Skip to main content

Listen

Listen

Ruthie Rogers

Ep. 85

Listen

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen

Ep. 84

Listen

Hank Willis Thomas

Ep. 83

Listen

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Ep. 82

Listen

Michael Bierut

Ep. 81

Listen

Eric Ripert

Ep. 80

Listen

Brad Cloepfil

Ep. 79

Listen

Annie-B Parson

Ep. 78

Listen

Saeed Jones

Ep. 77

Listen

Peter Saville

Ep. 76

Listen

Roxane Gay

Ep. 75

Listen

Jamie Nares

Ep. 74

Listen

Xiye Bastida

Ep. 73

Listen

Rachel Comey

Ep. 72

Listen

Céline Semaan

Ep. 71

Listen

Baratunde Thurston

Ep. 70

Listen

Jhumpa Lahiri

Ep. 69

Listen

Jancis Robinson

Ep. 68

Listen

David Broza

Ep. 67

Listen

Deborah Needleman

Ep. 66

Listen

Bethann Hardison

Ep. 65

Listen

Ruthie Rogers

Ep. 85

Listen

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen

Ep. 84

Listen

Hank Willis Thomas

Ep. 83

Listen

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Ep. 82

Listen

Michael Bierut

Ep. 81

Listen

Eric Ripert

Ep. 80

Listen

Brad Cloepfil

Ep. 79

Listen

Annie-B Parson

Ep. 78

Listen

Saeed Jones

Ep. 77

Listen

Peter Saville

Ep. 76

Listen

Roxane Gay

Ep. 75

Listen

Jamie Nares

Ep. 74

Listen

Xiye Bastida

Ep. 73

Listen

Rachel Comey

Ep. 72

Listen

Céline Semaan

Ep. 71

Listen

Baratunde Thurston

Ep. 70

Listen

Jhumpa Lahiri

Ep. 69

Listen

Jancis Robinson

Ep. 68

Listen

David Broza

Ep. 67

Listen

Deborah Needleman

Ep. 66

Listen

Bethann Hardison

Ep. 65

Playlists

Explore the full Playlists collection

An Yu. (Courtesy Grove Atlantic)

The Eerie, Dreamlike Piano Melodies Behind An Yu’s Latest Novel

Phantom Anthems

An Yu’s latest novel, Ghost Music (Grove Atlantic), tells the story of Song Yan, a former concert pianist whose domestic life starts to cave in when her husband refuses her pleas to have a child. Beginning with unsolicited parcels of mushrooms arriving at her door, Song Yan’s world devolves into the phantasmagorical as she is slowly led to the discovery of a long-vanished musician, the once world-famous pianist Bai Yu. Throughout the story, eerie, dream-like piano melodies guide the reader between the real and surreal, and between Song Yan’s conscious and subconscious.

Courtesy Yale University Press

A Sonic Journey Inspired by the Expansive Landscapes of the Nordic Region

Northern Sounds

Music put out by artists from the Nordic region—an emerging hotbed for progressive musicians such as the prolific singer-songwriter Björk and the post-rock powerhouse Sigur Rós—often stems from the region’s moody, expansive landscapes; severe season changes; and in their pursuit of stable democracies, individual freedom, and economic growth, historic political struggles.

Cover of the For the Birds project by the National Audubon Society

The Avian-Toned Tracks That Helped Spur a Birdsong Initiative

Avian Anthems

In the fall of 2020, when a conservationist and a film music supervisor both came to the conclusion that “the world needs more birdsong,” the community-driven “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project” took root. The collaborators in question? Executive producer Rebecca Reagan, whose work includes the regenerative soil advocacy initiative Kiss the Ground and the holistic agriculture organization Amazon Healing, and curator and producer Randall Poster, whose film scores include those of Carol, Skyfall, several Wes Anderson movies, and Boardwalk Empire, the latter of which earned him a Grammy Award. For The Birdsong Project, the two longtime friends bridged their wheelhouses and invited musicians and artists across disciplines to create musical or poetic pieces honoring the winged creatures. The endeavor resists ordinary definition, beckoning listeners to take in the simultaneously elemental and majestic nature of birdsong. In this 172 piece (and ever-growing) collection, the voices and artistic impulses of humans merge with those of birds.

Jermaine Stone. (Photo: Headmake Book)

For Jermaine Stone, Wine and Hip-Hop Make a Perfect Pair

Wines and Rhymes

Growing up in the Bronx, Jermaine Stone planned to become a rapper. His visions of hip-hop stardom weren’t far-fetched: By his late teens, he had caught the attention of luminaries including LL Cool J and Chris Lighty, appeared on the radio, and even had a stint with the New York rap group Sporty Thievz.

Cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” album

A Playlist That Conjures the Ferocity and Flair of Detroit

Motor City Music

How can we develop a deeper, more human and multifaceted understanding of the past? Economist Rob Johnson (who was the guest on Ep. 22 of our At a Distance podcast) knows all too well that studying data offers some answers—but that it doesn't represent the full picture. “Analysis of political economic dysfunction can help us understand the depth of the pain,” he says. “But it is only the arts that really penetrate our hearts with the essence and meaning of what the experiences entail, and what we can learn from them.” Johnson, who serves as the co-founder and president of the New York–based Institute for New Economic Thinking, an interdisciplinary collective of economists and thinkers who develop inventive methods to better serve communities around the world, firmly believes in the visceral power of art to color all that he does, whether activating global initiatives with some of the greatest economic scholars of our time or starting conversations via his podcast, Economics & Beyond, which draws on his extensive knowledge of everything from the climate crisis to the impact of music on public policy. The latter subject, and Johnson’s reverence of the arts more broadly, stems from his upbringing in early 1960s Detroit, where he was raised by a physician and jazz pianist father and a choral-singing mother who served as the development director for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. From an early age, he says, “I was exposed to the rawness of the city and the experiences of art, particularly music. The Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Art had a profound effect on me, too.” Johnson’s childhood also coincided with darker moments in the city’s history. “I experienced a haunted house of humanity,” he says. “A place that disintegrated into industrial decline and racial turmoil, including the 1967 riots, white flight to the suburbs, wicked discrimination, and the nation abandoning Detroit and blaming the victim in the aftermath of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act.” Witnessing how artists, particularly musicians based in and around the city, grappled with these realities through song has served as an enduring source of healing, hope, and inspiration for Johnson. These songs remind him that pain can be an impetus for action, and can be used for the better. We recently asked Johnson to put together a heartfelt playlist for us that represents what Detroit means to him. “Detroit has been the seedbed of creation for so many songs,” he says. “This list could have been over a hundred songs, and still large quantities of brilliant music would be left aside.” Below, he explains his personal relationship to each song. Listen to Johnson’s Detroit “In Our Hearts” playlist on Spotify.

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen

How Leonard Cohen Sought Out Spiritual Truth Through His Songs

Spiritual Songs

British author and journalist Harry Freedman first conceived of the idea for his new book, Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius (Bloombsbury), while driving along the A40 highway in the United Kingdom, where he lives. Suddenly, “Hallelujah,” a song written by Cohen for his 1984 album Various Positions that’s since become an often-covered secular hymn, came on the radio. “For some reason I listened more carefully than I usually do, and I realized that he was singing about the Bible story of King David committing adultery,” Freedman says. “I thought, This guy is singing about things you don’t normally hear.”

Long Players book by Tom Gatti

Fifty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives

Golden Records

What is it about that one stirring album that makes a home in us? Tom Gatti, deputy editor of the British political and cultural magazine The New Statesman, investigates the mystery of such beloved recordings in his new book Long Players: Writers on the Albums That Shaped Them (Bloomsbury). In it, he sets the stage by navigating the album’s material evolution, from the golden years of vinyl to the streaming age, then passes the mic to the book’s fifty contributors—novelists, poets, and critics among them—who describe their encounters with their favorite euphonic compilations via short-form personal essays. Readers learn how R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People” transports Olivia Laing to her first love, why Yes’s “Fragile” prompted George Saunders to forge his own creative path, and how Björk’s “Post” helped a young Marlon James resolve a crisis of sexuality and faith. Each composition blurs the line between memoir and music writing while demonstrating a song’s ability to carry a listener to another place and time.

David Bowie shooting a video for the song “Rebel Rebel” in 1974. (Photo: AVRO)

David Bowie’s Music as a Navigational Portal to Our Inner Worlds

Bowie Buoy

“David Bowie was the greatest artist in any medium from the 1970s onwards,” says philosopher Simon Critchley. His opinion is hardly unfounded: A Bowie fan since first glimpsing the artist on the British TV show Top of the Pops at age 12, Critchley, now in his 60s, often turns to him as a muse and a mirror. (Critchley makes music himself with his longtime collaborator, John Simmons.) In the midst of the pandemic this past January, five years after Bowie’s death, Critchely wrote a New York Times op-ed titled “What Would Bowie Do?,” searching for answers in the dystopian worlds of his songs.

Yoga teacher Eddie Stern during his punk years.

The Punk Music That Put Eddie Stern on a Spiritual Path

Punk Path

Before he began practicing and teaching Ashtanga yoga, New York native Eddie Stern searched for his identity in the city’s 1980s punk scene, playing in the scum-rock band Chop Shop. Wearing a theatrical mohawk, he frequented Manhattan’s clubs, including A7, CBGB, Danceteria, the Peppermint Lounge, and The World. “New York was dirty, dangerous, and on the edge of the insane music creativity of the late 1970s,” Stern says of the era. “Its songs filled me with a sense of freedom and possibility—and confirmed that I didn’t need to fit into the status quo in order to have fulfillment in my life.” (He describes his profound connection to music, and how it led him to yoga, on Ep. 43 of our Time Sensitive podcast. For even more, listen to him on Ep. 16 of At a Distance, as well.)

