“Delawarr’s Multi-Oscillator was not intended for purposes as frivolous as music. It was designed to ascertain combinations of frequencies that related to specific psychological conditions, ailments and their therapeutic equivalents. Whilst concentrating on a thought, a rubber radionic detector pad connected to the instrument would be rubbed whilst turning one oscillator, and when a “stick” was intuited, the next oscillator would be turned, and so on until a run of frequencies was obtained – a chord. A studio model was produced with eight oscillator dials and a consolidated tape transport to allow the overdubbing of many more frequencies. A portable battery-powered four-oscillator model was also produced, intended for veterinary research.”
This paragraph, derived from the booklet of Daniel Wilson’s record under Radionics Radio, describes one of George Delawarr’s primary contributions to the study into radionics and its potential applications (radionics being the theory that diseases, conditions and types of thought are energies that behave like waveforms, and thus capable of being identified and treated using resonant structures and various acoustic implements). This album could be perceived as radionics experiments at their most frivolous: compositions produced by translating thoughts into various microtonal scales (as submitted by users of the Radionics mobile app), expanding Delawarr’s pursuits to include scenarios unique to modern living (winning the lottery, sitting in an internet café) and highly particular/bizarre circumstances (“Wang Pai Shing to quit Keoni by Keo Restaurant. Wrongly accuse me of theft. must pay in some form”). These clusters of frequency are used as the basis of flickering, pulsating constellations of complex human experience, translating those states of mind that often translate succinct linguistic articulation. And while most music sets out to achieve this very purpose, how much of it can claim to be founded on scientific pursuit?
As well as reaching back into history, Wilson’s premise is a beautiful utilisation of modern interrelationships: the selective broadcast of our digitally ephemeral selves, the worldwide dissemination of intimacy. Each of these pieces is an arrangement of a private act, or a constellation of momentary thought, which would otherwise vanish unbeknownst to anyone but the original thinker. A lot of them utilise an artificial simulation of chimes, as though each strand of mental perspective had been carefully cut and hammered into a tangible object, then placed into dialogue with its various contradictory others that culminate in our strange, often conflicted patterns of thought.
Unintentionally, I initially correlate dissonances with notions of unrest or uncertainty; snags in the generation of steadfast belief, pressing themselves against the other notes to generate ripples of inner doubt. Tracks such as “Peter send me money so I can fix the boat you promised” – which tinkles like an eerie, dungeon dwelling 90s video game soundtrack – sounds part-melted. Certain notes droop outside of equal temperament, generating pangs of hesitation and nausea. In contrast, “Our Westchester Pizzeria is a huge success” bounces over its drum beat like synthesisers on a trampoline – jubilant, care-free, streaked with the odd microtonal smirk. There’s no doubt that Wilson has used the act of composition (in other words, his licence to subjectively frame each frequency scale) to work these thoughts into structures that match our inherent synonymies between music and mood. Happier states of mind are tossed upon waves of calypso beat. Thoughts associated with melancholy or curiosity are made to dance with shadows and taut silences.
In fact, with the inclusion of an actual recording of one of George Delawarr’s experiments, Wilson demonstrates dry and clinical nature of radionics’ initial application. As Delawarr uses the multi-oscillator to extract each of the frequencies within the final chord of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”, music is reduced to a dispassionate collation of individual sounds, plucked from an overgrowth of frivolity to be reapplied in the advancement of medical science. This record reverses the flow. Radionic Radio turns sequences of numbers into strange alternate tunings, using them as a creative kick-start f0r the playful pursuit of music. In other words, it’s a lot of fun.