Thursday, July 3, 2014

Memories Of Static

"Languorousness" figured increasingly in commercial Hawaiian music in the 1930s and 1940s (despite King's alarm at its "jazzing-up"), and it certainly remained a key motif of the Hawaii Calls radio program. Broadcast weekly from Honolulu, and heard around the world from 1935 until its cessation in 1975, the program promoted an image of Hawaii as earthly paradise - one that visitors were encouraged to physically visit, as well as imagine. Staged "under the old banyan tree in the courtyard of the Moana Hotel," the "liveness" and seductive authenticity of the setting was much stressed. Indeed, some mainland listeners to the original broadcasts apparently imagined the oscillations in the shortwave signal to be the sound of the waves lapping on Waikiki. When the signal was improved the producers received complaints from listeners, and thereafter a microphone was placed near the water to pick up the real ocean waves.

Echo & Reverb
Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording 1900-1960

Peter Doyle
Wesleyan University Press