RADIOSON - Радиосон

label: Helen Scarsdale Agency

format: Cassette

The mysteries and conspiratorial thought that propagate around locations like Area 51, the incidents which have taken place in Roswell, and the reports of psychic weapons developed through the military-industrial complex are not unique to the United States. There are equally rich parallels that emerge from the Soviet regime as wild tales of parapsychological experiments with cruel expediency and reckless testing on human subjects. Secreted away within the utopian designs for Science City in Novosibirsk lies the enigmatic and ominous Special Department No. 8, presumed to be the research and development laboratory for Soviet tools of psychic warfare. One line of research stems from the potential for thought transference to occur via radio waves, originally postulated by Bernard Kajinsky under the general hypothesis of biological radio communication. The continuation of Kajinski's research lead to a the "radio sleep" [rus. radioson /радиосон project of the zombification of a subject by means of radio in the late 1950s, with the test subjects in Russia dying off one by one.

It is this lens of the paranoiac aesthetic where Radioson emerges. This eponymous release is the first full document for Radioson, though its Russian engineer is hardly a novice, as this is the work of [S] who has operated alternately as Five Elements Music and Exit in Grey over the past decade. Radioson maintains the representative compositional fluidity as [S]'s other projects, all the while presenting a darker, noisier, more malevolent disposition. Disruptive interference, numbers station mechanization, various Russian military transmissions, and electrically charged currents of caustic drone are constructed from a position of clinical detachment over the psychic and physical detritus that spills forth in his homeland. The occasionally kosmiche turns for electronic sequencing are a unique take on the Schnitzler / Schulze strategies from the '70s, though mapped out on antiquated Russian synthesizers, tape machines, and of course radios. But the exhumation of things past and the parapsychological aesthetics parallel the best work of Andrew Lagowski's S.E.T.I. moniker when he recorded for Ash International and the psychological dread of industrial ambient practitioners Schloss Tegal.


Ich weiß nicht, ob RADIOSON einem mit радиосон (HMS032, C60) einen russischen Bären aufbindet oder nur Gemunkel aus dem Kalten Krieg weiterträgt. Ein gewisser Bernard Kajinsky mag in den 20ern ja mit Radiowellen von Hirn zu Hirn experimentiert haben. Die angeblich darauf basierenden, zur Kriegsführung gedachten Versuche einer bioenergetischen Informationsübertragung, die die legendäre Spezialabteilung Nr. 8 in den 50ern in Akademgorodok durchgeführt haben soll und die vom KGB vertuscht wurden, da sie fatal ausgingen, gehören zur Psi- Folklore. Welche Schlüsse darf man daraus ziehen, dass hinter Radioson Sergey Suhovic steckt, der, auch bekannt als [S], das Label Still*Sleep betreibt und als Sister Loolomie und mit Exit In Grey auftritt? Als Drone-Mind // Mind-Drone Vol. 3-Genosse von Jim Haynes auf Drone Records entstand die Verbindung zu dessen Agency. Das Hirn muss sich gefasst machen auf Dröhnwellen, generiert mit Tonbändern, Aiwa 929-Kassettendeck, Degen 1103-Weltempfänger, Korg Electribe und dem ostalgischen Polivoks-Synthi aus den 80ern. Brummig harmonische Polivoks-Wellen sind aufgeladen mit einem kratzigen Rauschen und befrachtet mit verhackstückten und trillernden Radio- oder Funkstimmen, durchwegs auf Russisch. Der Phantasie bleibt überlassen, sich dabei geheimdienstliche Machenschaften einzubilden, zu denen man als Katze einschläft und als Zombietiger aufwacht. Wenn ihr mich fragt, geht [S] mit seinem Garn nicht weniger gewitzt um wie COH, Hafler Trio, Elggren oder S.E.T.I.!

Bad Alchemy, August 2015

You remember the Russian musician who calls himself [s]? And sometimes works as Five Elements Music and Exit in Grey? He now has a new name under his belt, and it's Radioson. It also says so in Russian on the cover. This new project is inspired by Russia's parapsychological experiments, and using the radio for biological warfare. That is all part and parcel for [s], who knows how to use all of that dark technology and conspiracy stuff into a soundtrack that resembles much of that. Lots of radio transmissions are intercepted and fed through a whole bunch of sound effects and served as a fine dish of dark ambient music. The cover lists also a bunch of ancient soviet synthesizers, adding to the fun, but also adding a bit of melody here and there... Whereas Helen Scarsdale places that on the Schnitzler/Schulze axis, I'd rather believe this has more to do with Maurizio Bianchi in a somewhat more contemplative mood. Think Plain Truth era. Long on-going field of vastly layered electronic sound, and one or two of these layers contain a slow melody. It's darker than much of the cosmic music from the seventies, I'd say (even when Schnitzler knew some of those tricks too), and this is an absolutely great release. An obscured cloud of radio transmissions is taken from the air and put on an ancient piece of magnetic tape. It's all bit darker and grittier than some of the other of [s], so quite rightly he choose a new moniker. Perhaps not something you didn't hear before, but quite a lovely tape! -- Frans de Waard

