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Friday, 21 March 2008

Electronic Voice Phenomena



It all began several years ago, when reading an edition of the Fortean Times, I stumbled across the story of Vrillon. On November 26th 1977, just over a year before I was born, a mysterious voice hijacked the national news report shown on UK television, claiming to be of the Ashtar Galactic Command. He warned us of our destructive ways and how to join a universal awakening by giving up our weapons of evil. Being an avid reader of all things ufo, I searched out more information once I had access to the internet and was lucky enough to come across an MP3 made of the original recording. The voice struck me as being eerily spooky and prescient. The story has now been deemed a hoax, but the intrigue of how an amateur radio ham could assemble a transmitter powerful enough to take over a television company’s emitter still makes me want to believe that possibly, just possibly we were spoke to from beyond…

Just after Christmas this year, I revisited the MP3 to listen to it one drunken night again. I wondered if there were any other strange or out of place recordings of voices. I recalled other stores I had read of Electronic Voice Phenomena, purported voices from beyond the grave, and of mysterious phone calls in the night where people would speed read numbers down the telephone lines to startled listeners before yelling out “Wake up down there!”. I set to finding more of these types of recordings. A wonderful website over at listverse.com had a top ten bizarre recordings, from which I garnered a whole heap of bizarre samples, including Mado Robin, who recorded one of the highest sung notes in the history of human voices, William Joyce (or as he was more commonly known, Lord Hawhaw, an English fascist who produced propaganda for the Nazi Party, the amazingly bizarre and covert number stations (radio broadcasts of numbers, similar to the story mentioned above, that are used by spies and anarchists around the world), a Russian exorcism, and the deeply moving and disturbing recording of the Jonestown Massacre. Ironically, at around the time I was finding these recordings, a documentary was on television about the Jonestown tragedy. It made my mind up, I was going to make a new mix themed around these out of place voices.

Vrillon supplied an excellent intro and had already wrote the ending. He would appear in and throughout the mix itself too. But the crackle and hum of the broadcast muddied Vrillon’s voice to the point where his words were indetectable. Undeterred, a little clean up in Audition made it a lot clearer (at the expense of damping the spookiest part – that interminable humming buzz present throughout the sample). Still, it needed something else. I had recently discovered the new breed of artists making dubstep, namely Burial. This guy is amazing, acting like the pop anarchist Banksey whilst making emotive but brutal tracks. Some of his more instrumental tracks would provide an excellent backdrop to the mysterious voices floating in and out of the mix. And Vrillon approved….

It was then a case of working to my usual haphazard procedure of making a track as I go along, trying it in the mix, and if it didn’t fit then making the next one. Not an ideal way of producing a full length mix as I should really be planning some kind of structure to it but the gods of mash appear to smile on me as these things always sort themselves out in the wash.

Initially, I planned on having a purely UFO based theme running through the mix, hence the Close Encounters samples I used, along with the echoing refrain from Basshead’s “Is There Anybody Out There?”, but this soon proved to be impractical if not nigh on impossible for me.

I had a few half started tracks sitting in my projects list which I had cast aside for not working as I’d wish. One of these was DJ Shadow vs. Aaliyah. I could never do anything that worked in the second half of the track. However, I had recently remade the track that broke me in to the world of mash – Six Day War, my anti-war protest with DJ Shadow and Colonel Bagshot. One of the kind souls of GYBO, DJ Prince, had uploaded the samples used in making Paul Hardcastle’s “Nineteen”, which made it in to my re-mash, and so I decided to extend them in to the Aaliyah track and have the first movement of the mix dedicated to anti-war (echoing Vrillon’s sentiments!). This would be an example of how my mindset works when doing these things! To hit the message home, I dropped Aaliyah again, this time mixed with Ian Brown’s “Illegal Attacks”, another anti-war track, to emphasise how wars will probably repeat the cycle of destruction for the rest of time (I’m a natural pessimist!) despite what people like I think or want.

Next up was the 80s movement, typified by using a few samples from one of my favourite 80s films, Blade Runner. It took me back to the classic mid-90s mixes from Paul Oakenfold on the Fluoro label (more of which later) and so it was in. Then having already stumbled across Edward’s Theme (still probably in my top fave 3 tracks I have ever made), I quickly put together a sequel/prequel in Alicia Keys vs. Dennis Edwards & Seidah Garret, mainly as a favour to me good friend Big Uncle Shaun Pearson as he’s a bit of an 80s fan.

