Project advice

First topic I’ve ever created, exciting.

I am after some project advice if anyone could chip in with their thoughts if you don’t mind…

So I am currently in the research/collection phase of a project I am working on which consists of scouring radio frequencies to turn into some sort of ambient/experimental/noise/sound art thing.

On my travels of collecting and discovering these AM radio waves, I have come across some morse code and some chatter/broadcasts that are not English (more Russian sounding if I were to guess).

My conundrum is I don’t know what the morse code is saying (although less important than the chatter) and I don’t speak the language the chatter is in. for all I know they could be talking about anything from war crimes to their grandmas baklava recipe.

I suppose the question is does it matter what is being said or is it lazy to throw something in a track without knowing what is being said? The morse code will be easier to decipher than the talking but I guess I find it more ‘artsy’ putting in some conversation or spoken word that isn’t in English because if you have heard English people talking, you know its fucking terrible.

I don’t mind how long the project takes to complete (to a degree) but I don’t have a mass amount of time to work on it each week.

Any input is welcome, thanks.

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I feel like the purpose of the project would include using what you have found. Without needing to understand any of it.

Isn’t the fact that you searched radio waves and found things you don’t understand a part of the interest?


You might have found a numbers station: Numbers station - Wikipedia, which is pretty cool

I’d probably just mess with the sound (use snippets/mangle it) so it’s not intelligible anyway and not worry about not understanding it.


Yeah I guess you are right, I’ve probably been overthinking it to be honest.

Are you familiar with Robin Rimbaud’s Scanner project?

He used to use a police radio scanner and make whole albums out of the different conversations and sounds he picked up with it. He’s basically the guru of using radio stuff in your recordings.

He’s a member here too, I’m sure he’d be willing to give you some advice on the whys and wherefores of such things.

His first album (Scanner 1) is excellent, I highly recommend it and pretty much all his other stuff.


Cool. I didn’t know he was a member. The Scanner1 album opened up some new ways of thinking about production for me when I first heard it back in the mid 90s. An employee was listening to it at the local Radio Shack when I happened to be in there, seems appropriate in retrospect. Highly recommend listening.


Hello :slight_smile:
Yes, I’ve been using radio signals in my work since the 1980s.
As @spikysimon says here it sounds like you’re hearing Numbers Stations. One of the best examples of this on release was on Irdial

Plenty of examples of them here too and you can find it for free online on the Internet Archive

Many artists over the years have used radio in their works. Check out the last edition of The Wire magazine as it focused entirely on the use of radio in creative works and might offer different avenues for you to explore too:

Something like Mass Observation released in 1993/1994 used radio extensively, mixing up the radio scanner device, with shortwave, AM and FM, all recorded live. Well worth having a listen to this in full here:

Always happy to enthuse about the use of radio and voices within electronic music too :slight_smile:

Happy listening!

Best wishes



Just from a personal perspective, if I ever used foreign-language samples in my own music I would be really curious to find out what it says (either before or after the fact), just in case someone who does understand happens to hear it. Translations are so cheap and easy these days with voice-to-text apps and Google translate or DeepL Translator. Or there is probably someone on Fiver that will transcribe and translate a short text from pretty much any language, certainly from Russian/Slavic/Baltic languages.


not specifically that project but Scanner yes. I had discovered his work with his improv modular sets and loved it. thanks for the link.

Thanks Robin for all the links and info, I will give them all a read and listen.

I have found a site online ( ) which is where I find all my sources but if anyone has anything cleaner I’d be happy to have a look :smile:

I gave this a bit of a shot the other day when I found some Chinese conversation but turned out to be an audiobook I think. came across what sounded like a conversation between two people in Dutch I think last night that I might use my iPhone to try and decipher.

much appreciated for your input all, I thank you for the support.

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…i’d also say…go for the phonetic and sonic charme only…

there too many reasons why u picked this and that…and making all that a sonic collage, a sound structure composition puzzle is ur art…in this case…

so let go…all those pieces will find their places…if it sounds right…it will be right…
might wanna avoid the talking parts to use in too long original phrasing maybeeeeee…
CUT…IT…UP…make it a sonic maze of codes and bleeps and bits and snippets…
glitch it, babeee…it’s gonna be fine…

This is all absolutely fascinating guys!!

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“came across what sounded like a conversation between two people in Dutch I think last night that I might use my iPhone to try and decipher.”
Well, my wife is Dutch, so if you want to share the audio recording I can play it to her :grinning:


That is very kind of you, if you have the time I’d love to take you up on that offer.

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just send me the file :slight_smile:
Either as a link, Wetransfer. You can privately DM here if you wish too!

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First time using we transfer so hope it works

The guy is from the East of The Netherlands with a strong dialect and accent. He’s after instructions in Dutch and German. Not clear what it’s all about as there is no context to the conversation. In the second one he speaks about a fine because of an accident.

So, nothing too exciting! Where and how did you get this then as it sounds like it’s on walkie talkies or something. Definitely not mobile phones as they use a digital network now.

Hope this is of some help to you!


Ahh thanks! I’ve heard them before usually in the evening.

I use this site and just scan through the frequencies to see what’s going on.

Where the yellow marker is there’s some sort of morse like burst repeating itself. I’ve heard it before but no idea what it is.

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chances are that it was on a local CB (Citizens Band) radio then, just chatting from their homes. Still popular in lots of areas and easily picked up on the airwaves too!

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Thank you very much for the translation and the info!

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happy to help!