Vital Weekly, July 2015

This latest cassette/download release from the always provocative Helen Scarsdale Agency engages on multiple levels, though a brief history lesson is necessary for one to gain a better appreciation of Radioson's eponymous release. The story originates in the aftermath of World War II in the experimental research conducted in the Soviet empire, in this case specifically the R&D development facility for Soviet tools of psychic warfare known cryptically as Special Department No. 8. One line of study undertaken by the group centered on the potential for thought transference to happen via radio waves, an idea proposed by Bernard Kajinsky under the general concept of “biological radio communication”; pushed to an experimental extreme, this notion of “radio sleep” (radioson in Russian) could produce a debilitating state of radio-generated “zombification.”

The testing, which occurred at a site outside Novosibirsk, involved 145 soldiers who after being subjected to the “radio sleep” device, fell into a deep sleep, and upon awakening were observed for close to a year. The project might have become little more than an historical research-related footnote had the test subjects not started dying off, one after the other, leading to a military inquiry and the discovery that the project had been undertaken by the KGB without the participation of the Ministry of Defense and the awareness of the state's highest military executives. This, along with the tragic deaths of the participants, resulted in the eventual suppression of information about the project and ostracism of anyone who so much as acknowledged it publicly. One subject who somehow survived the ordeal attempted to publish information about the research but found himself summarily silenced and banished to a psychiatric institution.

As enigmatic as the release itself are the details surrounding the recording's creator, the Russian producer Sergey, better known as [S] who's issued material under the Five Elements Music moniker and as one-half of Exit in Grey. Operating under the name Radioson and using old synthesizers, tape machines, and radios as sound-generators, [S] generates a blurry, ultra-dense forcefield of noise and static through which sweetly cloying synthesizer melodies occasionally penetrate. The four untitled tracks unspool like brain scans transcribed into aural form, resulting in an hour-long convulsion of synapse firings, garbled thought fragments, and electrical currents all jumbled together and littered with kosmische dust. A constant struggle is enacted between the musical and textural elements, with each side gaining the upper hand at different stages. After the opening track establishes the project's ambient-experimental blend, the second piece lurches and grinds like some machine-like behemoth until the synth elements arrive to imbue the material with unexpected melancholy, the third whips up an industrial storm that's so thick it verges on impenetrable, and the fourth plunges even more deeply into a turbulent zone of speaking voices and sci-fi transmissions. As smothered in physical decay as the material is, Radioson is a far from unpleasant listen, and though it includes a generous amount of disruptive noise, it's neither abrasive nor unmusical.

Textura, September 2015

The ways in which sound can condition the brain are a source of psychological (and mystical) fascination. Some methods proved more effective than others: thanks to Pavlov and his dogs, the shrill ping of an iPhone notification is perfectly engineered to make our mouths water with excitement. More complex sonic manipulations -- iDozers, Sound guns, in the case here, "zombification" -- have yet to be mastered. In the eyes of the postmodern sound architect, though, these theories are no less fascinating. Check out the manifesto for Radioson, a new cassette release from the Helen Scarsdale Agency. It's an avalanche of radio static and bleak leads, combining the HSA's '50s ad-agency aesthetic with old-fashioned communist paranoia. -- Ross Devlin

Ad Hoc, July 2015


Each side of this tape is split into two discernible, but untitled pieces. The first half of the A side begins with a brittle expanse of synthesizer. There is a cold, gray and depressive sound to it, conjuring images of a post apocalyptic wasteland of decaying concrete via its harsh, reverberated ambience. Hints of human voice and static crackle across the mix, isolated and lost. Throughout this darkness and dissonance, a simple melody is blended in. While no doubt intentional, the melody has almost the tone and colors of an alert sound that somehow became musical.

The echoing chaos that ends the first piece sets up the second nicely. Leading off with what best resembles a decrepit, decaying church organ sound, the melodic sound from before reappears, more diverse and varied in its structure, but not as clean and less distinct amongst the noise. Compared to what preceded it, the sound is a bit more static, but the musical part of the piece is more prominent, even if it concludes on a more dissonant, barren note.

On the B side, Radioson crafts a massive expanse of static and hushed, droning tones that are transformed into gliding melodies. The wall of static and noise stays sustained, with a subtle bit of flanging and effects, eventually overtaking the melody, which reappears in a ghostly form at the piece's conclusion. The second part features a heavy bit of raw, distorted synthesizer, mixed with open space and at first a bit more breathing room. Eventually with the introduction of shortwave radio recordings, number reading and alert beacons, it concludes the tape on an unsettling, tense note.

Radioson has brilliantly created an ambience of Cold War era psychological weaponry via raw electronics and unconventional melodies. Captivating from start to finish, there is a sense of malignancy that is pervasive throughout. The cleaner sounds may convey a sense of normalcy and familiarity, but as a whole the work is disconcerting and enigmatic in the best possible ways.