Before entering academia, Susan Rogers, director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory, worked as a producer and sound engineer with artists ranging from Prince to David Byrne. Here, the Ph.D. pro discusses the science of how musicians listen.
“Psychoacoustics is a branch on the tree of psychometrics, which measures our ability to encode differences in our sensory modalities. So, for example, to what extent can we recognize that two different flavors are different on our tongues, feel that two fabrics have different textures, or recognize that two loud noises make different types of sounds? Obviously, we can recognize that silk and denim are different, but is silk different from sateen? Psychoacoustics looks at the basic processing of sound, from the ear all the way up to the cortex of the brain.
This is a running theme in all the classes I teach: Musicians and non-musicians do not process music in the same way. Musicians are better able than the average population to more rapidly—and to a greater extent—perform psychoacoustic tasks, such as recognizing the difference between two sounds, responding to them and categorizing them. It’s also well-established that musical training in childhood turns people into a kind of auditory athlete.
Musicians don’t have better hearing any more than a painter has better vision than the average person to see things. But what the painter is able to see is the relationship among the various colors. I have a friend who’s a professional painter and sculptor, for example, and he can look at a dark green pigment and, just from experience, know how much black is in it, how much yellow is in it, and how much blue is in it. All I see, as a layman, is just dark green.
Musical training develops the auditory path in such a way that people who are trained musicians can recognize and articulate the subtle differences between different sounds. Folks who work with sound professionally have sensory modalities as well as brain circuits that are hyper-charged to perform these functions. These circuits, running from the auditory path of the inner ear all the way up to the brain, are fatter and thicker and a little bit more specialized and differentiated, such that they are able to process all kinds of sounds—not just musical sounds, but speech sounds and environmental sounds—more efficiently.
Is musical talent born or is it made? This question has been studied, and the general answer is, it’s pretty much made. There are differences among people. To be a great musician is like being a great scientist: It helps to be pretty bright, and to have a pretty high I.Q., the abilities to focus and practice, and a capacity for delayed gratification. For the most part, though, it’s the amount of practice that turns someone into a musician.”
Few musical genres capture the dizzying creative potential and sobering commercial realities of today’s moment quite likthe ever-bloating corpse of lo-fi beats playlists, or the number of times the word hyperpop entered a conversation in 2020), and federal disinterest in funding young musicians in any category beyond classical, o
On any visit to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a certain sense of abundance weighs. Works by Rothko, Calder, andRashid Johnson rest only a quick walk from rooms stuffed with the shadowy canvases of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, which spill into sun-sa lot to take in. And while trying to process this aesthetic overstimulation, one can be forgiven for looking past the many mImmaterial podcast. Hosted by writer and poet Camille T. Dungy, Immaterial takes up a different art material as the subject of itfirst episode alone, about paper, everything from comic books, to Gilded Age belly-dancing celebrities, to bespoke Valentine’s Day ca
For Brian Sweeny, the line between performance and religious experience is ambiguous to say the least. Starting in 2016,Ambient Church, he began renting churches for musicians to perform their interpretations of meditative, devotional, and minimal music,Body Actualized Center—a storefront he and his friends transformed, using found and Craigslist-sourced materials, into a yoga studio that morphed into a venue for events including raves,Along with the acoustic benefits and aesthetic backdrops that churches provide, what do they bring to the performances ySome music is really delicate, especially when performed indoors, and needs complete quiet to be enjoyed—no clinking of What draws you to ambient music? I tend to think of ambient as more of an adjective, describing a sound or approach to musical creation rather than a genre. I love all music, and fourth world.” Acts like Salamanda from Seoul, YAI from Brooklyn, and Carmen Villain from Oslo come to mind. You call these performances “community experiences,” and never “concerts.” What makes you draw this distinction? The concert is a cultural construct that Ambient Church certainly overlaps with, in that we feature amplified and unimagEric Epstein, who has been blowing audiences away with his visual artistry since the beginning of the project. How has your approach to Ambient Church shifted over time? The vision has changed mostly in terms of its inclusivity. In the early stages, the audience I was trying to attract was
