Studio Edwin van der Heide
extreme long wave spatial radio music

For large dipole antennas and loop antennas in combination with a custom ELF-Wave-Space-Mixer, custom ELF frequency shifting receivers and other long wave receivers. sound reproduction: quadraphonic full range sound system

When Heinrich Hertz saw sparks firing between the ends of a looped wire during an experiment in his darkened laboratory, and thereby realizing Maxwell's theorized electromagnetic wave, he had no idea yet for a purpose of this discovery. It was however only nine years later that morse code was 'sparked' around and just some more years that music was transmitted by means of transmitters.  Radio was primarily developing as a live medium. While the transmitters got further developed and the power of the transmitters was being increased, special radio halls were being developed to merge the acoustic and symphonic sound of a whole orchestra and translate it into electromagnetic waves carrying the sound from the live performance with the speed of light through the aether into the receiver's private listening room. These radio halls are designed so that the sounds of the instruments reflect in such a way that they get highly diffused within the reverb time of around two seconds. The direct sound of the instruments contributes to only 5% of the transmitted signal. Nowadays the sound from the individual sources isn't mixed in the acoustic space but in audio mixers or computer software and the radio hall is seen as something unsuitable for electroacoustic, contemporary produced and reproduced music.

For Rund-Funk-Empfangs-Saal the idea of the radio hall is being inverted. Edwin van der Heide and Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag take the signals in the electromagnetic space that intersect the concert hall as source material for their performance. Natural radio signals and transmitted long wave signals up to about 150 kHz that traverse the performance space are being received and translated into a tangible space of acoustically audible signals. When John Cage introduced the radio first in Imaginary Landscapes, and later in Radio Music, his main interest laid in the live-moment, the unexpected and unpredictable combination of concurrently transmitted (and received) sounds. While the unexpected is an important part of their performance, van der Heide and Sonntag navigate, steer and combine the different signals and, in contrary with Cage's approach, shape the unpredictable. Extremely low frequency radio waves contain the fields of lightning and natural disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field. These signals are intersected by the electromagnetic smog of the city resulting from electricity cables, motors, etc. and transmitted signals from long wave transmitters from, for example, submarines. Kilometer long waves that traverse the performance space of Rund-Funk-Empfangs-Saal. The reason for the German title is the origin of radio transmission that is captured in the poetic term: "Rund-Funk".


Live microphone recording made during the premiere at the Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2013. The recording contains the whole performance. The recording is meant to be listened to on either (high quality) headphones or (high quality) speakers. Duration: 40 minutes and 51 seconds. © Edwin van der Heide & Jan-Peter Sonntag

Sonic Acts Festival, Vondelkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2013 - photo: Pieter Kers
Sonic Acts Festival, Vondelkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2013 - photo: Pieter Kers
concept and realization: Edwin van der Heide and Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag