Making the selection this week is the Phonica Records label manager (and occasional dabbler in graphic design), Alex Egan! If he’s not hidden away in the office you can usually catch Alex working behind the counter during the week and occasionally at weekends too. When Alex isn’t working with us here at Phonica, he heads up his own label called Utter which recently launched with a special reissue of Daniel Swan’s short film ‘Lux Laze’ alongside its soundtrack by Jack Latham (aka Jam City). You can still grab it from us here. You can also catch him DJing around London including regular nights at the Alibi, The Montpelier and The Gun alongside fellow staff members Callum & Kenny. Alex’s selection this month is rather unique… it’s ‘A Study Into 21st Century Drone Acoustics‘.
“A couple of years ago I stumbled upon then bought the ‘Drone Survival Guide’, a curious little pamphlet for spotting and evading drones, or to use its own description, a guide to ’21st century birdwatching’. Designed by Amsterdam based Ruben Pater for his Design MA, it’s a double-sided poster printed on aluminium paper in English and Pashto. Housed within a reflective envelope, one side of the folded document displays scaled diagrams of drone silhouettes, the other describes where the majority of drones are deployed, their alarmingly increasing numbers and various techniques to disrupt of ‘hack’ their surveillance capabilities. These range from using heat camouflage to hide from infrared scanners, to utilising pieces of reflective material to confuse drone cameras. The guide itself, printed on a mirrored surface, is one such tool.”
“Two years on and Discrepant’s Goncalo F. Cardoso has collaborated with Pater on the ‘Study Into 21st Century Drone Acoustics’ LP. While Pater showed us how to distinguish between drones visually, Cardoso recognises that they’re often heard before being seen, their distinctive sound an ominous and repressive presence over areas of conflict. Once again housed within a reflective sleeve, the a-side of the LP features the recordings of 17 different remote controlled surveillance aircraft, from small consumer models to large military drones, all sequenced and identified in the manner of a library recording. The b-side features a fantastic 23 minute composition by Cardoso, in his words ‘inspired by the abusive and destructive power of drone technology… focus(ing) on the conceptual (sound) life and death of an aerial drone machine in the 21st century.’ Rounding out the package is a 12 page booklet depicting the drones featured alongside other documentation. One of the most interesting records I’ve picked up in a long time!”