Feature: Podcasts On Sound And Listening

Artwork for Ways Of Hearing

Podcasts are my other love. As well as ATTN’s own Crucial Listening podcast, you may know that I co-host a podcast called Episode Party: a biweekly show where Freddie Harrison and I invite guests to swap podcast recommendations with us. Since we started, my podcast consumption has ramped up exponentially. Occasionally I’ve stumbled upon some excellent shows that centre on the subjects of sound and listening. If you’re reading this, they’d probably interest you too.

Showcase: Ways Of Hearing

Ways Of Hearing is presented by musician Damon Krukowski (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi), and centres on how the migration to digital music has changed our relationship with listening. Damon clearly has concerns over how the listening experience is changing (concerns that I share), although this podcast isn’t just a cathartic outlet for generational anxiety, nor a yearning for the way things used to be. Ways Of Hearing is driven by a desire to absorb and to understand – which, for a podcast that champions the power of listening, feels only right.

Sound Matters

A podcast presented by consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen. Of course, a company that prides itself on premium audio gear (and by extension, premium audio experiences) can’t afford for the production quality to be anything below exquisite, and Sound Matters hits the mark. I’ve heard no more immersive evocation of water than the beginning of “The Voice Of Cod”, which turns my headphones into gigantic sloshing tanks of seawater during its opening few minutes. This episode is a personal favourite, mostly for the whale duets of Norweigian singer Gry Bagøien, but also for the revelation that cod speak to eachother in different dialects, depending on where they call home.

Reasonably Sound

I remember the first time I heard Reasonably Sound: Christmas evening, in bed, on the edge of sleep. I picked the episode about Taylor Swift accidentally releasing 8 seconds of white noise on iTunes (which immediately went to number one in Canada). The episode starts with host Mike Rugnetta struggling to find a suitable real-world analogy to the anatomy of white noise, only to become tangled in the practical details of playing out its various metaphors – the impossibility of enacting every baseball play at the same time, or typewriting every character upon a sheet of white paper. Over and over, Rugnetta becomes trapped within scenic downward spirals into paradoxical impasse. And of course – I know too well that lofty sonic theorising will invariably wind up eating itself, and while there’s ample love being poured into this podcast, there’s a wry self-awareness playing counterbalance too.

There are many more I could have included here – not least Twenty Thousand Hertz, Everything Sounds, The Antidote and Song Exploder. If you have any recommendations you’d like to share with me – or want to know about more podcasts in the ilk of the above – get in touch.