A composer, saxophonist, and flutist on the cutting edge of jazz since the ’70s, Henry Threadgill became one of only three jazz musicians to have received a Pulitzer Prize in 2016, for the radical stylings of his mastZooid. Meanwhile, artist McArthur Binion, having honed his craft of painting and drawing deceptively complex, minimalist patterns over several decades, rocketedModern Ancient Brown Foundation in Detroit, where he earned his B.F.A. at Wayne State University (and later, earned his M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy oAir). “Back then, the city was very small, so everybody knew each other,” Binion says. “It was an amazing time.” Binion refat the same place [in our careers],” Binion says. To mark the occasion, he commissioned Threadgill to compose and conduct Brown Black X, which will be performed at the Detroit Orchestra Hall on June 24. The work will honor their abiding friendship as well as the Modern Ancient Brown Foundation and the elder Bfree, ticketed performance, Threadgill will bring together Zooid and several Detroit-based musicians to play his new score. Last week, Threadgill Ulysses, and the pace of the human heart have all been guiding influences in Threadgill’s previous compositions. This time, looking to Binion’s work for inspiration, Threadgill points to the wa“DNA” series, for example, in which paintings that appear from afar as simple, geometric patterns up close reveal themselves to be i
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 ofInstitute for New Economic Thinking, an interdisciplinary collective of economists and thinkers who develop inventive methods to better serve communities aEconomics & Beyond, which draws on his extensive knowledge of everything from the climate crisis to the impact of music on public policy. a heartfelt playlist for us that represents what Detroit means to him. “Detroit has been the seedbed of creation for so many songs,” he saysListen to Johnson’s Detroit “In Our Hearts” playlist on Spotify.
By its name alone, the podcast Crypto Island stands to entice just as many people as it’s likely to turn off. Don’t be fooled, though. The series isn’t some well-tr
A disembodied rubber tongue juts from a brass contraption upon a wall that links it with motors, tubes, and metal. ArtifWeird Sensation Feels Good: The World of A.S.M.R.” (through October 16), a new exhibition at London’s Design Museum.
Live music performances, with their visceral, multisensorial energy, can be a form of sonic regeneration and discovery. Hiya Live Sessions, a multicity program of concerts and club nights, draws on this reality by focusing on experimental works by female art
Virginia Heffernan is concerned. The seasoned journalist (who was the guest on Ep. 5 of our At a Distance podcast, in 2020) spent the better part of the last four years co-hosting Slate’s Trumpcast, a podcast dedicated to the Sisyphean task of preventing the normalization of the former president’s actions. During th
At the entrance of the Australian pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, earplugs are handed out to visitors as a safeguaDesastres” (April 23–November 27), an immersive experimental sound project by artist Marco Fusinato that synchronizes stark sound
“We created rock and roll. We created swing,” says Terence Higgins, the veteran drummer of Louisiana’s legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band, in the new documentaTake Me to the River: New Orleans. (Beginning April 22, it will play at select theaters around the country.) Directed by Martin Shore, it captures accomplished musicians—all from within a 100-mile radius of the city—as they rTake Me to the River, created using a similar concept and centered on artists from Memphis, Tennessee; this time, the focus is on the Big Ea
What does healing look like, and in what ways does the American carceral system obstruct it? How can we care for each otThe Transformations Suite, a 2016 project that combined music, theater, and poetry to examine the history of resistance within communities of theBlack Spring, a 2020 collection of songs that took inspiration from ’60s protest music to address the current cultural and political
In his 1967 poem “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” the late author Richard Brautigan, a mascot of ’60s cou
“Quotations are signposts, a part of my sentimental education, part of the way I breathe in the world,” says Paul HoldenQuotomania, a project from Onassis Los Angeles (OLA)—at which Holdengräber serves as founding executive director—and the nonprofit radio station Dublab, Holdengräber
The English electronic musician and producer Jon Hopkins is widely known for his thumping dance music. His star began riSingularity in 2018. But on Hopkins’s sixth studio effort, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, released this past November, he changes direction. “It’s something very far away from a cosmic party or a set of festi
Throughout the 20th century, sculpture-making bubbled with experimentation, as practitioners explored various mediums, t
Poet, author, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib is a seasoned conductor of language. His writing—a blend of autobiography, social history, and pop-culture commentary—oObject of Sound, which unpacks how popular songs shape society; and runs the website 68to05, where he publishes essays and playlists of favorite albums recorded between 1968 and 2005. His 2019 book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest explores the 30-year history of the hip-hop group and how its jazz-infused sounds and socially conscious lyrics influenA Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance (Random House), out next month in paperback, collects Abdurraqib’s thoughts on pivotal moments in pop culture—including
“Man-made artifacts could always be imitated by men,” philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote in his 1935 essay “The Work of A
In the womb, it is calm, quiet, and comfortable. We float about for our first nine months largely unbothered, with noiseSlowave, a New York–based ambient-music project that seeks to recreate the sonic landscape of our earliest days.
