Heterodyne  
CD016  Tracks :-

1).   “Voices in my Head
2).   “Beyond the Static:Into the Unknown”
3).   “Ionospheric Storm”
4).   “Elegy for a Dying Superhet”
CD Price  £12
Download Price  £8
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About the Music...
Technical stuff...

In today’s digital age it seems a long time ago now since the old days of analogue radio. During the 20th century an analogue radio receiver graced nearly every home in the UK and many other countries. The most popular design by far  was the “Superhet” receiver. It cleverly converted the tuned into frequency band of your chosen radio station into an intermediate fixed frequency band where the main amplification of the weak signal could be achieved efficiently and simply. After this a detection circuit recovered the audio which was then final used to drive the loudspeaker. The clever frequency conversion is called  “Heterodyning”. A few years ago I experimented with expanding this basic technique plus some schoolboy maths to devise and make an unusual sound processor. The result I called “Spectrum Warper”. If you are interested in this device, see the technical stuff below.

This album is an experimental  soundscape album composed from sounds created during many hours spent experimenting with this processor. Every sound on the album has gone through it and is altered in some way with many of them the result of employing the “spectrum invert” process described below. I planned each track to have it’s own feel and pace, using the a variety of the rich, sometimes dramatic and disturbing sounds I’ve created as a guide. Each track evolves in its own way over time. The source material, before processing, consists of improvisations with standard synthesiser sounds textures and speech recordings from radio stations which seemed naturally appropriate for an album called “Heterodyne”. Incidentally, using the invert process playing a keyboard can strangely result in high notes being to the left and low to the right. The harmonic structure of both a note and chord is also upside down making it harder to sense where its tonality actually lies. This is all hard to get your head around. The emotional content is there but although any tonality can be vague the sound is often enhanced and made richer as the tone colour is radically changed by spectrum warping. With these recorded voices and dramatic effects I endeavoured  to express the spirit of a radio world that has largely been eclipsed by digital audio.    

For me if I don;t reach out and try to satisfy my own curiosity I get frustrated. I also frankly get bored doing the same type of thing over and over again. In my search for something new I came up with an idea for a unique sound processor. The processor I call the Spectrum Warper. It can basically move audio frequency bands up and down the audio spectrum,while maintaining their bandwidth. It can  fold them back on themselves like mirror reflections and also invert bands or partial bands of frequencies turning the whole band’s spectrum upside down. With the latter high audio frequencies become low and vice versa. Included in the device is also a standard simple pitch shifter that can both shift up and down. There are facilities to mix and patch all the process simultaneously. The processor also has several modulation features included allowing for example an audio envelope or a sequencer to act as modulation sources. The possibilities for weird sound manipulation are therefore very large.

In making the album  every source sound went through this device. I particularly wanted sounds that well  sound radically different. The Spectrum Warper was not the only sound processing tool used. I also used it in conjunction with some standard commercial effects processors and a simulated old school tape delay with multiple ‘recorders’.

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