So what do Wilco, Vanilla Sky and James Bond have in common? Shortwave Numbers Stations have been used for over 30 years as a means to transmit coded information to spies when traditional two-way forms of communication have been too risky. These stations broadcast repeated strings of numbers, oftentimes in children's voices, based on "one time pad" encryption systems. Akin Fernandez spent many years recording these broadcasts and compiled them in The Conet Project, a four-disc and book set. Cameron Crowe exploited the disconcerting, creepy quality of these recordings by using them in Vanilla Sky when Tom Cruise finds himself all alone in Times Square. Numbers Stations broadcasts also include music samples or repeated word groupings such as "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," which some may recognize as the title to Wilco's critically acclaimed album that includes a sample from The Conet Project in "Poor Places." And Wilco's not alone; several other bands have sampled Fernandez's recordings including, Stereolab and Boards of Canada, whose entire catalog seems steeped in the sinister sounds of Numbers Stations.
Turn down the lights and take a listen:
Turn down the lights and take a listen: http://www.archive.org/audio/audio-details-db.php?collection=irdial&collectionid=ird059