Taking inspiration from the coded messages transmitted by Cold War numbers stations, the piece You Suffer/NATO Phonetic Alphabet explores themes related to speed, technology and power. It consists of a seemingly random collection of 10526 lower case letters, recited in the NATO phonetic alphabet over 1.316 days. When presented as a durational performance, an audio recording of the piece will be broadcast into the performance space. The performer will sit for the full duration of the broadcast (1 day, 7 hours, 34 minutes and 48 seconds), typing each letter into a text editor on a computer. Upon completion of the broadcast, the performer will save the file as a simple text document. This text document will then be imported into an audio editor as an 8000 Hz, 8-bit, mono raw audio data file. Upon playback of this file, the performer will be “rewarded” with a particularly lo-fi 1.316-second blast of Napalm Death’s You Suffer: ‘You suffer, but why?’ The piece can also be presented as an installation, with the performer replaced by speech recognition software.
You Suffer is a song by the British Grindcore band Napalm Death. The song has earned a place in the Guinness World Records as the shortest recorded song ever. It is precisely 1.316 seconds long and consists entirely of the lyrics ‘You suffer, but why?’ The NATO phonetic alphabet is a spelling alphabet used by airline pilots, police, members of the military, and other officials when communicating over radio or telephone. The purpose of the phonetic alphabet is to ensure that letters are clearly understood even when speech is distorted or hard to hear.
Using an audio editor, I converted an MP3 of You Suffer by Napalm Death into an 8000 Hz, 8-bit, mono raw audio data file. I then opened this raw audio data file in a hex editor. This gave me a list (10526 items long) of the values of each sample in hexadecimal (base 16, or hex) format. After converting these values into decimal (base 10), I scaled and transformed these numbers into a range of integers between 97 and 122. These integers correspond to the ASCII codes for the lowercase alphabet (a-z). I then converted these ASCII codes into their corresponding characters and saved the results as a text file. Finally, I converted each letter in this text file into its corresponding word in the NATO phonetic alphabet and made a patch in Pure Data that would recite all 10526 characters of the text file over 1.316 days (1 day, 7 hours, 34 minutes and 48 seconds). The Pure Data patch uses samples taken from the original ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) phonograph recording illustrating the correct way to pronounce the words of the NATO phonetic alphabet (officially denoted as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet). This was distributed to all countries in November 1955 when the alphabet was introduced.
Sketch for single coil pickup electric guitar, monophonic pitch tracking sine wave oscillator, three randomly reversible audio buffers and electromagnetic interference.
Review by Marc Weidenbaum at Disquiet.com.
Accompanied by Sputnik 1’s mournful beeps, two quarter-speed tape loops – taken from a vinyl copy of the 1981 The Music of Cosmos soundtrack – trace a slow elliptical orbit around the record’s run-out groove…
Piece composed for the third edition of Gwaith Sŵn’s Sonic Darts radio show, first broadcast on 7 September 2015 on Resonance104.4fm. The theme for the show was space and science fiction.
An audio piece consisting of a loop of birdsong passed through a “side-chain” gate triggered by a geiger counter. Whenever the geiger counter triggers the gate a tiny piece of the loop is “ducked” (silenced). Eventually all traces of the birdsong will be erased from the loop.
This piece was inspired by a Scientific American article about biologists researching the effects of low-dose radiation on living things by studying common barn swallows within the exclusion zones of both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
This performance consisted of an Asus Eee PC 2G Surf running Debian Squeeze plus a Maplin Telephone Pick-Up Coil plugged into a Behringer Eurorack UB502 Mixer. The Eee PC was turned on and the following commands were entered via the command line:
cat /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-686/* > /dev/dsp
./howse/self "/bin/ps" "-ef" > /dev/dsp
The Book of Job, commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Old Testament. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God and, finally, a response from God. An oft-asked question in The Book of Job is, ‘Why do the righteous suffer?’
You Suffer is a song by the British grindcore band Napalm Death, who are credited with defining the grindcore genre through their blend of hardcore punk and metal musical structures, aggressive playing, fast tempos and deep, guttural vocals. The song has earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records as the shortest recorded song ever. It is precisely 1.316 seconds long and consists entirely of the lyrics ‘You suffer, but why?’
The Book of Job/You Suffer consists of a plain text file, containing all 42 chapters of the King James Version of The Book of Job, imported as raw data into a sound editor at a rate of 76190 Hertz in order to produce a burst of audio precisely 1.316 seconds long.