The CONET Project.
December 19, 2001 4:58 PM   Subscribe

The CONET Project. A 4-CD documentary of Shortwave Number Stations, which consist of nothing but an unidentified human voice reciting a long list of seemingly random numbers. Some speculate that these signals are used for espionage by the likes of MOSSAD, the CIA and the former KGB.
There's also a great NPR feature on Number Stations (html page w/links to real audio broadcast)
posted by skwm (18 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Best box set ever. I recommend it to anyone with a foot.
posted by corpse at 5:05 PM on December 19, 2001


I bought this CD set last year when the excellent Aquarius Records in San Francisco had second press copies for sale. Amazingly wonderful and hypnotic. The creepy feeling you get while listening is part of the fun. The amount of legwork that must have gone into compiling this collection is rather stunning, and indicative of the mania that can be induced. 9...3...9...4....2...4...
posted by hulette at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2001


Excellent post, Daniel, and typically generous. A cut from the White Album comes to mind, too.
posted by y2karl at 6:05 PM on December 19, 2001


Every time I hear these broadcasts, I become amazingly frightened for some reason. It could be the strange background noise, or the non-sensicalness of the whole thing, but it just REALLY creeps me out.
I can't listen for more than a couple seconds before I freak out and go back to my soothing downtempo.
posted by starduck at 6:12 PM on December 19, 2001


Gosh, thanks, karl (sincerely, no sarcasm meant)! Unfortunately, I have to admit that I haven't heard it. I came across something about it, somwhere or other, a while ago and I've been pretty intrigued by it ever since. Can anyone help me find a copy? I've checked quite a few places, it's out-of-print and really hard to find.
posted by skwm at 6:13 PM on December 19, 2001


they give me goosebumps... heard the NPR story driving alone on a country road at night - not recommended unless you like to get totally freaked out.
posted by mimi at 6:48 PM on December 19, 2001


per hulette's comment above, aquarius records seems to still have some copies.

after reading the descriptions and the like I had to ftp into work and snag all my "einstein on the beach / knee play" tracks to listen to whilst zoning out this evening; this could become a habit.

great link - now I just have to decide whether or not to buy this before year end - I can deduct this, right? ;)
posted by crankyrobot at 6:57 PM on December 19, 2001


Agreed, starduck, on the incredibly creepy feel I get listening to these. The absolute creepiest, however, has to be this mp3 of an Emergency Action Message(EAM), apparently broadcast from Andrews AFB. A message very much like this may just hearald the end of the word -- or, for those with a biblical bent, the seven trumps may just be read out in phonetic alphabets.
posted by eriko at 7:30 PM on December 19, 2001 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for that great link... and for reminding me how much cool stuff there is on the NPR site. I've added the 4-cd set to my holiday wish list, and spun off into my own memories of lying in bed at night and listening to all manner of weird and pulsating signals on the radio.
posted by apollo at 7:31 PM on December 19, 2001


Err, these things aren't much of a mystery they're just ciphers for one-time pads or something like that. Yes, there's probably a spy in your country right now!

The only interesting part is that some of these sound like kids. Maybe the intelligence community decided it couldn't trust adults and got some 8 year olds to start reading the slips of paper.
posted by skallas at 7:32 PM on December 19, 2001


oo! oo! i can tie this to semi-indie rock... at one point, the voice reads "yankee... hotel... foxtrot." this bizarre little clump of words became the title for the new (well, as-yet-unreleased, but probably my favorite album i've heard this year) wilco album.

true stories.
posted by onthestereo at 8:20 PM on December 19, 2001


From the onion:

Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wilco has already gotten tons of press for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, a mesmerizing album that the band's label rejected as too weird to release. But just as intriguing as its experimental airs and shadowy Internet-only availability are its little-discussed allusions to The Conet Project, a four-disc collection of recordings from so-called "number stations." The source of Wilco's eerie sample of a little German girl intoning "yankee... hotel... foxtrot," The Conet Project is full of seemingly nonsensical recitations of numbers and words heard on mysterious short-wave radio frequencies. Nobody seems to know why they exist or who's responsible for them, but that hasn't stopped Thomas Pynchon fans—or Wilco's Jeff Tweedy—from taking a little time to wonder.

posted by skallas at 8:25 PM on December 19, 2001


i gave it a 97, dick. um, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.
posted by quonsar at 8:43 PM on December 19, 2001


Re: the Onion blurb. Where is this Internet-only availibility? Do they mean bootlegs?
posted by Mid at 9:25 PM on December 19, 2001


I'm going to have to dig out and blow the dust off my old shortwave radio. I somehow had forgotten how fascinating shortwave can be.
posted by AFrayedKnot at 10:29 PM on December 19, 2001


Mid: Wilco had been streaming the album via Quicktime on its official site. But that was after they got dropped by Reprise. Now that they've got a new label and an actual release date, they took down the stream.
posted by elvissinatra at 6:02 AM on December 20, 2001


You don't really *fnord* think those broadcasts contain encoded *fnord* messages, do you?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:29 AM on December 20, 2001


"yankee... hotel... foxtrot." this bizarre little clump of words

That's just the letters YHF in NATO Phonetic alphabet.
posted by straight at 7:23 AM on December 20, 2001


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