Wednesday, July 07, 2004

ROGER, WILCO AND OUT-OF-POCKET: Somehow, possibly because the source material scares us, the whole saga of Wilco and the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sample seems to have passed us by.

The title of the album refers to a sample taped off one of those really spooky shortwave radio stations which consist of nothing apart from people saying random words - sometimes numbers, sometimes callsigns. Sometimes, there's just odd bits of tone as well. They're possibly meant to be something to do with secret services, but we've never quite been able to convince ourselves of that - oh, we'd sleep better in our beds if we thought all it was were people playing at spies, but we don't really believe that when the US sneak someone behind enemy borders - Iraq, Afghanistan, Kerry's offices - they get them to feed back the secrets using a public radio frequency and a big radio transmitter. Anyway, regardless of what these scary, freaky things are, a tape of one of them turned up on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Wilco wound up paying Akin Fernandez for the uncleared use of the bit on the track Poor Places.

That, in itself, was kind of odd - although Fernandez had released a 4CD box set of tapes of these stations, he'd done little more than tape them off the radio in the first place. He's lucky Mossad and the Kremlin hadn't been suing him.

There's a further twist, however, in that it's now being claimed that Fernandez didn't even do the taping - another chap called Simon Mason has turned up saying he'd actually made the recordings and gave them to Fernandez to release for free, because he didn't really think anyone would ever be as daft as to want to buy the things in the first place.

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