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Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres

Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres

Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres is a sound installation by One Key Magic (OKM).

One Key Magic (OKM) is Dr. Michael Mulvihill, Artist and political geographer in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, and Chris Tate, music producer and founder member of bands Score and D_Rradio. Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres aims to make audible the scintillations and electro-magnetic aurora of radar operations at RAF Fylingdales the UK and US Ballistic Missile Early Warning station.

Situated on the edge of the North York Moors in the North East of England, RAF Fylingdales has unceasingly performed its twin missions of looking for signs of nuclear attack from space and tracking the thousands of human-made objects that have gathered in Low Earth Orbit since the beginning of the Space Race.

Shortly after becoming operational in 1963, it was feared that Soviet trawlers in the North Sea could blind RAF Fylingdales’s radars by using powerful electronic equipment. To counter these would be attacks Radio Corporation of America (RCA) adapted the technology from world’s first music synthesizer they designed and built a few years earlier. OKM wondered if electronic music could be used to materialize these electromagnetic military encounters over the North York Moors.

Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres combines practices of radar operations and tracking, with recording studio techniques. The result is an sound that evokes the landscape of Fylingdales Moor, the churning electronic atmosphere of the AN/FPS-49 radar set and the shifting timbres and chance effects of electro-acoustical composition.

OKM is the culmination of Dr Michael Mulvihill’s research that uses creative approaches to understand how systems of nuclear deterrence have shaped society, with a special interest in sound recording technology and space defence systems. He is Co-Investigator on Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) funded project Turning Fylingdales Inside Out: making practice visible at the UK’s ballistic missile early warning and space monitoring station (AH/S013067/1)

Worldly Noise and Electronic Atmospheres, album release 29th October 2021 by Cruel Nature Records from cruelnaturerecordings.bandcamp.com.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences