A radio station with a difference is gearing up to go live in an unusual location - but only for 24 hours.
The Dark Outside FM project will broadcast never-before-heard music around Murray’s Monument in the Galloway Forest Park and has been put together by respected artists Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges along with DJ producers Stuart McLean (Frenchbloke) and Ben Hayes (Soundhog) as part of the first Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS),
The temporary radio station will only be able to be heard from noon on Saturday, 31 August through the night to 12pm the next day.
Robbie said: “As soon as word got out it started to get incredible momentum on the internet and we’ve had an amazing number of people wanting to take part. They like the idea of 24 hours of previously unheard or unreleased music broadcast in a dark, empty and beautiful forest for free to anyone who liked to turn up and tune in.
“People are fascinated by the concept of music in deserted places. What makes The Dark Outside very special is that it is totally site specific – it is not going to be recorded or streamed or published anywhere else. You have to be in the landscape to hear it, after that it’s gone.”
There are already more than 150 contributors with artists coming from as far apart as the UK, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan, the USA, Canada and Costa Rica.
As to what The Dark Outside FM listeners will hear, it stretches from the latest and wildest frontiers of leftfield contemporary sounds, to piano compositions, dub reggae and as far as an operatic version of Danny Boy by the Windham Festival Chamber Orchestra with soprano Nancy Allen Lundy.
Stuart said: “Basically, it’s taken on a life of its own. Somehow the idea of having their music broadcast to a potential audience of nobody apart from goats and trees seems appealing to lots of musicians. And the only way to hear it is to turn up.”
To add to the experience The Dark Outside radio station will be set up at the foot of the Murray’s Monument obelisk, on a hillside above the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall – near where a foaming, gravity-driven fountain is being created as part of the festival.
The signal will reach up to 5km through the woodland and valleys. Live music is also being planned for the event, which is being put together for EAFS.
The Dark Outside idea emerged from a previous collaboration when Robbie and Jo (who are artists in residence at Galloway’s Dark Skies Park) were doing some work with NASA’s Voyager space mission. They were inspired by the idea that 12 billion miles away the tiny vessel was carrying a Golden Record with sounds from Earth.
These include a blues track called Dark was the Night by Blind Willie Johnson which scientist Carl Sagan described as ‘the authentic sound of human loneliness’. This became the basis for a sound piece called Blues for the Heliosheath (created with Stuart) which they transmitted in the forest.