The Prepared Radio is a hacked Sony
communications receiver that is now controllable by a computer
application via serial/USB link. This in itself is nothing new (winradio, GNU
However, the aim is to enable the radio to be used as an instrument
in electronic music and generative sound compositions.
I am currently using the prepared
radio in the aleatory compositional system, an patch written
The patch consists of four modules. The first is a dynamically
allocated buffer array, currently supporting eight buffers,
each with a maximun length of ten seconds. The second module
tunes the radio by sending a three to five digit number
to the radio that represents the frequency in kilohertz. This
module can also fine tune the frequency in the range of +/-
5kHz. The third module records samples of the audio output to
randomly chosen buffers. The forth module randomly reads and
plays back these samples, applying envelopes and panning the
playback between two or four channels. There are as many playback
modules as there are buffers. All of the modules are autonomous
and send messages to each other to initiate action. However,
if any of the modules is busy performing a task, it ignores
the message until the task is complete.
Randomly chosen parameters and the indeterminacy
involved in the messaging scheme result in an aleatory composition.
As for the presentation of this composition, it is possible to
stream the output live over the internet, or rebroadcast it via
a low power transmitter, having the potential to reach a geographically
distributed audience, not just those who are present in a performance
Sound samples available soon...
Sony ICF-2001 Users Manual (PDF,
Sony ICF-2001 Service Manual (PDF,