1970 – Neue Jahr Null: Vom Himmel hoch

Jan 05, 07:53 PM

"25 years and one generation on from the end of WWII, 1970 is the New Year Zero / Neue Jahr Null.

In SFO the hippies get heroin and Haight became hate. Janis and Jimi OD, RIP. 

Israel, September 8: a month of plane hijacking begins, known as Black September. Three airliners are hijacked and blown up by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. 

This is one instance in a year of terror. 70 terror groups are established in 1970, significantly more than any year before or since in the 20C*. In affluent West Germany the Red Army Faction is established (to be known informally as the Baader Meinhof Gang). 

In south London a five year old boy looks at the walnut valve radio in his father’s room. Forbidden to touch the bakelite dials, he reads the illuminated place names. Wildly exotic: Cologne; Brazzaville; Sofia; Hilversum; Riga; Bratislava; Moscow; Havana; Tapei; Anchorage; Vatican City; Leipzig. The broadcasters speak in a musical received pronunciation that belies the chaos they report.

In Cologne, Baader Meinhof, the white collar terrorists, demand "an absolute break with the past and a radical new beginning” as they enact a programme of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, bank robberies and shoot-outs. Also in Cologne, three friends called Ralph, Florian and Conny set up a studio to bounce new sounds off the ionosphere.

* Journal of Conflict Resolution 2020, Vol. 64(1) 199-225
1970 – Neue Jahr Null: Vom Himmel hoch was made with a Synthi 100 and a vocoder."

Composition by Simon Kennedy.

Part of the Shortwave Transmissions project, documenting and reimagining the sounds of shortwave radio - find out more and see the whole project at https://citiesandmemory.com/shortwave