On Air (1997)

Live radio broadcasts on experimental electronics, precursor of current Space Program instruments

Ananana (Lisbon, Portugal), NNN 001 (CD, 1997)

Recorded live at XFM (Lisboa), Rádio Universidade de Coimbra (Coimbra) and Rádio Litoral Oeste (Óbidos), July 1995.

All music by No Noise Reduction.

Wave control and mastering by Rafael Toral at Noise Precision, Lisboa.

Thanks to: Sílvia Benedito, João Bernardes (RLO), António Silva and RUC/ AAC people, Rui Neves (XFM).

Rafael Toral – instruments: modified electronic toys (part I), 1967 Lion Foreign, MS-2 micro-amp (part II). Circuits: Whammy pedal, Big Muff, modified Ibañez digital delay, Morley wah, Korg X-911 filters, Wem copicat tape delay.

João Paulo Feliciano – instruments: modified electronic toys (part I), Gibson Les Paul deluxe, MS-2 micro-amp (part II). Circuits: Small Stone phaser, Memory Man analog delay, Big Muff, Morley Wah, Wem copicat tape delay.

On Air broadcasts

Part I: Modified electronic toys with electronics

Part II: Guitars, feedback circuits and electronics

  • XFM (Lisboa), 9 JUL 95
  • Rádio Universidade Coimbra, 14 JUL 95
  • Rádio Litoral Oeste (Óbidos), 16 JUL 95


Track List:
1 RLO II 10′ 35″
2 RUC I 11′ 23″
3 RUC II 12′ 54″
4 XFM I 7′ 01″
5 XFM II 8′ 30″
6 RLO I 15′ 44″


notes by rafael toral

On Air is an improvised music piece with two parts. Part I consists of sounds produced using modified electronic toys further altered by analog electronic devices. Part II uses electric guitars with feedback circuits modulated using the same analog electronics as in the first part. The present recordings document a series of performances delivered by No Noise Reduction as live radio broadcasts in Portuguese radio stations.

Part I: Several two-dollar sound generating electronic toys, such as laser gun, mobile telephone or karaoke beatbox, were opened and modified. All of them consist of a simple electronic circuit board with metal switching contacts, a micro-chip, a resistor and two batteries. The circuits were rewired in a way that allow sounds to be produced by directly touching the board with the fingertips and altered by touching the terminals of the resistor. Touching the resistor terminals affects the pitch in different ways, depending of which signal is running through our body. The output of the circuits were then routed to several electronic devices, such as analog delay, distortion pedals, phasers, waveform transposers, wah pedals, random filters, aliasing noise modified delay and two old tape echo machines.

Part II: Two electric guitars running through the same electronic devices used in Part I, each feed a small battery-operated portable amplifier-loudspeaker system. All the sounds in Part II are feedbacks ocurring between the loudspeakers and the guitars’ pickups, modulated by the electronics. Variations in the battery voltage also affect the feedback, producing mysteriouly intermittent sounds, changed by the volume and tone controls. In such situation, the electronic devices’ modulation also produces surprising and unpredictable effects.

Performing On Air: Both the toys’ and guitars’ setups behave very unpredictably. Sound generation can never be taken for granted, will always somehow escape control. Many of the events were real time discoveries that we would drive along and change in a fluid way. But for the most part we gained control by adapting ourselves to the equipment’s behavior, playing with it in a true musical performance. The instruments’ unpredictability, summed with the improvisation an the live “on air” condition created a high level of risk, a very “dangerous” musical situation. That turned the performance of On Air into a very lively and exciting process.