Peter Adjaye wearing headphones and a fedora, on a light blue background.

Peter Adjaye’s Emotive Soundscapes Immerse Listeners in the Past and Present

Pandemic Panoply

Creating immersive environments that tell stories using music is second nature to London-based sound artist Peter Adjaye. He’s used his skills as a DJ-producer, musicologist, and composer to collaborate on a wide range of interdisciplinary projects—including some with his architect brother, Sir David, such as their 2016 album Dialogues, which explores the connection between music and architecture.

Latest Articles

Remembering Daniel Brush and His Immaculate, Otherworldly Objects, Paintings, and Jewelry
The Eerie, Dreamlike Piano Melodies Behind An Yu’s Latest Novel
Anne Helen Petersen on Keeping Media All Around—But at Arm’s Length
Simon Critchley on the Sheer Delight of Questioning Everything
Five Trendsetters on Their Most Anticipated 2023 Travel Destinations
A Walking Tour of Greenwich Village With Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman
Eight Distinctive and Delightful Gifts for the 2022 Holiday Season
As Art Basel Turns 20, Miami Art Week Enters a New, Slightly Less Hyped-Up Dawn

Hello Fashion

Stylist Kate Young

The Codes and Modes of Gucci

Gucci Variety

Gucci. The luxury fashion house’s name alone conjures up images of vibrancy, extravagance, experimentation, and offbeat flair. Indeed, the brand is known for its ways of uprooting social norms and weaving together various time periods to create a captivating and instantly recognizable aesthetic. In stylist Kate Young’s words, Gucci is “a world you enter into.” On the latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, she investigates how this “world” came to be by illuminating the house’s central codes and probing the minds of its creators.

Stylist Kate Young

Dior’s Practically Unparalleled Design History

Decades of Dior

In the sphere of luxury fashion, Dior’s richness of history is practically unparalleled. As stylist Kate Young says, Dior dresses “make the images that really symbolize time and moments in fashion history that are so essential.” The brand’s evolution is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum’s “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition (through Feb. 20, 2022), where the latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, was filmed. In the episode, Young takes us through Dior’s aesthetic trajectory—one contoured by fluctuations in style, historical context, and creative leadership.

Stylist Kate Young walks viewers through the signature elements of the Burberry trench on her YouTube show, “Hello Fashion.”

The Perennial Power of the Burberry Trench

Timeless Trench

What does a trench coat represent? For stylist Kate Young, it’s a marker of sophistication, exploration, and evergreen style. “Whether you’re in fashion or you’re not in fashion, you know what this piece is,” Young says. On the latest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, Young introduces us to the piece’s original architect—the British luxury fashion house Burberry—and opens our eyes to its many intricacies.

Stylist Kate Young

Prada’s Genre-Bending Aesthetic Codes

Foundation Prada

Can clothing be at once opulent and utilitarian, traditional and unexpected, ugly and sublime? Can it be both a statement and a question? On the latest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, stylist Kate Young explains the ways in which the Italian luxury fashion house Prada embodies each of these ostensible paradoxes.

Stylist Kate Young details Louis Vuitton’s most brand-defining bags on her YouTube show, “Hello Fashion.”

How Louis Vuitton Evolved From Parisian Trunk-Maker to International Luxury Juggernaut

Timeless Travel

Luxury and utility don’t often go hand in hand. French fashion house Louis Vuitton, however, is a clear exception: As stylist Kate Young explains on the latest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, the house—though now one of the world’s most recognizable fashion brands—was originally “built by a luggage-maker who was innovative, who thought about things in a very practical way: how to travel with things, how to make bags lighter, how to make them more practical.” In the episode, Young walks us through the evolution of the house and its designs, which have consistently checked the boxes for both form and function.

Stylist Kate Young

Stylist Kate Young on Cartier’s Ever-Enduring Timepieces

Cartier Classics

As a stylist, Kate Young has a particular affinity for well-designed things—that is, iconic items that stand the test of time. To her, Cartier is a paragon of this idea. “I think what’s so amazing about Cartier is there’s a very clear aesthetic that runs through everything,” Young says. “You know what Cartier is. It’s sexy. It’s French. It’s sort of, always, for me, rooted in the seventies.” To kick off Season 2 of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created in collaboration with The Slowdown, the stylist walks through some of the famed French jewelry house’s most emblematic pieces.