Oceans are among the most sound-rich environments on the planet—but because the water’s surface keeps most noises from pEp. 127 of our At a Distance podcast.)
Human-rights activist and Pakistan native Saadia Khan had been living in the United States for more than a decade when t
From 1996 to 2018, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı worked her way up the ranks of her family’s business, Turkey’s Hürriyet newspaper publishing group, one of the largest media companies in the country. During that time, she helped lead the fi
Last year, when the pandemic put much of Sydney, Australia–based coder and user-experience designer Adrian Ciaschetti’s
In 1938, Italian architect Franco Albini received a traditional wood-encased radio as a wedding gift—and proceeded to taRadio in Cristallo, was unveiled two years later at Wohnbedarf’s modern furniture competition in Zurich, but was never put into production
Brian Eno, the British musician and ambient-music pioneer, spends a lot of time thinking about how he can impact the wor
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 sonVarious Positions that’s since become an often-covered secular hymn, came on the radio. “For some reason I listened more carefully than I
Artist Trevor Paglen has a talent for visualizing the invisible. He has photographed top-secret drones and bases used byEp. 49 of our Time Sensitive podcast.) Each piece encourages viewers to ponder the unseen, often disturbing realities that quietly shape our everyday lives.
When Washington, D.C.–based electronic musician and sound engineer Yoko Sen fell ill and was hospitalized for multiple d
In 1977, NASA launched two Voyager spacecraft into the sky with the initial goal of exploring the outer solar system. On
Kevin Beasley’s First Live Outdoor Performance Examines the Everyday Cacophony of a New York City Intersection
Kevin Beasley’s performances often push sound to the extreme. To witness one is to experience sonic vibrations as a viscnot hearing something, it’s because the matter that it’s moving through isn’t carrying it, and it gets dispersed,” he says Ep. 47 of Time Sensitive podcast. “And that shift—whatever that thing is, that’s either limiting it or amplifying that sound—there’s a major consequence
What is it about that one stirring album that makes a home in us? Tom Gatti, deputy editor of the British political and 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
“David Bowie was the greatest artist in any medium from the 1970s onwards,” says philosopher Simon Critchley. His opinioTop 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’sNew York Times op-ed titled “What Would Bowie Do?,” searching for answers in the dystopian worlds of his songs.
The arrival of autumn prompts many of us to layer up, and Japanese experimental musician Asuna follows suit—though with 100 Keyboards (September 30–October 2), an immersive audio presentation generated by overlapping tones, at the Brooklyn Academy of Mu
On the whole, a cover song rarely captures the sonic greatness of the original tune—but sometimes, such reinterpretationAmerikinda: 20 Years of Dualtone. It features Dualtone artists and alumni, who represent a who’s who of American heritage musicians, all covering one an
Podcasts are a powerful resource for those interested in learning about the singular, unimaginable tragedy of September Ep. 118 of our At a Distance podcast, out today, which features architect Daniel Libeskind, whose studio designed the original master plan of the new World
The façades of London’s historic buildings are often covered in decorative motifs. Among the most abundant is the cornuccornu copiae (“horn of plenty”), serves as a fitting emblem for “Sonic Bloom,” an outdoor installation by Japanese artist Yuri Suzuki that opened last week in Mayfair’s Brown Hart Gardens, near th
Hearing impairment can affect people at any age, especially musicians and fans who are regularly exposed to high-volume Crystal Guardian, aims to prevent.
