A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Shortwave Symphonies: Rupert Lally – Hidden Transmissions Vol. 1 (Woodford Halse) cassette review

On his first release for Woodford Halse, Swiss composer/electronic musician/multi-instrumentalist Rupert Hally recreates a lost radio transmission. It’s a reminder of the thrill of curiosity and musical discovery.

Rupert Lally’s Hidden Transmissions Vol. 1, design by Nick Taylor

The internet is a double-edged sword for music lovers. On one hand, we truly are spioiled for choice, living in a Golden Age of ultra-obscure sounds, much of which are top notch and of world class quality. On the other, this sheer ubiquity can make the music feel less special, just more data points in an endless sea of information, immediately discarded and forgotten – not even tasted, let alone digested.

It’s enough to make you misty-eyed for the days of expertly curated independent radio shows like those helmed by John Peel (which are, of course, also alive and thriving, if in the musical outskirts and margins) or a well-mixed mixtape or DJ mix. You’d hear something and it’d stand your hair up on end, give you goosebumps. If you were listening to the radio, you couldn’t even risk going to the bathroom, lest you miss the track ident.

On Hidden Transmissions Vol. 1, Swiss multi-instrumentalist/electronic musician Rupert Lally recreates this sense of wonder and sonic exploration with two side-long explorations in a beguiling array of different styles. You’ll hear everything from chilly industrial EBM to lush Vangelis ambient to locked groove brain dance IDM, all cut with flickers of shortwave static and cut with excerpts from The Conet Project’s numbers stations.

WF 17 – Hidden Transmissions Vol 1 by Rupert Lally

Honestly, even in the heyday of independent radio or on the fringes of today’s DIY indie/college radio or podcasts, it would be a commendable curator indeed who would dare to string together so many disparate genres, let alone smoothly and seamlessly as a strand of pearls. The sonic artifice is aided, no doubt, by Lally’s background as a sound designer for theatre and television. Hidden Transmssions Vol I truly does sound like some pirate radio transmission circa 1988, maybe departing a rave and driving towards the sunrise.

Hidden Transmssions Vol I truly does sound like some pirate radio transmission circa 1988, maybe departing a rave and driving towards the sunrise.

Hidden Transmissions also hints at a potential way forward for music in the 21st Century, which is the importance of good curation and exquisite presentation, for which Woodford Halse always excel. Nick Taylor’s stunning die-cut design, paired with a striking yellow cassette and a painting by Lally himself, make you want to leave this one in the deck, flipping it over and over, letting its machine song wash over you, carry you away on its analogue tides,

There are still a few copies of this one left, by some miracle. Tapes on Woodford Halse don’t tend to hang around long, so do not hesitate! Keep your eyes peeled for future installations of the Hidden Transmissions series as well!

WF 17 – Hidden Transmissions Vol 1 by Rupert Lally

Rupert Lally


Woodford Halse


ig: @woodfordhalsetapes

Woodford Halse bandcamp

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