Mutable Matter on Curved Radio again

Image by fellow Curved Radio crew member Olivia Louvel

Curved Radio is back from their (Australian) summer break, and I’m going to be joining them next Sunday at 11pm – Monday 2am Sydney time (about 12-3pm Sunday UK time). Am doing a mini series around borders, starting with tunes by Latin American feminist musicians. For the moment, leaving you with this brilliant collaboration:

Mutable Matter on Curved Radio!


This year, I have become a fan of Curved Radio, thanks to my friend Rebecca Closure. I was totally thrilled when they invited me to talk and select tracks on their last show of the year.

According to their website, “Curved Radio is a platform for independent contributors around the world to share cultural experiences”. What I love about them is that they play music from all over the world, no matter whether from known or unknown artists. Genre is irrelevant, too. In a segment of the 3-hour show, a gothy bandcamp track produced in a Belgian bedroom might be followed by a transmission from a Chinese music festival, a discussion of the Tuareg version of Purple Rain and a track by Billie Holiday. The show is curated from 2Ser in Sydney by Gayle Austin, known as Australia’s first female rock DJ. She is joined by a number of ‘Curvies‘ who report from various geographical locations (‘across the known universe’), on various topics and, importantly, also from various underground scenes. As Gayle put it in a recent conversation, this is how she would like the world to be, and I cannot agree more with her.

gayle austin
Gayle Austin in action

Bascially, every Sunday, I try to organise my day around Curved Radio and see what they come up with this time. I usually end up buying lots of music and excitedly email friends about the theatre plays and projects that I hear about during the show. I also tweet to Mr K, who is in charge of Curved Radio’s social media as well as the bandcamp selection. I initially did this from my mottomotto twitter account, which is the small independent music label that I am running. Last week, they found out that I was also a geographer, so they asked me on the show, to talk about music and geography. I decided to talk about experimental geographies, because Curved Radio, to me, feels like a form of experimental geography. I also played two tracks, one by Yasmine Hamdan, and the other by The National Jazz Trio of Scotland, since I was broadcasting from Glasgow. As it looks, they would like me to talk and play more, so stay tuned!

The show is currently breaking for the holidays, but will be back in about 6 weeks. You can listen to it here, currently between 12-3pm UK time/11pm -2am Sydney time (check the blog for updates on broadcast times). Until then, you can listen to the archive. This Sunday’s programme is already up – enjoy!!

Radio project experimenting with ‘wind-time’

I have just come across this radio project on the Experimental Research Network mailing list (thanks, Jonathan Prior!). It looks like anyone with some sort of broadcasting capacities can participate in this experiment with ‘wind time’. By ‘wind time’ the curators – the Bratislava based ‘col-me’ collective – seem to mean that broadcasts are organised according to whether or not the wind blows (and possibly from which direction? will strength be observed, too?)

The project will be taking place between 6-11 September 2011. Deadline for submissions is 15 August 2011.

Eight legged groove machines – Matter on the radio

I have a love-hate-relationship with radio. Music radio tends to play the same (and mainstream) things all the time and ‘talking’ radio, due to the nature of how speech is recorded, is usually quite dry and makes me feel a little claustrophobic. On the other hand, radio offers a great variety of potentially exciting programmes which often feature content or guests that would not normally appear in magazines or on TV. Small independent or pirate radio stations even succeed in transmitting lively vibes across the airwaves, making you feel part of a heated discussion or gigantic boundary-defying party.

 What repeatedly grips me is actually a quite ‘normal’ sounding BBC4 programme called The Material World. Officially a science programme with ‘proper’ scientists from different universities and research centres on every show, it has a surprising range of topics: bagpuss, quantum computing, space junk, biodegradable electronics, unicellular organisms, ghost ships and even the Eurovision Song Contest are all part of The Material World. This is why I like the programme: their material world extends to everything and makes the listener see familiar things in a different light. A bonus is that through the people that talk on the show and the questions of the host Quentin Cooper, you not only find out how weird our world and the links between us and our ‘environment’ are (check out their feature on slime mould, for instance), but also how scientists relate and refer to their research objects in often very ‘cute’ ways: amoebae are ‘fussy about mating partners’ or ‘help us clean our teeth’, spiders are ‘eight legged groove machines’ and quantum bits need to be prevented from ‘talking to each other’. Anecdotes about the amount of obstacles a parasite has to overcome in order to travel between and exist in other organisms, almost makes you appreciate these ‘fantastic’ creatures as much as the people seem to do who study them. The show’s host (and sometimes also the guests) has a knack for picking up the humour that lies in our interactions with matter (‘First there is something we don’t know at the end of the microscope, and now it’s the bloke at the other end of the microscope we don’t know anything about instead!’) – as well as in matter itself. He also has a knack for asking good questions – or different ones from what you would expect. New links to other subjects suddenly appear and leave you puzzled. And the best thing is: months later, you can still use these weird bits of information at parties… and if it’s only to leave annoying people speechless! ;)