A dreamy interlude featuring snippets of some of my other tracks cuts in, to lead in to the first of my anti-hit list hits from last year, Teardrop[s] which still remains a cult favourite amongst those in the know.

Then I take the tempo up and back to the 4 to the floor chugging rhythms of house and old school hardcore, meeting against some of the most commercially successful hip-hop/r&b artists of recent years (yep, I’m a sell out). The hardcore tracks are some of my most favourite to make as they take me back to my youth, dancing away in my bedroom, pretending I have the white gloves and the whistle on the go. Nostalgia, it ain’t what it used to be, eh?

Some more sage advice from Vrillon supplies a welcome rest from the Belgian Hoover sound, before I crank it up even further with some raging oldschool drum and bass courtesy of legend Micky Finn duking it out with Stevie Wonder before heading in to my second Anti-hit list hit, my signature tune, “Killa Katie”. I still love the juxtaposition of Mick Skinner chanting “Oi Oi Oi” against Kate Nash’s “Bitter….Fitter”.

Then another breakdown comes with the interjection of another re-mashing of an earlier work, Alicia Keys vs. Ian Brown, this time with an added hint of Dann. Its fitter, happier, more productive….

For some reason I cannot explain, the next movement came to me when drunk and I thought a great idea at the time. I had become obsessed with having a section dedicated to Sean Paul. Don’t ask me why – the man irritates the crap out of me. But “We Be Burnin’” and “Temperature” are undeniably addictive tunes. The mellow, chilled out beats of the Prodigy’s “3 Kilos” fit Sean’s lyrics perfectly, and then I pulled it out of the bag by using another Paul Oakenfold standard, The Man With No Name’s “Flooressence”. This slab of pounding Goan Trance stands out as my favourite track from the Fluoro label of the mid-90s, and I still remember with some fondness having it to this track at various beach parties/Ibizan clubs as a teenager. This track has already provoked some controversy with me work colleague Sam Henstock though, as in his words “You just don’t f**k with the classics, especially by dropping Sean Paul over it!”/ I love it though, and I hope you do too.

I wanted some more UFO based spookiness in towards the end of the mix, just in case the listener has become too comfortable, and the following track provides it in buckets. Again, being a big fan of UFO-based things, the Art Bell “Coast to Coast AM” radio show is a big part of my growing up. I would regularly scour the website looking for more weirdness and scary tales of aliens and conspiracies. I had two recordings of his to choose from. The first was the tale of a guy who worked at the now not-so-secret Area 51, who was speaking on the Art Bell show, before the satellite broadcasting the transmission cut out. That’s a whole freaking satellite up in space broadcasting this specific show turning off for no apparent reason whilst a government employee reveals the secrets of government treaties with aliens. And the guy disappeared when service was resumed. Hmmm….how do you say, conspiracy theory? The second was the one used here, purely because the guy cracks me for his tunnel-visioned view of getting to the bottom of the truth. Art receives a phone call from a guy flying his light-aircraft in to Area 51 airspace, and whilst Art pleads with the man to be sensible and turn around, the guy just won’t have it. Until he is tailed by a couple of F-16s and describes what sounds like a UFO coming out of the ground to come and get him…. It’s slightly scary, but for me, it just cracks me up everytime I hear the guy. “Let’s crank this thing on up….”. Although I return it to a sense of reality by dropping the original Lamb – “Gorecki” lyric back in to the ending of the track about “If I should die this very moment….”. Adds a dash of poignancy.

Finally, my one big outro. For a year now, I have wanted to use the closing theme from the Incredible Hulk movie and TV series in something. The “Lonely Man” theme by Joe Harnell still remains one of my favourite piano pieces of all time, as for a corny superhero show, it’s one moving piece. And admittedly, I nicked the idea of Scarface from the UNKLE Edit:Music for a Film CD. In fact I ripped the sample directly from the CD, but I don’t care, as I love Pacino’s monologue about how you need people like me. Say goodnight to the bad guy! There’s a bad guy coming through.

The final section with Vrillon was a free for all. All of the samples I’d originally downloaded from the Listverse site that I hadn’t managed to fit anywhere were thrown in here, alongside some recurring samples from the early part of the mix, and for some reason, Leanne Rimes and Cascada. I have no idea why I put this in, aside from the fact I just like the way it sounded. And we close the section with the chilling words of the Rev. Jim Jones.

