Sound Matters podcast
B&O PLAY's award-winning series of podcasts looking at – and listening to – the sounds of the world around us. Sound Matters investigates our noisy cosmos, how we listen to sounds, the stories we tell about them, and all the ideas, inventions, discoveries, possibilities and ideas that live in the realm of the audible. Written and produced by Tim Hinman, with B&O PLAY.
Subscribe to Sound Matters on Soundcloud or iTunes.
In search of the missing sound
If you’re under thirty then you’ve probably listened to more music in a compressed digital format than anything else – and that’s fine, right? It’s never gotten in the way of the music that moves you. Well, actually, there are audiophiles out there obsessed with realistic, high fidelity sound reproduction, and they think otherwise. From wax cylinders to Compact Discs: our love for music is unshakeable, but that’s not the case with the numerous formats we use to store our recordings. In a year that marked the end of the MP3 alongside the continuing resurgence of actual, real life vinyl records, Sound Matters’ Tim Hinman unplugs a jungle of cables, splices through spools of tape, and moves mountains of scratched CDs, all in search for the mythical perfect audio experience.
The Voice Of Cod
Sounds behave very differently underwater than they do back on land – it’s a whole other kettle of fish down there you might say. What’s an earthquake sound like underwater? Do whales like music? What sounds make fishes’ hearts beat faster, and what do cod like to talk about? Our host Tim Hinman slips on his wetsuit and jumps into the deep end of our ocean soundscape. Featuring Norwegian artist and singer, Gry Bagøien and Dr Steve Simpson, Associate Professor of Marine Biology and Global Change at the University of Exeter. Come on in and join us – the water’s fine.
Nature Recording: When Your Ears Go Pop
“We bombard ourselves with sound and music… it’s everywhere.” So says musician, artist and nature recordist Chris Watson who has captured sounds for numerous wildlife TV shows, including Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series on the BBC among many others. In this episode our ever-intrepid host Tim Hinman points his microphone at, well… microphones, speaking with Watson and sound artist Jana Winderen about our ever-fascinating natural world and the jungle of sounds and noise it makes.
New Tunes From Old Bones
Some sounds go back… way back. In this edition of Sound Matters, we travel to a time when the line between making music and making magic meant a whole lot more than putting together your next party mix playlist. Host Tim Hinman takes us to meet musician and composer Barnaby Brown, who specialises in recreating sounds from long-forgotten instruments, and Peter Holmes, an engineer and trumpet player who rebuilds ancient metal instruments, played by ancient civilisations.
Big Science & Little Creatures
“I’ve spent a lot of time recently doing concerts for dogs… They’re the perfect audience.” So claimed musician, multimedia artist and film maker, Laurie Anderson when we interviewed her recently. And, if YouTube is anything to go by, millions of people agree with Laurie: “Funny Dog Singing Compilation”, “LOL Dogs That Sing” and “My Dog Sings With Beyonce” are just a few of the seemingly infinite videos shot and posted online by us humans of animals singing. We love it. But why? And do our furry friends feel the same way about it all? Join Tim Hinman as he jumps ears-first into the musical menagerie of animals that bark, howl and otherwise sing, chatting with Laurie Anderson and the musician, composer, author and philosopher naturalist, David Rothenberg who has jammed with all types of creatures, from bugs to whales, and beyond.
Sounds From Outer Space
Outer space is a vacuum – it’s full of a whole lot of nothing – so it’s pretty quiet out there. Or is it? Sit back, strap yourself in and lift off into the great beyond. This episode of Sound Matters features Professor Tim O’Brien of Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK and amateur radio satellite enthusiast Dave Rowntree (you might know him as the drummer in legendary Britpop band, Blur) looking at and listening to sounds from beyond our atmosphere. Also featuring sounds from the Voyager Space Probe, the planet Mars, black holes, pulsars, the solar wind, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first space walk, the space shuttle, aliens, and more. Not so quiet up there anymore, eh?
Music For Your Brain, Lungs And Legs
How is it possible that listening to music can make your legs, heart and lungs work better? Our podcast series Sound Matters returns for another eight episodes through 2017. In this brand spanking new episode, our intrepid sound guide Tim Hinman gets his jogging kit on and hits the treadmill on a quest to get motivated and find the hidden wiring between music and sport – travelling to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and chatting with Olympiads including long jumper Tyrone Smith, high jumper, David Adley Smith, and racing cyclist silver medalist Chloé Dygert, as well as Dr Costas Karageorghis, a world-leading researcher on music for competitive performance at Brunel University in London, UK.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE Smelly
How can you tell the difference between a good sound and a bad sound? There’s not much that’s more annoying than to be forced to listen to a bad sound – but what do we mean when we call something a bad sound, and is that bad sound heard and understood in the same way by different people? In this final episode of our podcast series, host Tim Hinman argues that it’s all relative –good sound and bad sound. But relative to exactly what? That’s the hard part. Featuring Mark Grimshaw, Professor of Music at Aalborg University and Andreas Hudelmayer, a luthier working out of Clerkenwell, London.
