Radiator Symphonies

Blog: 03.09.11

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - 06:00 AM

Ben Becker (flickr)

The weather is such a tease this time of year. One day the sun is shining, luring once-skeptical individuals out in shorts.  Next day: freezer-burned.

There’s little we can do about the fickle weather that we’ll endure until April (at least) except keep the heat on, just in case.  And around here, heat runs on steam.  Although radiators are notorious for their banging, clanging, and shrieking, they do get the job done.

Henry Alford is actually a fan of those steam-powered screeches –- to him, they’re music: “Sometimes when I hear my radiator, I think: Renata Tebaldi.”

Alford and producer Pejk Malinovski were so taken with the noise, they decided to compose an entire symphony out of the radiator sounds they'd collected.

Stay warm.


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Comments [2]


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Mar. 07 2013 08:12 AM

This reminds me of my junior year in college in New Jersey. I was music director at my college's radio station and lived in my first bedroom with a clangy radiator. I was listening to lots of dark and abstract electronica, modern composers, jazz, hardcore and getting exposed to a lot of new music everyday but nothing prepared me for the erratic full volume clangs of this radiator. There were hisses, sizzles, whimpers, bangs, squeals, thuds and more. I'd lie terrified in bed, expecting it to explode. More than once I scuttled out of the room to seek cover behind my bedroom door expecting to be sprayed with hot steam or pelted with exploded radiator shrapnel. It was as if someone was right there in my room bashing the metal radiator with an aluminum baseball bat or hammer. Someone with a taste for sudden bursts of raucous noise and a maniacal affinity for arrhythmic soundscapes. Then, occasionally a pretty sounding note, usually a metallic slap, would ring out from inside the pipes and hang in the air just long enough to say "keep listening." Sometimes the sounds would sync up with my music briefly, or occasionally add an interesting extra beat, often a very syncopated and strange effect. I'm pretty sure falling asleep to that for many months affected me; now I only listen to free jazz and harsh noise. Ok, not really but I do now have patience for some pretty out there stuff and tend to like refrigerator hums and industrial sounds.

Mar. 09 2011 04:06 PM

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