Freedom to Listen

Modern Archives

Freedom to Listen

Freedom to Listen is a collection of 4‑track recordings made in 1982, which succinctly capture the mood, and satirise the political climate, of the time.

They were made as the government of Margaret Thatcher revived its failing popularity with the British victory in the Falklands/Malvinas War. Hours of radio broadcasts are condensed into brief sound bites and arranged over instrumental backing tracks, which provide structure and pace underscoring the rhythms and cadences in the speakers’ phrases. As well as the war, the tracks cover topics such as nuclear disarmament, economics, and the celebration of individual success which came to symbolise the decade. Ambiguous in tone, and without commentary, these tracks leave it to the listener to pick out the rhetoric, contradictions and absurdities in the speakers' words. You have the freedom to listen and decide for yourself.

Predating computer-based sampling and recording, the six pieces on were made using a Teac Portastudio 144, the original 'home studio', with its cassette-based 4‑track recording and mixing console. The music was constructed from a small collection of budget sound sources, including electric guitar, Casiotone VL-1 synthesiser, and percussive household objects.

The Teac Portastudio 144