Show Spotlight: Sleepwalker

sleepwalker @ spacebar

Arlie is one of those rare gems who seems to have a knack for just about anything. Farming? Sure. Graphic design? You bet. Photography? Duh. Curating killer playlists? Totally. On top of it all, she’s a fantastic volunteer at the station, both as host of “Sleepwalker” (Thursdays, 6-8am) and as a member of Radio Boise’s Marketing/Outreach/Events committee. We’re not really sure how Arlie does it all, but she sure does make it look fun and we know we’re lucky to be the recipient of a piece of her talents. Here Arlie tells us more about what motivates her and drives the sound of “Sleepwalker”.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

I’m so excited about the music of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Laurel Halo is a favorite artist as well and just released, “Dust”, which I’ve been listening to. “Drunk” has been on the turntable regularly since it came out this spring, from Thundercat, who’s playing in Boise this September. Aphex Twin is always in the que, he just performed live at the Field Day Festival in London, with really cool generative video art. The new Com Truis, “Iteration,” Jonwayne’s, “RAP ALBUM TWO”, the new album from Actress, “AZD”, Geotic’s “Abysma”, and a lot more new music. Doing the show really keeps me looking for new artists to play and I stay pretty up to date on releases from my favorite labels.

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

Boise isn’t a huge tour destination, but it’s on the way to huge tour destinations, so if you’re paying attention, you can catch some pretty great acts on a Tuesday or Thursday night. I really enjoy going out to support music that I love.

Do you have a ritual surrounding “Sleepwalker”? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?

Every Wednesday night at precisely 9pm, I set two speakers in stereo configuration, which I connect to a single electronic oscillator. The oscillator is tuned to a frequency of 30 Hz and rises in a very slow glissando until it reaches a frequency of 441 Hz at exactly 5:27 am, when I awaken and head to the station to do my show. It’s like white noise or nature sounds, but more complicated.

How long have you been doing “Sleepwalker”? Why did you start the show?

I’ve always enjoyed radio; it’s kind of a longtime pastime of mine. I was heavily involved in college radio, DJ’d throughout my college years, and took my turn managing the station. I read the weather for a few NPR stations, which was kind of fun, because I got to pick music that went well with the weather. Herbie Hancock for 70s and sunny, Penderecki for a rainy day. When I moved to Boise, I couldn’t help but apply for a show. I think I’ve been doing the show for four years now?

How did you discover Radio Boise?

It was in the air, I don’t really remember. It just kind of came into my consciousness.

What other shows do you listen to?

I like Sunday Sound System, Sunday Soul Party, Greasy Greens, Show it Goes, Drift Correction – really the whole Sunday lineup is a hit in my book. Big fan of Tennis Court Disco and Guilty Pleasures, Strange Feeling, Two Ducks and a Pollywog, Range Life, The Hip Chick, It’s Now Right Now, Explorations. The list goes on!. It’s a good group of curators and most of them are doing other cool stuff in Boise, too.

What else do you do?

I’m a graphic designer and photographer so I spend a lot of time being creative. I backpack, play tennis, garden, and I walk my dog almost every day. My husband builds modular synthesizers and I occasionally help him solder a resistor or two. We’re starting a new age band on the side, I think it will be very relaxing.

Why do you believe volunteering for Radio Boise is important?

I grew up in the valley, and when I was young, there weren’t a lot of places to get exposed to new and interesting music. When I started volunteering at KUOI in Moscow, other DJs and friends introduced me to so much new and incredible music, and really changed my life. My greatest hope as a DJ at Radio Boise is that I can introduce someone to some music that they end up loving.

What sounds do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to?

I like a lot of really difficult new classical and electronic music: Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Iannis Xenacis, that kind of thing. I also like poppy melodic stuff. The sweet spot for me, though, is things that fall somewhere in between these two extremes: music that’s accessible in some ways, but really weird in others. Danceable music that subverts expectations and pays tribute to the electronic pioneers of the ‘70s. Most of all, I like to hear things I’ve never heard before. Also things with bells and kalimbas and CS-80s.

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