“Kendrick Lamar is my favorite rapper of the modern era,” says veteran pop-culture critic and fiction writer Miles MarshDAMN., Lewis began talking about the songwriter and record producer with his agents and editor, and eventually set about unpaPromise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar (St. Martin’s Press), out next month, eloquently considers and contextualizes Lamar’s work, life, and lyrics through the
For Cathy and Peter Halstead, the co-founders of Montana’s sprawling Tippet Rise Art Center—the kind of awe-inspiring en
The greater our technological advances, the smaller our devices—or so it seems, at least, in the case of speakers. In thLumisonic, a wireless ceiling-mounted apparatus that combines superior audio with a dimmable LED light source for a singular atmo
The Ironic speaker, produced by the Brooklyn studio Oswalds Mill Audio (OMA), looks more like an abstract sculpture than a potent delivere
Spend a few hours with the Sounds of the Forest open-source library of woodland-area recordings, and you’ll be sure to see the forest for the trees. From the Alps to tEp. 114 of our At a Distance podcast), and one of our most spiritually beloved. Be they tropical or temperate, these dense ecosystems function as the world’
Before he began practicing and teaching Ashtanga yoga, New York native Eddie Stern searched for his identity in the city Ep. 43 of our Time Sensitive podcast. For even more, listen to him on Ep. 16 of At a Distance, as well.)
Amid last year’s travel restrictions and global lockdowns, Erkam Şeker, a Turkish graduate student studying in Munich, mDrive & Listen, a website that allows visitors to do exactly that. Enter the site, and high-resolution video footage (obtained from Yo
Artisans at the Tokyo-based homeware company Sugahara have been handcrafting gracefully curvy, minimal objects from glas
Brooklyn-based model, artist, and activist Chella Man received his first hearing aids when he was 4 years old. Eight yeajewelry collection that Man released earlier this year in collaboration with the New York fashion label Private Policy. Together with desishort film that featured himself, alongside model Rayly Aquino and dancer Raven Sutton (who are both also deaf), wearing the jewel
In West Africa, legendary tales have been passed down for centuries by griots, storytellers who are also poets, historians, genealogists, and musicians. A deeply respected speaker, the griot is tasked with memorizing and retelling—sometimes with the addition of new details that relate to the lives of a modern
British musician Jack Stafford likens his Podsongs podcast to the end credits of a movie, when the title song plays and keeps audiences in their seats, embodying the spirplaylist. “When I listen to other podcasts now, and there’s no song at the end, there’s this huge letdown,” Stafford says. “This
Wizened cork oak trees carpet the gently swelling highlands of Portugal’s Alentejo region, where Cédric Etienne, co-founStudio Corkinho, is transforming a cork farm into an alternative healing retreat that will open in 2024 under the Slow hospitality bann
Over the past decade, German D.J. and producer Christian Löffler has enjoyed a growing audience for his distinct blend o
Morning prayer. Children playing. Cooking dinner. Singing a lullaby. The quotidian sounds that form our everyday experiemahallas—tight-knit, multi-generational living quarters that feature shared amenities including kitchens and gardens—that are beMahalla: Urban Rural Living,” the pavilion of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, open today through November 21.
Late last year, park benches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens—each with a clear view looking west—were stamped with smThe End of the Day, a meditative public audio experience created by artist April Soetarman. Her voice gently guides listeners through a 10
Every music fan knows the roster of iconic artists who died young, particularly those who passed around age 27, and gain
The fallout from the climate crisis gives us plenty to fear: habitat destruction, extreme weather, and—in case you slept through the last year—global pandemics. But clinical psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon, foundeEp. 51 of our At a Distance podcast), believes that fear and other intense emotions are some of our best tools for pursuing meaningful climate action. “PasClimate Emotions Conversations, a digital forum for people to express their emotions out loud.
Early American colonists mistook cicadas, compact insects with dark exoskeletons, glistening red eyes, and big wings, fo
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 Dialogues, which explores the connection between music and architecture.
