Side Projects #4 – Flag Air Base

In 1987 dWM resumed his assault on the airwaves of Toronto with Flag Air Base, broadcast live on CKLN-FM. The premise of FAB was to invite different guests for each episode to create a set of improvised sonic mayhem. Depending on who was guesting, any given episode might be concerned with politics (Nicaragua, atomic weapons), found sounds, live instruments or pure noise. Here’s how dWM describes it:

Flag Air Base operates as a collaborative airwave-space playground for myself and other artists in Toronto. Some are seasoned audio and radio artists and for others this was a new experience. Mixing sounds, “playing” the studio equipment, resonating at different points all over the City.Rippling the plasma of the electric environment.

We get together prior to the broadcast to figure out what we want to do, what to focus the show on (if anything). The night of the broadcast we bring in tape decks, instruments, sound processors, pre-edited tapes and records. Each show was mixed live to air for one hour.

In total there were 20 shows produced between 1987-1990. Here’s some choice excerpts:

FAB #1 w/ PnrH – Sept 4/87

Sound Earthquake in Toronto, 9 Richter scale. We jam the signals and mess the frequencies in this free-form display of sonic chaos

FAB #2 w/ Karen Young – Oct 2/87

A child is having slug problems with his lettuce. Karen brings in her big beat blaster to express her profound funkiness. Then we show our respect for facts.

FAB #7 w/Greg Hermanovic – Apr 8/88

Spine-tingling chills! “I thought you knew, civilization ended miles back”. Greg mixes his recordings from China and Southeast Asia until it gets too racy at the end. “Hello Baby, want a kiss?”

FAB # 12 w/Heidi Schaeffer & Cathy Devlin – Oct 7/88

Recordings from Nicaragua and the AMARC 3 community radio conference. What is it like to do radio in a warzone? Cmdte. Borge tells about the liberating aspects of revolutionary radio. An enthusiastic bell-ringer at Ocotal signals the end.

FAB #14 w/ Dan Lander – Feb 2/89

Happy groundhog day. Dan replays an audio letter and learns how to dial long distance from Banff. “Repetition is the key to learning”.

FAB #17 w/ Jon Christian & Gary Keller – May 5/89

We bring tribalism into the studio. Jon and Gary have their junkyard percussion ensemble in tow. “Don’t near the edge”.

FAB #20 w/ Claudio Cacciotti – Mar 2/90

The topic tonight is mind control. Hey-hey diddly dum day. Wayne pays a visit to the local Church of Scientology for their unsuspecting input. Can you afford to be clear?

Each show was released as a limited-edition cassette. Here’s the artwork for FAB #1 (by PnrH)

FAB #1 cassette tape cover

Two ‘best of’ FAB cassette compilations were also issued. Here’s the artwork (by dWM)

Best of FAB Volume I

Best of FAB Volume 2