PARC CD1 v.3 - The Ghost Orchid: an Introduction to EVP

Released: 2006

Originally issued in 1999
77 Tracks: total length: 64:29
Compact Disc - Jewel Case + 12pp Booklet
File under: X-Files
http://parc.web.fm
Buy in the TouchShop

This is the third edition of this much sought-after CD... and has been unavailable since 2002...

The ParaPsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative [PARC], in association with Ash International, is proud to present the first ever fully comprehensive investigation into the paranormal phenomenon of EVP, otherwise known as Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Without doubt EVP falls into the catagory of the paranormal alongside other unexplained mysteries such as ufology, life after death & poltergeist activity. The listener is guided through a collection of strange and mysterious voices that have appeared without explanation onto the tapes of EVP researchers. Included with the CD is a 24 page booklet containing commissioned articles which cover the conflicting views surrounding the EVP. Actual voice samples are reproduced here for the first time on compact disc: Polyglot Voices, Public Service Broadcasting, Interruptions across the airwaves, Singing Voices, Instant Response Voices, and the extraordinary Alien Voices. The CD also includes a commentary by the artist Leif Elggren (in English), and recordings of the work of Raymond Cass, England’s leading EVP researcher, and original member of the Fortean Group, and the Latvian EVP researcher, Dr. Konstanin Raudive.

This CD release seeks to present the evidence; are the voices extraterrestrial, paranormal evidence of our telepathic powers or an elaborate hoax perpetrated by sinister and powerful groups to mislead us from their true aims...?

For further information go to: http://parc.web.fm


REVIEWS

Grooves Magazine (USA):

Rather than shining light on the unknown, the attempt to explore the world of the dead seems to have made it appear all the more bewildering. Be it through séances or Ouija boards, the desire to reach what Thomas Edison called the ¨living impaired¨ remains very much a vibrant practice. For those who do not feel such an affiliation with the otherworldly, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) aspires to provide tangible proof for life after death, poltergeist activity, and even the existence of aliens.

“Captured” by high-frequency radio receivers and a bevy of other basic recording equipment, these tapes culled from England’s leading paranormal hobbyist Raymond Cass consist of garbled voices that sing, respond to questions, and often engage in polyglot word play, deftly switching from English to German, Russian, and Latvian. Given the poor quality of the recordings, and the fact that tape warbles or high-frequency chirrups interrupt every now and again, each piece is repeated twice and introduced by composer Leif Elggren, whose brief but informative commentary helps ground the listener amid these brief, often difficult-to-understand sounds. As these fluttering, sometimes caustic, voices spill out onto radio broadcasts, and then quickly depart, one is often inclined to believe that this is all probably the result of channels crossing. At other moments - namely, those populated by alien voices or by the responses of apparent ghouls to the questions raised by radio broadcasters - even the more skeptical may find themselves surprisingly taken aback.

Wherever one happens to stand on paranormal activity, in the end there’s nothing on An Introduction to EVP that is likely to change minds as to the validity of such matters. At the very least, though, watch for blustery weather, invite a qualmish friend over for a glass of wine, give this disc a whirl, and an eventful night may not be far away. [Max Schaefer]

Brainwashed (USA):

This disk combines recordings from two well-known Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP ) researchers: Raymond Cass, whose work makes up the bulk of this disk, and Dr. Konstanin Raudive, who not only produced thousands of tapes during his lifetime but is also alleged to have appeared on recordings himself after his death. (In case you were wondering, Dr. Raudive says he's "living fine.")

The packaging for this rarely available release (it's gone out of print twice in seven years) is lush and obviously produced with care. The booklet includes not only an essay explaining EVP, but also includes detailed and thorough biographies of Cass, Raudive, and Friedrich Jurgenson (who pioneered the technique after finding voices on his tapes of bird calls). The cover image—an adaptation of a polygraph—and the photos of Cass and Jurgenson are printed in a silvery ink with a slight metallic sheen. The polygraph image is repeated in the inside of the booklet and is the perfect visual representation of eerie, distorted speech. The title itself is significant too...a ghost orchid is a tiny and rare flower, hard to come by and grow.

I was a bit apprehensive of listening to this CD initially—I'm the sort of person who avoids scary movies and covered her eyes during the bloody bits in Gladiator—but I actually did not find the recordings to be particularly scary or creepy, perhaps because I was expecting them to be. If I walked into an empty room where these recordings were being played, however, I can't say I wouldn't be scared half to death. The voices do sound ethereal and other-worldly at times; at other times they sound like a commercial or the oldies station being played on a cheap stereo down the block. They speak in English, German, Russian, and Latvian, and sometimes combinations of several languages (the so-called "polyglot voices"). They sing, laugh, and are said to respond directly to researchers and address them by name. Each fragment is repeated three times to give the listener a chance to really hear and absorb the voices.

