Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The "Numbers" game of spy vs spy in espionage


Cryptic shortwave broadcasts of unknown content and origin.


A numbers station (or number station) is a type of shortwave radio station characterized by their unusual broadcasts, which consist of spoken words, but mostly numbers, often created by artificially generated voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters, tunes or Morse code. They are transmitted in a wide variety of languages and the voices are usually female, although sometimes men's or children's voices are used.


Wikipedia on the Conet Project...

The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations is a four-CD set of recordings of numbers stations, mysterious shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin believed to be operated by government agencies to communicate with spies "in the field". The collection was released by England's Irdial-Discs record label in 1997, based on the work of numbers station enthusiast Akin Fernandez.

The Conet Project has since become somewhat of a cult sensation and counts many musicians and filmmakers among its fans, including Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Melvins collaborator David Scott Stone, Boards of Canada, The Besnard Lakes, Devendra Banhart, former Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, and director Cameron Crowe. Samples from the collection have been used in numerous films and albums, including Crowe's film Vanilla Sky, Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream album, We Were Promised Jetpacks' These Four Walls album, and Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, the last of which was an issue of legal dispute; Jeff Tweedy did not seek permission to use the Conet sample and Irdial sued for copyright infringement. The incident sparked debate about who exactly owns copyright concerning recordings of numbers station transmissions, but Tweedy ultimately decided to avoid taking the matter to court, agreeing to pay Irdial royalties and reimburse its legal fees.The Besnard Lakes have also used recordings from numbers stations throughout their album, The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse and frontman Jace Lasek is said to be a fan of The Conet Project. Kronos Quartet incorporated live reception of the Conet numbers into "4Cast Unpredictable", a performed sound sculpture in collaboration with Trimpin. Ten years in the making, the piece was performed once only, at Montclair State University Performing Arts Center, New Jersey, in 2007.

In keeping with its 'Free Music Philosophy', the Irdial-Discs label has made the entire collection available for download in MP3 form (along with a PDF version of the included booklet) on its website completely free of charge and encourages fans to freely distribute it on file sharing networks.

The project's name comes from a mishearing of the Czech word konec, or "end," which marks the end of transmissions on the Czech numbers station.

Or, go to the Internet Archive...

The Conet Project - Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations

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