Numero Group is that rare music label with levels of passion, curiosity, and risk-taking equivalent to the artists it represents. Fr
Last week, the emerging Los Angeles folk duo Junaco released its latest single, “Weight of the World,” which they wrote after listening to Ep. 20 of our Time Sensitive podcast featuring fashion designer Jesse Kamm. (Pakistani singer Shahana Jaffer, who started the band three years ago with drumBlue Room, in June.
In colloquial Levantine Arabic, عفكرة roughly translates to “on second thought” or “come to think of it.” Pronounced afikra, the term is a fitting name for the grassroots movement social entrepreneur Mikey Muhanna founded in 2014, dedicated to cultivating curiosity about Arab history and culture. U
“Studies have shown that listening to the sound of beavers enthusiastically munching on white cabbage can temporarily retweeted last fall. (The account is maintained by the family of the late children’s book author, who wrote the story that inspired the criBabe). The post, accompanied by a video of a rodent enjoying a cabbage buffet, went viral and was clearly untrue—but nodded
The sounds of Legos poured out of a toybox, dropping to the floor, and clicking together are recognized all over the wor“White Noise” playlist. Made using only the sounds of Lego bricks and pieces, “White Noise” is a score of seven tracks made to produce calming
More than two decades in the making, the National Museum of African American Music opened last month in Nashville, Tennessee, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Through its seven galleries and the some 1,50
Dominated by companies such as Sony, Sennheiser, and Bose, which leverage technology to make ever-smaller components, thestimated $28.5 billion by the end of this year. On the flip side, there are proudly D.I.Y. audio designers like Devon Turnbull, who with his brand Ojas creates high-end sound systems from his basement and a studio near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. By hand-building speakers th
It’s been a tough year for musicians and DJs, as the pandemic continues to make traditional revenue streams for performiYoung Turks (which counts FKA twigs, Sampha, and The xx among the musicians on its roster), the absence of in-person performances ia playlist of uplifting songs for us that have “amplified the best parts of my year,” he says, “and distracted me from some of the worst.” There’s so
Sound designer Perry Brandston grew up plugging away in New York institutions such as CBGB and Fillmore East in the 1970Oda, a speaker system that was originally designed in 2016 as a means for the American musician Phil Elverum to broadcast l
Nestled in northwest Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park comprises 1,583 square miles of scenic wilderness—
When Teenage Engineering released its OP-1 portable synthesizer, in 2011, the device received glowing reviews from an arOB-4, a Bluetooth speaker system that it’s billing as a “magic radio.” The term isn’t too far off: The mobile, four-speaker
“We love radio, but it’s become so dependent on information and story,” says Chris Hoff, who, with Sam Harnett, producesThe World According to Sound, a podcast comprising minutes-long episodes that tell tales with sounds in lieu of language. “There’s not a lot of spac
In 2014, Nick Quah launched Hot Pod, a newsletter focused on the art of podcasting. Today, the Malaysia native also serves as a podcast critic for New York magazine’s culture and entertainment website, Vulture, and hosts Servant of Pod with Nick Quah, a podcast on the craft and culture of podcasting. We recently phoned Quah at his home in Idaho for an off-the-cuff con Podcasts can adapt to a wide array of topics. Is flexibility their greatest asset?
