big headphones (or on an old-school radio).
How this collaborative radio piece came about is a long and rambling, round-the-globe story. My friend Sam in Tokyo had been helping run this WTF radio for years (cool site, by the way, comprised of bizarre audio tracks submitted by contributors from all over the world… WTF takes weird music to a whole new level). So WTF radio decides to have this contest for its contributors. The prize for the winner: a symphony in a box. Great concept, that’s the way Sam’s mind works. He pretty much spends most of his time thinking up strange collaborations, playing music on the street, and bending steel to create electric kotos and other hybrid instruments. He also has a collection of handmade bells and chimes (download his first Peregine album if you get a chance… it’s just chimes and bass guitar, kind of brilliant.)
That’s where I get pull into the WTF project. Sam tells me “Will you write me a libretto for this symphony in a box?” And of course, I said “absolutely, love to, just up my alley” and then googled the definition of ‘libretto’.
I sent him my version of a libretto, a spooky radio play about underground surveillance during wartime. And then about six months later, Sam sends me this link to a video of this dude in Ireland performing the symphony with a set of original percussive instruments he’d crafted and sent along in his “symphony in a box”. Thumbs up, great stuff. From that, we decided to go forward with a straight-up audio version… a radio play comprised of the performance audio mixed with an atmosphere of radio traffic, electric snaps & cracks, WWII speeches, etc. And thus Transmission, transmitted here out into the web-o-sphere. – D.A. Wright