42403

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written.

A month or so prior to writing this track, I had become fascinated with “numbers stations.” In short, these are mysterious, high-power radio stations that broadcast nothing but seemingly random strings of numbers, words, backwards music, and other strange sounds.

  1. 42403 Ray Toler 4:34

While none have been formally claim, nearly all of them are considered to be run by various countries to send coded messages to spies embedded in hostile territory. They are virtually uncrackable and untraceable, and still operate to this day. All a spy needs is a radio and a way to decipher the code.

After watching this Dark5 video repeatedly, I decided to make my own numbers station. I wrote my message, encoded it, and broadcast it to the world. Someone asked me online if the numbers meant anything. My answer was, “yes.”

42403 would end up being the opening track and title of my first album. I had planned on releasing it later in 2016, but that all ended up getting pushed back by about a year. I also ended up making a video for it, which includes a ton of encrypted messages, if you’re ever in the mood to try your hand at cracking codes. They’re not that hard once you catch the first thread…

Incidentally, one of the Song-A-Day folks figured out the first line in under 24 hours, but had no idea what it meant. Only six more lines to go…

Production

The most interesting thing about the production is probably the voice synthesis. If the woman sounds familiar, you probably have an iPhone. I typed all of the numbers into TextEdit on the Mac, then used the built-in speech synthesis to read them back, so Siri is definitely in there somewhere.

When I tried to re-record these parts in 2017 at higher quality, I found that the inflection had changed. Not by a lot, but it was definitely noticeable. Apparently, the speech synthesis gets modified with different versions of MacOS.

Lyrics

42403
72537037
456 18 20 2
456 18 19 13
456 18 18 37
457 18 17 11
42860


Copyright © Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.

Colophon

  • Voices: Ava, Alex, Nora
  • Bass synth: Moog Sub37
  • Pads: Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Access Virus TI
  • Other synths: DSI Prophet 12
  • Drums: Elektron Analog RYTM

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