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Here’s a head-scrambling 5CD collection (the original 4CD set plus a book and a newly added fifth CD) of recordings of shortwave numbers stations called The Conet Project, which has had me thinking increasingly paranoid thoughts for the last hour or so. Numbers stations are an shadowy collection of shortwave broadcasts which transmit regularly throughout the world in various languages, with a variety of noises and tones and numbers being read out by all sorts of unusual voices, from children to oversexualised ladies.
The Conet Project is the first time that these recordings have been compiled and catalogued for general public consumption, although their origins are still very shadowy, as you will learn if you read the accompanying booklet. Only one government has ever admitted to involvement in these stations and yet they have continued long after the cold war, understandable only by listeners with a pad containing a series of randomly chosen cipher numbers. Basically there are spies everywhere and they can communicate anonymously without using telephones or the internet through these broadcasts, hidden in plain sight, which are so commonplace that they are largely dismissed and ignored even by shortwave enthusiasts as noise.
There’s something strangely hypnotic about hearing all these otherworldly tones and robotic number sequences, and sometimes it even reminds me of the early electronic experiments of people like Daphne Oram and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and yet there is a sinister mystery at play behind these recordings. Sometimes you can hear attempts to jam some of the numbers stations using different methods, sometimes there are passages of music to introduce the numbers...and there’s such a huge amount of material here that you can really get an idea of the varied nature and prolificity of these broadcasts. These turned up at our office several weeks late after mysteriously going missing in the post and then reappearing just as inexplicably...chilling stuff I’m sure you’ll agree!
9/10 Barry the Badger Customer review, 19th November 2015
This is probably the creepiest album set you'll ever own. And yet, I can't stop listening to it. The recordings are grainy, and that adds to the ambience of the tracks. Put on some decent headphones and sit in a darkened room, see how quickly you get freaked out. If you then start to enjoy the weirdness of it, then you can find "live" number stations on short wave radio and listen to them for real. If you don't mind the hairs on the back of y our neck standing up.
This is an expensive box set, probably the most expensive I've ever owned, but if you love a conspiracy theory, or creepy noises, then it's a must, alongside albums like the X-Files...
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