Animals Outside Your Window
Have a listen to the sounds going on outside your window. What can you hear? A car passing by, maybe an airplane flying overhead, a few birds chirping away in a tree in front of your house, a couple of dogs play fighting in next door’s garden? Tim Hinman presents a lazy man’s guide to exploring the sounds of the natural world – specifically noises of the animal kind. Tim speaks with radio producer Colette Kinsella, who lives right in the middle of Dublin Zoo and records the nocturnal sounds of the animals after all us humans have gone to bed, and Greg Budney, Curator for Collections, Development and Outreach at the Macauly Library, a project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University – the largest archive for biodiversity audio and video recordings in the world.
Snowflakes & Metal Hammers
What’s the sound of snow falling? This might sound like a riddle or the start of some joke, but for composer and sound designer Yann Coppier snow and ice are rich materials for making sounds and art. In this episode of our Sound Matters podcast series, host Tim Hinman focuses his ears on the specialist field of sound art – meeting and speaking with Coppier about his time recording in Greenland and how he makes those sounds part of his art, and Jacob Kirkegaard whose interest in the sounds of Chernobyl, the inner ear and Ethiopian metal hammers informs his own artistic practice.
New Ears & Strange Rooms
What we hear and the way we hear it has everything to do with who we are, where we are, what we are, what we can see and feel and what we know about the world around us, because we grew up in it. We take hearing for granted unless, of course, you were born deaf and never heard anything – just like Jo Milne, our guest in this episode of Sound Matters. Milne was deaf until she was forty years old when she had cochlear implants, an experience that was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Tim Hinman visits Milne a year after she first heard the world, as well as visiting a reverb chamber and an anechoic room with Finn Agerkvist of the Danish Technical University to find out what hearing nothing might sound like.
Brains, Cars & Tigers
There’s a problem with your brain… well, not your brain specifically, but there’s a problem when it comes to neuroscientists understanding how your brain works when you’re listening to stuff. And the closer we look at the brain, the more complicated it gets. What exactly, in all that insanely complex network of neural connections, is going on in your head that makes it possible to hear sounds, filter out only the most important parts, and understand what they mean? In our fourth instalment, intrepid host Tim Hinman meets Trevor Cox – professor of acoustic engineering, specialising in room acoustics, signal processing and perception at the University of Salford in Manchester – and gets the lowdown on what’s up with the brain and how (we think) it cognates sound.
Zombie Movie Piano Music
A zombie growls, a piano plays – this episode of Sound Matters gets into a cinematic frame of mind. In it, Tim Hinman meets two exponents of sound in cinema, both of them want to control how you feel, how you react and how you see the movie on the screen in front of you. Get comfortable in your seat, take that first handful of popcorn and meet film sound designer Peter Albrechtsen who tells us how he makes movies leap out and grab at you using sound, and musician and composer Neil Brand who plays live accompaniment to early, silent films.
Music & Memory & ME
"Without music we’d simply be something other than human beings.” Birthdays, weddings, festivals, funerals and more – pretty much every important human event is marked by music, and our brains take it all in, no matter how distant or vague those memories become. In this episode we meet Paul Robertson, violinist and professor in music and medicine, who has spent years working with people suffering from dementia and brain damage. From a distant childhood memory of a fragment of a song to a mass of rugby fans singing together in harmony, we discover how the music embedded in memories and dreams can be accessed in people whose fabric of identity has come under stress in order to help them find their way back to themselves.
the Sound Of Life Itself
We kick off our podcast series with the ambitiously titled episode "The Sound Of Life Itself". In this instalment we meet the influential field recordist, bio-acoustician and musician Bernie Krause. Starting out studying classical composition and playing guitar, Krause joined legendary folk group The Weavers in 1963. Krause later became interested in electronic and avant-garde music, and by the late 1960s had started to incorporate recordings of wildlife and soundscapes into his own music. In this episode we speak to Krause about his work as a founding pioneer in the field of soundscape ecology.