These voices are said to be ghosts attempting to communicate from the afterlife (including Winston Churchill), psychic impressions from the researcher himself, and even extraterrestrial beings (the evidence for this being their bad grammar). I'm not sure I buy any of those explanations myself, but I do find these recordings fascinating and compelling. Some of the transcriptions of the voices are a stretch and don't sound to me much like what they're "supposed" to (I've also possibly identified an "unknown" alien word as a German surname). Even viewing these recordings as the results of radio interference, cordless phones butting in, or CB or shortwave radios breaking through, they can be enjoyed as the sonic equivalent of a found poem.

Almost Cool (USA):

Released on the Touch UK sub-label Ash International, An Introduction To EVP by The Ghost Orchid is one of those weird releases that will probably only appeal to fans of the seriously odd. EVP itself stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon, and falls into the category of the paranormal alongside stuff like UFOlogy and telepathy. Ash International has teamed up with PARC (the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative) for this rather exhaustive collection of recordings from the collection of one Raymond Cass and Dr. Konstanin Raudive (with introductions from Leif Elggren). The resulting disc is a whopping 77 tracks and sixty five minutes of static-laden pieces of scrambled voices, singing, and flat-out weirdness that is at times creepy and at others unintentionally hilarious.

Even listeners who are flat-out skeptics can find things that are enjoyable on the release, simply because of the recordings themselves. Many of them warble with a high level of hum and hiss and noise, recalling the sprawling Conet Project box-set of shortwave radio recordings. At any rate, the disc sets itself up well, with an overall introduction by Elggren before going into another explanation from Cass (which is of noticeably lower quality) that leads into the first set of recordings (looped three times each to try to help the listener try to discern the truth). In the case of most of the recordings (in all the different sections of the disc), your overall experience will be defined by just how much you actually believe in the phenomenon.

Personally, I'm a fairly pragmatic person, and as I mentioned above, most of the clips sound like weird interrupts from a radio station, with bursts of song or fragments of broken speech from a language that's indecipherable (actually, none of the "ghosts" seem to speak English). The phenomena has been portrayed and discussed recently in everything from film (the unfortunate White Noise starring Michael Keaton) to non-fiction (Mary Roach devotes a chapter of her book Spook to the study of EVP), and is obviously viewed by serious scientists as a crackpot field.

Even with my skepticism fully in place, I have to admit that some of the tracks are somewhat creepy (namely the "alien voices" and "new research" sections, which deals with direct responses to questions) if you're in the right mood. Given the range of recordings (some of them made almost fifty years ago), the sheer textural quality (including static, weird tape warbles, and high-frequencies blips) of the release is interesting, alongside the random fragments of shattered speech and talking-heads researchers trying to somehow get some sort of response from the spirit world. Further playing on the theme, the CD includes a 12-page booklet discussing EVP, including biographical information on the researchers involved and other information.

As a child, I used to completely love reading about unexplained phenomena, but somewhere along the way, my view of the field went from really wanting to believe everything to not really believing much of anything at all. My views have become much more grounded in science, and while one could argue that the existence of voices on tape actually entails scientific proof, it's also easy enough to argue away as radio or some other sort of interference. That said, many of the clips on The Ghost Orchid are edited to be so short that it's hard to get any sort of context for them. The longer sections do a much better job of laying out the evidence, and while I still don't believe (even though I was a big fan of the X-Files), the more developed setups make for much better listening than a two-second section looped three times. Supposedly, this is only the first release in a series from Ash International about EVP, so here's hoping they draw the listener (believer or not) even further into their world on future efforts.

rating: 7

TheStranger.com:

I also used my gussied-up stereo to investigate electronic voice phenomenon, better known as EVP. The Ghost Orchid: An Introduction to EVP (Ash International) collates examples from three EVP researchers active in the 1960s and '70s: Freidrich Jürgenson, Konstantin Raudive, and Raymond Cass. All three collected purported examples of the dead communicating via radio and their mutterings embedded in magnetic tape. After some obsessive listening, I'm not sure garbled, polyglot utterances such as "Only Sonja Will Make It" and "We Can See Edith by Radio" confirm communication from beyond, but almost all of the examples have a wonderfully cryptic, lo-fi patina suitable for DJ loops or, as the booklet recommends, "intriguing and original ringtones for mobile phones."

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