Model Nina Dobrev and fashion stylist Kate Young

The Met Gala’s Most Memorable Moments, According to Stylist Kate Young

Met Fêtes

The first Monday in May is synonymous with the Met Gala, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute where garments take center stage. “It isn’t about promoting a movie or playing a character—it’s all about the clothes,” says stylist Kate Young, who first experienced the event by working at it as part of her job at Vogue. “Designers live for it.” This year, the affair hasn’t happened yet—it may happen this fall—but to mark the annual occasion, Young decided to revisit some of her favorite moments from past Met Galas for the eighth episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.

Stylist Kate Young in her New York studio.

Kate Young’s Tips for Becoming a Celebrity Stylist

Stylist Tips

“A question I get asked a lot is, ‘How do I get your job?’” says stylist Kate Young. “That answer is complex, because people come to this from all different walks of life.” To illustrate her point, she FaceTimes with friends in the industry to learn about their wide-ranging paths to the trade—and the experiences that helped them along the way—on the 10th episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.

Stylist Kate Young with dresses she selected for the Golden Globes.

How Stylist Kate Young Selects Gowns for the Golden Globes

Globes Robes

From a fashion perspective, the Golden Globes stands apart from other award shows for its timing: The event, during which the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honors film and television stars, typically takes place just after New Year’s Day. This makes procuring gowns a challenge, because designers haven’t shown new collections since the fall. “All the movies that are nominated have had premiers and press, they’ve been to film festivals—so there really aren’t that many dresses left at that point,” says stylist Kate Young in the ninth episode of Hello Fashion (created with The Slowdown), noting that she usually starts working on Globes outfits around Halloween. For the episode, Young describes her process of preparing her clients for the event, and shares some of her favorite gowns.

Stylist Kate Young with white suitcase

What Stylist Kate Young Packs in Her Fashion First-Aid Kit

Support System

Seasoned stylist Kate Young never arrives at any event unprepared. Whether it’s the red carpet, a shoot, or a press function, she always brings a strategically packed Rimowa suitcase (or, if sending a client to an event on her own, prepares one for her) that doubles as a fashion first-aid kit. On the seventh episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, Young shares some of the essentials she places inside every travel bag, along with insider tips and tricks.

Listen

Listen

Episode 157

Sarah Jaquette Ray on Navigating the Emotional Havoc of Climate Anxiety

Listen

Episode 156

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber on Applying the Intersectional Thinking of the Bauhaus to Today

Listen

Episode 155

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò on the Inextricable Links Between Colonialism and the Climate Crisis

Listen

Episode 154

Moshe Safdie on Architecture as a Means to Uplift the Spirit

Listen

Episode 153

Alec Nevala-Lee on the Enduring Legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller

Listen

Episode 152

Suzanne Lee on the Circular, Lower-Impact Potential of Biomaterials

Listen

Episode 151

Vasant Dhar on Why We Need Guardrails Around Internet Data

Listen

Episode 150

Karenna Gore on Applying Ethics to the Climate Conversation

Listen

Episode 149

Dr. Tara Stoinski on the Whole-Earth Impact of Gorilla Conservation

Listen

Episode 148

John Mack on Why Reality Cannot Actually Be “Augmented”

Listen

Episode 147

Elizabeth Adams on A.I. Ethics as a Guide to the Future

Listen

Episode 146

David Chalmers on the Glorious Possibilities of Virtual Worlds

Listen

Episode 145

Batja Mesquita on Finding Common Ground Through Emotional Understanding

Listen

Episode 144

Joseph Awuah-Darko on Growing Ghana’s Cultural and Creative Renaissance

Listen

Episode 143

Jane Poynter on Space Travel as a Pathway to Shifting Perspectives

Listen

Episode 142

Kyle Smitley on Building a Craft-Forward Approach to Education

Listen

Episode 141

Stephen Marche on Why the United States Should Be Concerned About a Civil War

Listen

Episode 140

Jens Martin Skibsted on Rethinking “Design Thinking”

Listen

Episode 139

Tony Fadell on How to Build Culture-Shifting Products

Listen

Episode 138

John Markoff on the Whole Earth Impact of Stewart Brand

Listen

Episode 137

Jeff Rosenthal on the Art of Building a Community

Theaster Gates’s New Exhibition Poetically Prods the Meaning of a Museum
At the ICA Philadelphia, Sissel Tolaas Presents Smell as a Poetic Provocation
Sara Auster’s Sound Baths Are a Tonic for Our Tumultuous Times
Sound Is at the Core of Musician-Turned-Ceramicist Kansai Noguchi’s Vases and Vessels
This New App Gives Readers a Place to Convene and Connect
Sight Unseen’s Jill Singer on Why She Doesn’t Actually Consume That Much Design Content
A Start-Up Is Monitoring Space Junk to Enable a More Sustainable Space Economy
A Microscopic Fungus From Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Spurring a New Culinary Movement

The Slowdown Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter. Suggestions for your senses, every Saturday at 7 a.m.