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ZEPELIM: WHAT’S ETHER?
In radio, there are certain expressions that capture the magic of its golden age. For me, one of these words is “ether”. When a radio broadcaster uses the expression “in ether” or “through ether waves”, my mind usually goes to the idea of an invisible flying ocean or a vibrating ghost entity delivering sounds woven into a dark blue cape. After all, I never gave it too much thought until I recently came across the word “ether” in the first pages of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I discovered a scientific and historical dimension to the concept, involving what has been termed “the most successful failed experiment in science” and the cornerstone for the second scientific revolution. Science moved on, but the word “ether” retained a mystical connotation – existing in an imaginary valley somewhere within the spheres of new age prophets, and radio afficionados. This radio piece is a sound collage evoking the ether as I perceive it: an invisible medium that suspends fragments of old songs lost in the surrounding cosmos, static, the frequencies between stations, and radio waves undulating through time. My fascination with radio comes from working with this elusive medium. Invisible and intangible, radio waves linger and travel once they are broadcasted, never quite disappearing – as if the Universe was making a moving archive of itself.
Carlo Patrao is a 27 year-old native of Coimbra, Portugal. He attended the University of Coimbra and has been working in radio since 2007, when he became a member of the student-run radio station Rádio Universidade de Coimbra (RUC). His education at RUC immersed him in the independent spirit of exclusively author-oriented radio programs free from the pressure of ratings, advertising, and profit-earning. Carlo began his radio career covering several areas of radiophonic activity, ranging from weekly shows featuring pop and folk music to more topical programs presenting cultural events, reviewing books and music, and promoting the work of local artists. In 2008, he created the program Zepelim with his friend Afonso Biscaia in order to explore the diverse possibilities of radiophonic space through the use of field recordings, experimental music, musique concrete, drones, archived sound and live improvisation. Episodes of Zepelim are 60-minute sound collages based on specific themes every month. The tracklists of sounds featured in each program are annotated in his blog. In addition to his work at the radio, Carlo has a degree in Psychology and works as a therapist in the field of drug addiction.http://zeppelinruc.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/whats_ether/
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