The second half of season 3 of the podcast is on the best way, however this summer time has been preserving me busy on all fronts. Coming up will likely be episodes with kranky, Jessica Moss, Archivio Diafonico, and a particular episode celebrating 10 years of A CLOSER LISTEN. Until then, I believed it was previous time to publish some season 3 episodes right here on the weblog.
We kick off season 3 with an interview with the creators behind The World According To Sound, in honor of their 2022 Winter Listening Series. A streaming live performance sequence designed for our occasions, every occasion is devoted to listening carefully collectively, aside. If, like us, you’re apprehensive about attending dwell concert events once more, however miss the expertise of collective listening, this sequence is made for you. 12 reveals will likely be introduced each Thursday night at 6PM PST, January 6 by way of March 24, 2022. Enter “ACloserListen” at checkout for 25% off tickets and season passes. Half season passes, in addition to particular person tickets, are additionally accessible. This episode begins by profiling The World According to Sound and diving into their listening sequence, in addition to their frustrations with the state of public radio within the USA. Despite these critiques, all of us nonetheless have a deep love of radio, and so the again half of the episode types an homage to the radiophonic arts.
Episode 22: SHUT UP AND LISTEN!
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Interview recorded between California and Montreal, December 2021
Produced and combined in Montreal, January 2022
SP* at Anchor
Winter Listening Series
All 12 reveals are positive to be of curiosity to our readers. The Winter Listening sequence started by delving into myriad sonic archives, exploring the historical past of sound, the expertise of isolation, time, transposition and journey in sound. Just this week, the newest installment explored the influences behind the Kronos Quartet, with violinist and founder David Harrington. Future occasions will discover chicken recordings with BirdNote, the sounds of our bodies with Jacob Kirkegaard, a profession retrospective with sound artwork pioneer Bill Fontana, the historical past of radical radio documentary, and the expertise of solitude. The sequence concludes with the sounds of the legendary Firesign Theatre, together with a Q&A with members Philip Proctor and David Ossman.
The solely “pure music” present within the sequence comes from Matmos, however followers of the duo know to anticipate a wide selection of surprising sound sources. M. C. (Martin) Schmidt and Drew Daniel’s 2020 triple album was one in every of our favorites of 2020. That album is obtainable each as 44 particular person tracks and as three hour-long mixes, one per disc, emphasizing the significance of steady listening and devoted consideration. The Winter Listening Series supplies the circumstances for simply such an expertise, and we can’t wait to listen to what the group has ready. On March 17, Matmos will current a brand new work created particularly for the World According to Sound, with a Q&A with Martin and Drew to observe.
The World According To Sound
The World According To Sound (WatS) started in 2015 as a podcast by Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett, two public radio producers seeking to get outdoors of the general public radio aesthetic. The pair started producing summary spots for radio, showing on NPR’s All Things Considered and different radio applications. The podcast showcases a spread of sounds, every episode a brief and simply digestible presentation of a person sonic expertise, absent any public radio narration. The sequence started as 90-second vignettes, and whereas the size has grown a bit over what’s now 130+ installments, the sequence nonetheless runs shorter than your common pop track. As somebody who produces hour-long episodes of my very own present, the brevity of WatS stays one in every of my favourite elements of what Chris and Sam do.
But the duo shortly outgrew the podcast format, and have shifted their consideration to organized listening, initially with 8-channel dwell occasions, and extra not too long ago with the streaming Listening Series. At their dwell occasions, viewers members are given blindfolds to encourage extra centered consideration, and ticket-holders to the streaming Listening Series are mailed blindfolds to encourage the identical at house. In mandating a collective listening expertise, the pair have satirically returned to the origins of radio. Radio has a protracted historical past as an alternative choice to the live performance stage, so there’s one thing very becoming a couple of live performance sequence designed by radio producers. The pandemic has created simply the proper circumstances for a return to such listening.
Read the entire program, and listen to excerpts, at The World According to Sound.
A recurring theme in our dialog is the frustrations that the duo have with public radio. The rampant commercialization of the previous a long time has standardized the shape, stifling creativity. Public radio has lengthy been a web site of experimentation with sound, on condition that radio is an audio medium. Marshall McLuhan provides radio for example of what he known as “scorching” media, or media that emphasize one sense in excessive definition, requiring little viewers participation. In the early a long time of radio, earlier than the arrival of tv, this was significantly true. As audiences fragmented to different media, some producers, typically working in public, college, or group radio, had been once more in a position to push that degree of experimentation. But as radio has been one of many dominant forces shaping the emergence of podcasting, the industrial promoting mannequin has slowly slipped in public radio as properly.
While many American cities have had public broadcasters because the Nineteen Twenties (WNYC was based in 1922), National Public Radio wasn’t established till 1971. This is in fact uncommon in contrast with different international locations, the place broadcasting receives public funding and is at considerably extra of an arm’s size from the forces of the industrial market. This is for higher and worse, and the outcomes of up for debate. Often this interprets in direction of state-sanction of outmoded classical cultural beliefs rooted within the outdated hierarchies of style, however simply as typically it has meant financial assist for artists doing groundbreaking and experimental work. And so in Europe, as an example, one finds a practice of radio performs, Hörspiel, and radiophonic experimentation and radio artwork that has no analogue within the United States.
