Strangely hypnotic mashups of ambient and live police radio

Mount_Royal_Montreal_Lookout-sm.jpg BB Submitterator idontlikewords mentioned the websites last week, a soothing mix of police radio chatter and ambient music. Choose from Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, or my personal recommendation, Montréal. French police chat really blends into the music nicely. You may need to adjust the balance of each stream a bit to find the right mix.

Image: Mount Royal Montreal Lookout by Diliff via Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0



  1. I used to jam the chemical brothers and method a bunch with Air Traffic Control streaming feeds: a perfect blend of bleeps, bloops, squelch, hiss, and thumpin’ bass. After 9/11 a lot of streaming ATC went offline and I got out of the habit, but it’s worth seeing if any ATC’s still stream, the effect is rather nice and never the same twice.

    1. Listening to them all at once is definitely the way to go. I can’t close any of the tabs now that I’m hooked. I imagine this is what it would sound like hunting replicants.

    1. Yes! I just came here to mention the great SomaFM/NASA mashup, since these streams reminded me of.

      And this is similar but not the same as the Eno/Byrne album, Anon @ #7. That was much less ‘ambient’. This stuff fits a different space.

    2. I love that mission control station on somafm. Although the Apollo-era ‘over’ beep is apparently really well heard by your co workers, even if you don’t have it turned up that loud.

  2. Ha! Now this I get: just the perfect thing when you’re coming down from, oh extacy lets say, and you want to be relaxed *but not too relaxed*; this would be just tops. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the town. . .not a bad idea.

    And the Montreal French would be the most calming. . .still, ambient music always kinda bugs me: beat, man, beat! Where’s the rhythm?? I can’t take it for long. . .have to play some DJ Cheb-i-Sabbah or some such.

    My non-serious request is for police bands from Mumbai and New Delhi with some tabla beats and twangy sitars: pure win.

  3. Brian Eno and David Byrne did this 30 years ago, the recording is called “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”. It’s also much better music.

  4. found this a few days ago. been singing this cool song i heard called ‘multiple shots fired officer down officer down send back up send back.. ugghh agghss tell pete i alway…s tell pe.. ghdf…’ In the shower every day. really sets the day off right

  5. Great scanner ap in the android market. Tons of worldwide scanner material. Makes me miss my old shortwave.

  6. The Los Angeles feed was very Blade Runner-esque. More human than human, that’s our motto.

  7. One of my favorite Soul Coughing songs “Screenwriter’s Blues” has a rather insistent refrain of ‘You are listening to Los Angeles.’ Now I know what he was talking about.

  8. If you like this, you might want to check out Boris Policeband. That is, if you can find any of his mashups of (mostly live) police radio and weird strings, NYC early 80s. Great character too, came and vanished, no one knows who he is or where he’s at…

  9. This works oddly well with Jens Buchert remixes. I went out of the room and forgot I had the mash-ups open in a tab, and it synched so well with the music by the time I got back, I kept wondering whether I’d gotten a new remix or something.

    Eerie, but nice.

  10. Thanks for using that photo from atop Mont Royal. Living in Vancouver for some years now, I haven’t seen that familiar view for quite a while and it was a welcome sight.

  11. A pioneer of this concept is an artist named Scanner, he gained a big following in the 90’s, performing live with scanners and synthesised sound. He’d pluck everything from the airwaves, including phone calls. His studio recordings are worth seeking, they can get eerily intimate.

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