The middle of a pandemic may seem like an odd time to launch a podcast about road trips—but maybe it’s ideal, as unexpecGreetings from Somewhere, a show about how travel affects us; how we affect the places we visit; and, to date, how the pandemic changed everythi
Malcolm James, a senior lecturer in media and cultural studies at England’s University of Sussex, examines the relationsSonic Intimacy: Reggae Sound Systems, Jungle Pirate Radio, and Grime YouTube Music Videos (Bloomsbury). It’s a thoughtful, scrupulous study, demonstrating how technology, politics, and perception have influenc
Music is art, according to Los Angeles–based musician and sound engineer Dan Alexander, who, since 1967, has bought and Dan Alexander Audio: A Vintage Odyssey (Rowman & Littlefield), a lyrical, emotive study of classic audio equipment. The 440-page tome comes with all the geeke
Elliott H. Powell Traces the History of Black Musicians Engaging with South Asian Culture and Sounds
By analyzing examples from the 1960s to today, Elliott H. Powell, a scholar of race, sexuality, and pop music, traces thSounds from the Other Side: Afro-South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music (University of Minnesota Press). “In the end,” Powell says, “the book is about illustrating what the political stakes a
Don’t be fooled by the no-frills appearance of this device—it’s actually something of a shape-shifter. Created by the ItCity Radio (available in the U.S. through Uncommon Goods) lets users pick from 18 international radio libraries with a few flicks of the finger: Simply download the gadget’s ap
Keith Abrahamsson is the founder of the independent record label Mexican Summer, which operates out of New York and London and counts the likes of Cate Le Bon, Ariel Pink, and Photay among the artistEp. 3 of our Time Sensitive podcast.) Launched in 2008, his venture has grown to include a reissue label, Anthology, and a book publishing arm, Anthology Editions. In an effort to soothe anxious, isolated souls, Abrahamsson put together a playlist of transporting tunes for us. “It’s culled from material both in and outside my orbit—songs I work with directly or have connected to as a co “Love Is A Jungle,” Peter Ivers “For Lise,” Matchess “Rectifiya,” keiyaA “Stay Sane,” Pink Siifu “Charlotte's Thong,” Connan Mockasin “Infinitamente Nu,” Sessa “Min
An international pandemic may seem like an unusual time to kick-start a podcast called The Art of Travel. But for Olivia Lopez, a Filipina fashion blogger whose pre-Covid life entailed constant globetrotting, being stuck at the first episode of the podcast, which she launched over the summer. Through the project, Lopez hopes to provide a “temporary escape for listeners, whiYOLO magazine founder Yolanda Edwards, who talks about an unforgettable trip to Greece; Life House Hotels founder Rami Zeidan, who discusses how to make travel more meaningful; and perfumer Frédéric Malle, who explains how to travel via the senses. The conversations have been a balm for Lopez, who, like all of us, has been missing the excitement of everyday life. “
Music fans missing a regular calendar of gigs will find a lifeline in Iris Flow, headphones made to mimic the sound qualIris, which is backed by Queen drummer Roger Taylor, the device features a patented algorithm that restores complex spatial
In 2015, German-born British composer Max Richter wrote an epic eight-and-a-half-hour-long musical cycle titled “Sleep,” with the intention of it being the soundtrack to one night’s snooze. It consists of 31 tracks that each last about halfRichter said ahead of the piece’s U.S. premiere. “It’s a political work in that sense. It’s a call to arms to stop what we’re doing.” Recently, with the help of the Bean app of the same name. Divided into three sessions—Sleep, Meditate, and Focus—users can set timers for the music to play according to a chose
In the early 1970s, the nonprofit educational program Creative Music Studio (CMS) opened in Woodstock, New York, with an unconventional aim: invite artists—regardless of their musical ability, soTime Sensitive podcast.) Martin recently unveiled Creative Music Workshop, an online platform that builds on CMS’s legacy with free masterclasses and an ever-growing library of archival footageMedeski Martin & Wood (MMW), of which Martin is the drummer, called “Inside the Minds, Outside the Lines.” “Our general philosophy is to continuously reinvent ourselves,” Martin says of MMW, which plans to detail strategies fo
The Black Music History Library is here to bless—and educate—your ears. Launched this past August by New York–based music journalist Jenzia Burgos, thean episode of the Heat Rocks podcast as well as a list of preeminent musicologists, historians, and scholars. To those open to pure exploration and discovery, Burgos offers a roll-the-dice folder that randomizes selections from
Reporting on the climate crisis is a balancing act, where journalists must convey a sense of urgency without provoking dHot Take and How to Save a Planet, forgo the subject’s usual doom-and-gloom approach in favor of storytelling, where emotion and calls to action engage l
An activist, M.C., artist, and the first-ever hip-hop ambassador to the U.S. State Department, Toni Blackman—who runs hip-hop meditation workshops—describes her passion-driven role as being “more of a mindfulness educator, and lea playlist of her favorite tracks that help center her. “I was totally unaware of how much music was inside of my head and heart. Some of these songs I play on repeat every oEp. 55 of At a Distance earlier this year. “In between tears and mourning and political frustrations, I am enjoying my journey!”
