Osmo Nadir

From the end of the world

How ambient music reached the most abandoned place on the planet

The Antipodes Islands are inhospitable volcanic islands in subantarctic waters to the south of New Zealand. They are not available for tourists because their extremely sensitive ecosystem could be easily destroyed by the mere presence of man.

In the end of December, two days before joining a rare interdisciplinary radio-scientific expedition to the Antipodes Islands, Stanisław Strzyżewski heard “Aurora” on the radio. He decided to download the whole album and took it with him as he embarked on a journey of his life. On the way back, he sent me a message to share his exceptional story.

“…The sound of “Singularity” fit amazingly to what we experienced around the island and during the stormy cruise (approx. 6 days at the Southern Ocean). Giant waves, albatrosses, sea lions, penguins, subantarctic weather changing every moment like a kaleidoscope (from pleasant 20°C in the sun to hailstorms coming every half hour). Plus, the Magellanic Clouds, the Southern Cross and the night lighting of the Earth’s atmosphere called Earth Glow.”

During his stay on the island, Stachu established radio communications with the whole world. It was the first time in history that the transmission from the Antipodes Islands was maintained on amateur bands.

“In order to carry out the communication we used the forces of nature – the reflection of radio waves from the Earth’s ionosphere. The choice of which part of the world to communicate with and when depended on the cosmic weather and the Earth’s magnetosphere.”

The aim of the expedition was to protect the endemic flora and fauna species endangered by rapid growth in mice populations. Mice may have been introduced from one of the sealing trips to the island following the island’s discovery in 1800. Stachu Strzyżewski, who was responsible for the radio communication and photo/video documentation, is the first Pole in history who was authorized to stay on the island. “Singularity” is the first Polish music album to have ever resounded in this corner of the world.

“I do not write about it to boast, but to share the great fun that I had while listening to the album in such unusual place. […] I get goosebumps when I listen to it again now. It will always remind me of this extraordinary place and I will be returning to it repeatedly.”

 

by Osmo Nadir 2 February 2016