New year, new you. New ideas, new inspiration, new resolutions, etc. etc. ‘Tis appears to be the season of more or less epic self-improvement overhauls. But what about the daily, unsung nuggets of inspiration we reach for everyday, working on our own within sound and art in general?
In this post I’d like to particularly focus on inspiration in the handiest, most portable and replayable form that technology has so far been able to provide us: podcasts.
Whether playing in the background during long bouts of online research, acting as moral support during hours of admin and form-filling chores, keeping us company on tedious bus journeys, or adding some culture to lazy Sundays with coffee & croissants, podcasts – to me at least – work at once as productivity tools and creative escapes. And it looks like I’m not alone: when I recently asked some friends and colleagues (as well as Twitter) if they used podcasts as part of their daily routine and what their top picks were I got a very positive response, with a huge variety of topics and styles mentioned.
As discovering new podcasts to suit our particular niche and separating the wheat from the chaff can sometimes be hard work, I thought it would be useful to collect our soundie-favourites in one practical reference page- so here they are, in no particular order. Some of these you may already be a fan of, some others you may be willing to try. Cos isn’t this what new beginnings are all about?
\\ Disclaimer: what follows is by no means an exhaustive list nor a competitive ‘Top 20’. It is simply a shared selection of go-to favourites from the artists and sound professionals who contributed. While some are strictly focused on sound & audio, I have also chosen to included those that utilise sound in original ways to explore storytelling, art and other creative genres, which we ‘cross-pollinate’ with on a regular basis.\\
20 SOUND-RELATED PODCASTS TO FOSTER YOUR CREATIVITY:
1. Re:Sound – a ‘radiophonic remix of audio goodness’ and occasional audio treats, like recent faves from the Third Coast Festival library spotlight and debuts of more experimental work.
2. Love + Radio – in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.
3. The Truth/The Memory Palace – short, surprising stories from the past- sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical. For history buffs and fans of public radio shows.
[ Julien Clancy, @julesoutloud | Freelance Radio Producer ]
4. RadioLab – a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
5. AudioNowCast – audio professionals discussing topics related to the industry. Extensive searchable archive.
6. Tonebenders – collective of sound design professionals sharing their thoughts, ideas and stories on all aspects of sound design. Also covering the latest news in software, gear and techniques.
[ Steve Fanagan, @stevefanagan | Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer ]
7. A Salute to Jean Shepherd – “Radio Raconteur, slob Americana. An archive of more than a thousand shows from 1950s – mid-70s, always entertaining and engaging, albeit shockingly sexist at times. His story telling and narration style gets under your skin, and I find it appearing in my own work without my intending.”
8. In The Dark. – “We don’t produce much audio ourselves, rather we curate, and that is fascinating, because you learn from the different opinions of your fellow curators. That then scaled up in events, when you note how audiences interact with pieces. This again has informed me in making work specifically for group listening, with some stylistic difference to making the same story into a piece of broadcast radio.”
[ Connor Walsh, @connorwalsh | Radio Producer & Curator ]
9. Sonic TALK – by Sonic State. Tech, gear and audio talk for electronic musicians and sound practitioners in general
10. SF MOMA Artcasts – artists, curators, musicians and visitors respond to exhibitions and artworks on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
[ Chewed Rock, @chewedrock | Artist ]
11. Grrrrrrrr Radio – podcasts showcasing a wide variety of archival sounds from London based artist Georgina Starr
[ Felicity Rose Barrow, @felicity_barrow | Artist ]
12. 99% invisible – a classic: the ‘tiny radio show’ about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world
13. Lost & Found Sound – eclectic mix of stories, woven together with lyrical sonic transitions, surprising audio artifacts and musings
14. Hackney Podcast – exactly what it says on the tin: exploring Hackney from all sonic angles.
15. The Moth – all about storytelling. Featuring performances from The Moth Mainstage, StorySLAMs and MothSHOP Community program
[ Tommy Wilson @tommywilson | Independent Radio Producer ]
16. Everything Sounds – exploring the role of sound in art, science, culture, and our everyday lives. Each program aims to highlight people, places, and ideas that expand our understanding of the power of sound.
[ Jeff Emtman @jeffemtman | Artist & Podcaster ]
17. Audiosmut – refreshingly open and fun audio explorations of sex & erotica from Montréal
18. Nova – primarily radio, but Bernard Clarke’s unmissable show is also available in archive form, showcasing the best in Irish and International experimental sounds
19. OK Radio / Nature Theatre of Oklahoma – a favourite of mine for background playing, especially at weekends. Conversations with left-field and unpredictable theatre makers and creatives. Always entertaining with the odd illuminating insight.
20. L’Atelier Du Son – (in French) from France Culture, gives voice to extraordinary sound creators and shares their world with the listeners in creative, sonically appealing ways. It will also help you practice your French: double win.
[ myself. ]
– Studio Akustische Kunst, WDR
“I am a bit lazy with listening to podcasts or radio…but there’s one programme I try to listen to as often as possible. It’s “Studio Akustische Kunst”, broadcasted by the WDR. Here’s the link (german only): http://www.wdr3.de/programm/sendungen/wdr3openstudioakustischekunst/ It’s very famous for its soundscape related programmes. Sadly, there are mostly no podcasts to listen to the previous shows. You have to listen to it “live”, when it’s broadcasted.”
[Florian Hartlieb @florianhartlieb | Composer]
– El Dorado Swedish radio (P2)
Although the show is now sadly defunct, there are still a couple of downloadable episodes available on their facebook page.
[Mikael Fernstrom @mikaelfer | Lecturer & Multimedia Artist]
These are just some of our favourite go-to choices…what are yours? Add your favourite podcast links to the comment section and expand our collective listening experience!