Invisible PAIN Field Generator (8. Radio Destructo) Frank Koustrup


The “Invisible Pain Field Generator produces a directional field of moderately intense pain to back of head up to 50’. Cigarette pack size enclosure is easily hidden.”
Inspired by the sheer malice of such a device, the Invisible PAIN Field Generator performed three times. First was an improvised, radio broadcast one wintry night in 1985. Last were as an intermission act at a bar on Easter weekend, 1986. Within months, the members left town.
This compilation is a 60-minute, radiophonic show. It combines and juxtaposes recordings of the performances with thematically similar material. The sources are noisy and feature debris from highways, railways, alleyways, and inside abandoned factories. Plug everything together. Use really shitty tape. Play with the buttons. These original experiments were almost instant. Editing and processing took half a decade.
Not all music has to uplift. But relax. The Invisible PAIN Field Generator is invisible; really quite safe. Just don’t point it at a dog.

An invitation to guest-host a radio show spawned the Invisible PAIN Field Generator. The PAIN Field took the title of the show, “Turbulence”, absolutely literally, and strove to emulate the sound of a radio station being demolished. Regretably, this was not a deserving, commercial radio station.
The broadcast lasted 2 hours and is intolerable.
Long cuts of silence, “dead air,” broke up the broadcast, a tribute to John Cage’s composition, “3’47”. These gaps were flawed; no one could remember the title, nor obviously the duration. The silences varied in length somewhere around 5 minutes each at about 15- to 20-minute intervals.
In between the silence was noise.
Sources included radios, room-resonances, telephones, and percussive buckets of debris run through effects pedals. A recurring theme, a strangely relaxing repose, is a steam shovel as it demolishes a gas station.
The attempt to improvise an over-the-air broadcast was surreal and detached. No one could hear what was being broadcast. An attempt to tune a radio to the broadcast did not help. Then the radio ended up in front of a microphone. The output was re-broadcast. The radio station started to feed back upon itself. The limiters preserved the station equipment from real damage, but Radio ate its own tail that night.
The ending section resorts to a telephone as the main sound source — a futile call for help.
The Invisible PAIN Field Generator was never invited back to host “Turbulence”.
Performers: Philip Grant, Frank Koustrup, Kevin Curtis-Norcross
Source: 1984, 1985
Edited: 2000-2005

Copyright 2006 by Phillip Grant, Frank Koustrup, Kevin Curtis-Norcross

  • Year of composition: 2005
  • Duration of the submitted work: 10:23
  • Production: CHRW-FM, home

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