About me and my music


About me

Hello, my name is Hali Palombo. I am a composer in Chicago that makes music out of shortwave radio, CB radio and more.

I got interested in shortwave radio when I was thirteen. My grandfather showed me how to operate his. I liked the appeal of being able to hear what people were doing in other countries, and hear what truck drivers were saying to each other in their trucks.

More recently, perhaps in late 2017, I heard morse code online and thought of how pleasing a rhythm it made. I thought, "what if I developed this into something a bit more traditionally musical?" And then other elements of radio got swept up in the mix, and here we are.

My influences include Philip Glass, Jorge Luis Borges, and FermiLab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL (I would like my ashes scattered here someday, hopefully not anytime soon).

How do I make my music?

I take a massive amount of samples from shortwave radio, pretty much whenever I hear something remotely interesting, melodic, textural, rhythmic... this could be morse code, numbers stations, static, interference of any kind. Then, I either incorporate the entire recording into a song - usually as a textural backing track - and I create "instruments" out of shorter clips, that I trigger with a keyboard and other MIDI controlled devices.

It's signifigantly more complicated than that in practice, but I reckon that's a decent primer into a Very Mysterious Alchemy.

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© Hali Palombo, 2019