I'm here. — I'm glad you're there. — We are St.GIGA. ~the sound of the earth~

Today I learned that the satellite radio station that Nintendo partnered with for their Satellaview games was also a weird, innovative new age ambient music station that based its programming on the day’s tide charts and took its motto from The Sirens of Titan. And some of their music is online today!

From Wikipedia:

St.GIGA’s broadcasts initially followed no externally fixed (or artificial) timetable. Rather they were based upon the cyclical motif of a 24-hour “tide table[23] where broadcast themes were approximately matched to the current tidal cycle according to the rule of twelfths throughout the 24-hour broadcasting period.[24][25][26] Under this innovative schedule, the station broadcast a variety of primarily ambient music programs including Music Tide (音楽潮流 Ongaku Chōryū ), various jazz programs,[27][28] and Tide Table (タイド・テーブル Taido . Teburu ) (featuring live sound-broadcasts of the ocean shore). The beginnings and ends of programs were not clearly demarcated and instead utilized the unprecedented “Tide of Sound” (音の潮流 Oto no Chōryū ) method where songs of one genre would gradually flow into and intersperse with the songs from the prior genre until the new genre became predominant.[2] The intent, according to Yokoi was to allow the listener to relax in a wave of sound “like a baby sleeps in the womb.” [23] “Tide of Sounds” broadcasts operated under a principle of “No Commercials, No DJs, No News Broadcasts, No Talk.” Unlike most commercial-driven radio broadcasts, this was made possible for St.GIGA due to its reliance on a subscription Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) service. In order to receive this DAB service, the subscriber was required to obtain a special decoder, to pay an initiation fee, and subsequent monthly fees.[29] “Tide of Sounds” broadcasts often took the form of high-quality digital recordings of nature sounds accompanied by spoken word narration by an actor as the “Voice.”[30] Throughout the life span of “Tide of Sounds” broadcasts, the part of the “Voice” would be played by a number of notable Japanese poets including Ryo Michiko among others.[31] “Voice” performances often consisted of all new poetry composed specifically for the show.

Highly artistic and experimental, the St.GIGA sound became extremely popular within certain segments of the population, and the station was recognized for its innovative concept, unique vision, and nonstandard methodology.[32] Fan publications such as BSFan Journal and G-Mania sprang up to publish details of the music and to report on the ambient, mood, and electronic scene that was burgeoning in Japan.[33] To this day numerous fan groups, trading groups, and collectors with an emphasis on St.GIGA’s musical products exist online.[34]

The initial popularity of the music funded trips by St.GIGA biomusic recorders to travel abroad to record at such exotic locations as England, Canary Islands, Mikonos, Venice, Bali, Tahiti, Martinique, Hanson Island (BC), and Maui.[35][36][37] St.GIGA was also able to release a number of thematic books including the multi-volume St.GIGA Stylebook , Current of dreams: An introduction St.GIGA programming (Yume no choryu: St.Giga hensei soron) (containing the full text of Yokoi’s original concept proposal[22]), and Trends in Dreaming - St.GIGA’s Hiroshi Yokoi’s General Office (夢の潮流 -St.GIGA編成総論横井宏著 発行所) (also released on VHS[38]). Later thematic films were sold including Traveling with St.GIGA (1999)[39] and Sound and Vision (2007)[40]

I found a high quality recording of some of their programming and it’s so good. A really lovely and upbeat ambient mix.

16 Likes

i was reading about the history of the BS stuff a while back and wound up reading the St. GIGA wikipedia article, as well. it’s really interesting, i’d love to hear a podcast or something covering it all. and yeah, their programming was pretty strange but i’m totally into it. some of it is like listening to some extended remix of pacific 808 or some shit. it’s wicked.

1 Like

Yeah, I stumbled across a bunch of broadcast recordings on niconico a couple years ago and it was some good stuff

This is really cool

Was there a tidepool boom in the late '90s? L.O.L. (lack of Love), Seventh Cross: Evolution — nah, I think I’m looking for patterns where they don’t exist, tidepools are always cool and I always pay attention to evolution games

1 Like

I just realized that the youtube video I linked mutes out anything in danger of a copyright strike, so that’s pretty lame. This Nicovideo user has all the original recordings and more, uncut:

3 Likes

truly solarpunk

1 Like

i’ve definitely heard this dj technique on american radio before. i love ocean metaphors

cool

Listening to the recordings of this again and wishing there were more out there. Japanese radio enthusiasts, please pull the dusty tapes out of your closets!

same, i adore the relatively few st giga recordings on youtube

1 Like

also relevant: this 1995 album by heavenly music corporation, comprised of music originally created to be broadcast on st. giga

1 Like

I found some more St.GIGA recordings on YouTube that I didn’t know about!

This account has posted several St.GIGA videos, but the main event from them is this hour long recording:

The google translated description:

This is an analog recording of the sound tide, titled “Early Spring Constellation Story”, which was playing in the afternoon in St. Giga. There was a narration at the beginning, but it was cut. Actually, I think it was flowing non-stop for about 2 hours. The recording was only halfway at the time, so it was halfway through. (Fade out processing was done)

This one is a lot spacier than other recordings I’ve heard, you can definitely feel the “constellation” theme rather than the tidal/nature theme I’m used to from other recordings.

2 Likes