The mixes closes out by returning to the original Vrillon broadcast, including where transmission returns after Vrillon stops speaking and an excerpt of the Looney Tunes music is heard (the one thing that in my opinion can point to it all being a hoax). The ITN news reader explains what has happened and that police were called out to a lady who was scared by the transmission. I like that. That’s the way people should be when listening to a transmission by Colatron. Scared…

"Be still now and listen , for your chance may not come again"





Electronic Voice Phenomena


Full tracklistings (all tracks by Colatron unless otherwise specified)

1. Out of Place Voices pt.1
Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command
Burial - Dog Shelter
Danny Tenaglia - Elements

2. Is There Any Archangels Out There?
Burial - Archangel
Bassheads - Is There Anybody Out There?

3. John Williams - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (theme)

4. All Guns Blazing Again
UNKLE - Guns Blazing (Drums of Death pt.1)
Aaliyah - Try Again
Paul Hardcastle - Nineteen

5. Ennio Morricone - Once Upon A Time In America

6. Six Day War part II (And the War Goes On)
DJ Shadow - Changeling
George W. Bush - Various speeches from 2001 - 2004
Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz
DJ Shadow - Walkie Talkie
Colonel Bagshot - Six Day War
Paul Hardcastle - Nineteen
DJ Shadow - Six Day War (from Live! In Tune and On Time; feat. Sci-Clone - Red Fever
various samples of the souds of war

7. Try Illegal Attacks
Ian Brown - Illegal Attacks (Orchestral Mix)
Aaliyah - Try Again

8. Illegal No Ones
Ian Brown - Illegal Attacks (Orchestral Mix)
Alicia Keys - No One
Christina Aguilera - Hurt

9. Vangelis - One More Kiss, Dear

10. No One Looks Further
Dennis Edwards & Seidah Garret - Don't Look Any Further
Alicia Keys - No One

11. Edward's Theme
Jan Hammer - Crockett's Theme
Dennis Edwards & Seidah Garret - Don't Look Any Further

12. Vangelis - Tears In The Rain

13. Out of Place Voices pt. 2
UNKLE - In A State (Edit: Music for a Film Remix)
Colatron - Mixed Messages
Newton Faulkner - Teardrop

14. Teardrop[s]
Newton Faulkner - Teardrop
Massive Attack - Teardrop

15. The Way I Bomb Your Body (House of Jack mix)
The Bucketheads - The Bomb
Timbaland (feat. Keri Hilson) - The Way I Are
Tom Novy - Your Body
Mr Fingers - Can You Feel It

16. The Prodigy - Intro

17. A Flash of Usher
Joey Beltram - Energy Flash
Usher - Yeah

18. Independent Mentasm
Second Phase - Mentasm
Destiny's Child - Independent Woman

19. Out of Place Voices pt.3
Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command
Burial - In McDonalds

20. Uptight Badass
Micky Finn and Aphrodite - Bad Ass
Stevie Wonder - Uptight

21. Killa Katie
Kila Kela - Crop Circles
Kate Nash - Foundations
The Streets - Don't Mug Yourself

22. U Still F.E.A.R. My Name
Alicia Keys - U Don't Know My Name
Ian Brown - F.E.A.R.
Dann - F.E.A.R.

23. Burn For Free
The Prodigy - 3 Kilos
Sean Paul - We Be Burnin'

24. PaulEssence
Man With No Name - Floor-Essence
Sean Paul - Temperature

25. The Voice from Area 51
Lamb - Gorecki
Art Bell vs. the man who flew to Area 51

26. Say Goodnight To the Lonely Guy
Joe Harnell - The Lonely Man Theme
Al Pacino - Scarface

27. Out of Place Voices pt. 4
Burial - UK
Bassheads - Is There Anybody Out There?
Lord Hawhaw
Leanne Rimes - Somewhere over the Rainbow
Number Stations - The Conet Project
Cascada - Every Time We Touch
Reverend Jim Jones
Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command

Download RAR file containing MP3 and full artwork from here
http://www.divshare.com/download/3933080-1a7

For those interested in the full story of Vrillon, you can do a lot worse than to start here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vrillon

Finally, a big thanks to all those involved in this one, especially the artists who created half of this stuff in the first place, but also to those who helped out with instrumentals and ideas and inspiration, including but not only limited to, Mick Ford, Wagganator, Scott Johnson, Bobby Martini, DJ MiF, Divide & Kreate, DJ Prince, Uncle Shaun, Dr. Phil and Eater (Mr. Oblong) for getting me drunk enough to come up with this stuff.

"May you be blessed with by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos"
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