The sheer volume of awful things that have happened in recent months makes a person wonder if we’ll ever get it right. FRadical Imagination podcast, now is the perfect moment to discuss deep-seated issues such as reparations, extreme poverty, and police miscoEp. 67 of our At a Distance podcast. So far, she’s interviewed Stockton, California, mayor Michael Tubbs about his guaranteed income initiative, as well as
The pandemic and ongoing global shifts have caused us all to slow down—and not just here at The Slowdown. Our friends atTokyo Slow Mixtapes: guest-curated collections of songs on Spotify to soothe you through these high-stress, anxiety-inducing times. ContribEp. 19 and Ep. 36, respectively, of our At a Distance podcast), along with Le Sirenuse hotel co-owners Antonio and Carla Sersale, with neOur own co-founder Spencer Bailey’s mixtape, for which he turned to the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto for inspiration, includes tracks by the likes
The anticipation of hearing and chasing down an ice cream truck is a nostalgic American pastime, bringing joy to kids onColumbia Records even released a recorded version of the song, written by actor Harry C. Browne, titled, “N*gger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!,” a disturbing slice of American histoTikTok-er Vanessa Blackwell resurfaced earlier this summer in a viral post. Offering a sorely needed replacement, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA recently partnered with the ice cream maker Good Humor to crRZA said in a video announcing the project. “I assure you that this one is made with love.” Good Humor released the track for free, urging all ice-cream truck dri
Museums have begun to reopen in New York City—with appropriate precaution—and after months of prolonged closures and dig“Rashid Johnson: Stage,” an installation opening next week at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, and offering a participatory platform for diEp. 25 of our Time Sensitive podcast. At once referencing hip-hop culture, public oratory, protest, and public intellectual and cultural life, “Stage” will
The summer of Covid may be coming to an end, but our hearts, ears, and minds are hardly retreating indoors. We’re listenFor the Wild, a weekly podcast and “anthology of the Anthropocene” that’s keeping us curious and engaged about our place in nature. Feasting Wild author Gina Rae La Cerva (who also joined us on Ep. 39 of At a Distance) on the “quiet and hidden” stories of foraged foods; The Nap Ministry founder Tricia Hersey on rest as an act of social resistance; and Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, an enrolled member of the CiCenter for Native Peoples and the Environment, on what we can learn about earth healing from indigenous cultures. Many episodes come with a call to action to up your
Working from home, at least for those who are fortunate enough to do so, isn’t all bad. Trading workwear for loungewear,The Kids, a creative agency based in Zurich, are not all right with this. The firm’s interactive online project I Miss the Office serves as a cheeky reminder of pre-Covid-19 life that simulates the mundane soundscape of an everyday workplace—the sma
At first listen, the Get Sleepy podcast’s format is surprisingly basic: Cue the lulling intonations of a British narrator, who slowly reads an intentioSlumber, launched in 2018). Get Sleepy’s ASMR-meets-bedtime stories appeal is apt for these high-anxiety existential times that
Zoom fatigue—which is to say, screen fatigue—is all too real in these extremely online and indoor times, making old-school telephone calls a welcome, intimate reprieve. While we eagerly await museum reopenings, we’re gettin
The Swiss Army knife of gadgets, smartphones make for very good alarm clocks. They’re comforting to sleep with, keeping harder to sleep, impairs vision, suppresses melatonin, and throws the body’s circadian rhythm completely out of whack. (The National Sleep Foundation recommends ending the use of electronic devices at least thirty minutes before bed.)
A love of theater and drama drives the work of architect and designer David Rockwell, who grew up in a theater-going famRockwell Group, has designed numerous hospitality, entertainment, and cultural spaces—from Nobu to NeueHouse to The Shed—plus dozens oKinky Boots and Hairspray. While theaters are officially closed for the rest of the year, here Rockwell brings the spirit of the stage home to us with a playlist of some of his favorite musical numbers. (For more from Rockwell, listen to Spencer interview him on Ep. 1 of The Workspace of Tomorrow podcast.)