During the Nineteen Eighties, as with different media, the industrial radio market within the US went from widespread and various to consolidated into the arms of some conglomerate media corporations. This was exacerbated by the deregulation that adopted the 1996 Telecommunications Act, resulting in a sonic homogenization akin to the quick meals present in strip malls and freeway relaxation stops throughout the continent. Thus NPR had turn out to be, by the flip of the century, an alternative choice to industrial radio, and applications equivalent to This American Life and Radiolab bridged the podcast period, exposing many listeners (ourselves included) to an extended custom of public radio experimentation.
Public radio in New York had supplied an outlet for Tony Schwartz (1923-2008), the pioneering sound archivist, field-recordist, and media theorist whose sensible modifying might be heard on “Around New York” broadcast on WNYC from 1945 to 1976. Or Joe Frank (1935-2018), one other oft-cited influential radio performer whose surrealism and humor would definitely profit many working at present. After over a decade working in public radio, Chris and Sam have turn out to be a bit jaded by the formal strictures of the up to date enterprise. The World According to Sound nonetheless proceeds from the attitude of radio journalists (and never as artists), however as an alternative of foregrounding the narrative voice, with sound used as mere stage-setting background, they make “sound the protagonist.” The Listening Series takes us full circle, forcing an expertise of collective listening, not as background chatter whereas doing chores, however as sounds that deserve our devoted consideration.
During the golden age of radio within the Thirties, it was already clear that the potential of radio lies in what it abolishes: the area of the stage, time, unity of motion, dramatic character and the viewers as a self-appointed judging mass. But this experimentation not often survives the institutionalization of radio, significantly when, as in America, the medium is pushed nearly solely by industrial logic. As the character of radio has advanced over the a long time, so has experimentation with sound and kind. An implicit æsthetic has nonetheless emerged from the medium’s “scorching” audio, and the Listening Series pays tribute to many of those currents, together with essentially the most formally experimental public radio documentaries.
As Sam explains on this episode, abandoning the narrative voice of public radio is a method of giving autonomy to the listener, trusting them to attract their very own associations and kind their very own judgments. Even when listening collectively, every listener may have a singular notion of the sonic area, comprised as it’s by sounds each intentional and environmental. Radio artwork pioneer (and Kunstradio Online founder) Robert Adrian X (1935–2015) claimed that “The radio artist is aware of that there isn’t any solution to management the expertise of a radio work.” This is much faraway from the best of Western artwork music wherein the composer’s intention stays main. And whereas using blindfolds would possibly recommend an “obsessive want for management,” as Chris places it in our dialog, this isn’t to bend the listener to the artist’s whim, however as an alternative to domesticate a deep listening observe. This is aided by the weekly schedule, which makes the occasion right into a rewarding weekly ritual.
Shut Up and Listen!
The first half of this episode is drawn primarily from samples from the primary 4 installments of the Winter Listening Series, in addition to the WatS archive, with a number of odd picks of my very own. The second half shifts to emphasise some examples of radiophonic experimentation that we focus on in our dialog. The coda is a montage of WatS sounds I produced, in addition to some nods to my very own curiosity within the European custom of radio performs, specifically work from Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008) and Luciano Berio (1925-2003).
The World According to Sound – “Footstep / Organ” (intro montage dub by the brand new goal )
The World According to Sound – “Mud Pots”
The World According to Sound – “Attention, Attention”
The World According to Sound – Centennial Sounds pattern
Thomas Edison – “Mary had a Little Lamb”
Early field-recording, El prepare in NYC, 1878
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Village Blacksmith” recitation + soundscape
The World According to Sound – Two First Recordings of “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)”
Trumpet recordings on Wax cylinders
Tin whistle recording on wax cylinders
Alessandro Moreschi singing Bach/Gonoud’s Ave Maria
The World According to Sound – Centennial Sound montage
The World According to Sound – footsteps from Outside In
Desaparecidos – “Mañana” [minidisc field recording outro] (Read Music, Speak Spanish, Saddle Creek, 2002)
The World According to Sound – JS Bach – Prelude in C, 14 totally different keyboards chronologically 1746-today from Time
The World According to Sound – “Ants”
Chris Watson “Ol-Olool-O” (The Weather Report, Touch, 2003)
This American Life intro
The World According to Sound – Outside In – Binaural Haircut
The World According to Sound – Transposition
Francisco Lopez – “Untitled” (Live in Montreal, Alien8, 2003)
Tony Schwartz – “12 Years in Two Minutes and Four Seconds”
The World According to Sound – “Mudpots”
Alvin Lucier – I’m sitting in a room (ultimate iteration)
The World According to Sound – Transposition – Day in a single place
Radiolab (Jad leaving)
Georgy Ligeti – Poem symphonique 100 mechanical metronomes (1962)
NPR Starbucks Teavana story
Elliott Smoke, “snacksnacksnacksnacksnacks” (Everything Eaten in One Year by E. Smoke, 2006)
The World According to Sound – Transposition – Day in a single place
Radiolab Joe Frank tribute
Glenn Gould, The Idea of North, CBC Radio, December 28, 1967.
Hildegard Westerkamp – Beneath The Forest Floor
The World According to Sound – Matmos – Sound Breakdown
The World According to Sound – Wave Organ
the brand new goal – twats montage
Mauricio Kagel – Hörspiel, ein aufnahmezustand (1969)
Luciano Berio – “Coda («Sapientissimi Doctores»)” (Diario Immaginario, in Prix Italia: Disc 5, Die Schachtel, 2012)
Sound Propositions is written, recorded, combined, and produced by Joseph Sannicandro.