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Sound Matters

English, Music, 1 season, 29 episodes, 12 hours, 22 minutes
Bang & Olufsen presents Sound Matters: a series of podcasts looking at – and listening to – all the sounds of the world around us. Forthcoming instalments will investigate all kinds of sounds that happen in our noisy cosmos, how we listen to them, 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 and supported by Bang & Olufsen.
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29 – The Sounds Inside Your Brain

“Making sense of sound is a biological triumph,” says Nina Kraus, professor at Northwestern University and a specialist in the biology of auditory learning. “What’s auditory learning?” you may well ask Nina. Well, you could boil it down to a simple question: how is it that we humans are able to make sense of sound and all the noise? This episode of Bang & Olufsen’s Sound Matters podcast goes for a deep sonic dive into evolution, music, language and the whirlpool of noise we are immersed in every moment of our days – all to find out just how we manage to separate signal from noise.
5/10/202023 minutes, 45 seconds
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28 – Sound Of The River

This is the story of a river. Not just any river, but a very special river. One that has been given the same legal status as a living, breathing human being. In this episode of Bang & Olufsen’s Sound Matters podcast we meet the documentary film and audio maker, Rikke Hout, and travel down the Whanganui River in New Zealand. The Whanganui is one of the longest rivers in the country, and in 2017 was given the same legal identity as a person due to its importance to the region’s indigenous Māori people. Sit back, immerse yourself in sound, and float downstream into nature come alive.
4/9/202020 minutes, 18 seconds
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25 – A Novel Sound

“It’s a description of the next record that I will never make,” so relates UK based composer, DJ and artist Matthew Herbert, telling us about his new book, The Music – now Herbert can add writer to his CV of creative activities. But, true to his eclectic back catalogue of work, his new work is not just any novel – it’s a novel of sounds: “It’s supposed to exist in other people’s heads… I like the idea of personal interpretation,” continues Herbert, whose work has crossed genres from electronic dance music to the avant garde, recording music as Dr Rockit, Radio Boy, Transformer, Wishmountain and other monikers. Now, if there’s one thing our intrepid host of all things audible (and beyond) Tim Hinman loves, it’s personal interpretation. For this edition of Bang & Olufsen’s Sound Matters podcast, we present a version of this novel in sound, with the assistance of tonmeister Mads Lundegaard and Herbert himself.
12/19/201920 minutes, 32 seconds
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27 – Bad Vibrations

Music. Oh, beautiful, uplifting, inspiring music. We all love music. Thing is, we all love different types of music, and generally can’t bear to listen to the music we don’t like. But can certain types of music be so bad that they can actually harm you? In this episode we take a deep dive into a world of often conflicting, sometimes highly unconventional ideas around so-called pathological music and meet Dr James Kennaway of Roehampton University, an expert in awful, nasty and sometimes painful music. (Have no fear, dear listener, none of what the podcast contains will hurt. It’s actually quite fun, we promise.)
12/19/201925 minutes, 57 seconds
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26 – Audio Forensics

True crime podcasts are almost a cliche nowadays. But in terms of niches, there’s still some cache in the sound of true crime, or more specifically in the field of forensic audio analysis. What’s forensic audio analysis, you may ask? It’s “the scientific way of analysing audio recordings that may be needed in a courtroom or in some kind of official inquiry,” explains Professor Rob Maher of Montana State University, an expert in the field. Put your headphones on and deep dive into the clicks, pops and other assorted suspicious sounds in this episode of Bang & Olufsen’s Sound Matters podcast, and do some “critical listening” yourself.
12/19/201922 minutes, 1 second
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24 – Paris, Potentially

Ah, Paris. Unmistakeable, beautiful Paris. Paris: a place so unique – so authentic, so essentially itself – that it is truly irreplaceable. The eighth and final instalment in our Sound of the Cities mini-series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – visits the French capital. There we meet two composers, Yann Coppier and François Bonnet, who both spend a lot of time thinking about sound and how it informs the nearly ungraspable sensations and feelings – the je ne sais quoi if you will – which makes a place seem real or not. But just how Parisian are the sounds of Paris, exactly?
12/10/201828 minutes, 59 seconds
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23 – L.A. Transcendental with David Lynch

In part seven of our Sound of the Cities mini-series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – Sound Matters podcast travels to the Hollywood Hills. Peacefully perched up above the sprawling noise emitter that is Los Angeles, we grab a damn fine cup of coffee and sit down with legendary artist, musician and film maker David Lynch to chat about the infinite dynamism of sound, creativity and meditation. Bang & Olufsen and David Lynch have collaborated on a special edition collection of speakers featuring Lynch’s artwork. Click here to find out more:
10/9/201825 minutes, 2 seconds
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22 – Tick Tock Tokyo

Us humans preserve our experiences in recordings. And when we revisit these texts, images and sounds, it can feel like a small form of time travel. In part six of our Sound of the Cities mini-series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – host Tim Hinman travels to Tokyo, digging up sound recordings made 20 years back, and meeting the artist and photographer Takashi Arai. Arai takes one long exposure daguerreotype photograph and sound recording every day in locations around the Japanese capital, preserving the day-to-day goings on across this bustling metropolis.
9/21/201824 minutes, 32 seconds
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21 – Resonating In Reykjavik

In part five of our Sound Of The Cities mini-series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – we’re moving away from the noisy sensory overload of megacities. We’re still visiting a capital city, it’s just that this one is a bit on the smaller side: Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, population 337,780 (give or take). In this episode, Sound Matters meets the musician Kira Kira aka Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, and artist Finnbogi Petursson, and discuss the subtle sonic and cultural resonances that emanate through their home city, and beyond.
8/30/201832 minutes, 6 seconds
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20 – Learning To Listen To London

For millennia our hearing has acted as our early warning system. It worked well out in the relative silence of nature: a bird calling out against a predator; the snap of a twig in a deep forest, and so on. But what about in our noisy cities? In a way, this primal sensitivity to noise can turn against us in our industrial, urban soundscapes and cause low level stress, confusion and exhaustion. Our host, Tim Hinman dips his head into the clamour of the Big Smoke, speaks with Cathy Fitzgerald, Colin Black, BJ Nilsen and others, and investigates how we can learn to listen to, and even embrace all this noise.
7/19/201828 minutes, 4 seconds
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19 – Decibels Of New Delhi

Can listening be a creative act? In the third instalment of our Sound Of The Cities series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – Sound Matters podcast immerses itself into the hubbub of the Indian capital, New Delhi. Host Tim Hinman meets the artist, musician, DJ, record label boss, festival organiser and born-and-bred Delhiite, Ish, and speaks about the Delhi art and music scene, and how the noise and hubbub of this ancient city works its way into contemporary culture, and right to the heart of how we listen.
6/22/201822 minutes, 26 seconds
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18 – Untitled Noises Of New York

In the second instalment of our Sound Of The Cities series – a sonic exploration of our urban environments and their cultural soundscapes – Sound Matters podcast jumps into the deepest of the deep ends of art and culture: New York. Host Tim Hinman is joined by podcaster and artist, Jeff Emtman, whose show, Here Be Monsters is an influential aural institution in its own right. Jeff takes us on an epic day-long sonic adventure through the Big Apple – along the way discovering a number of sonic surprises, not least a mysterious recording of influential composer, philosopher and famed man-about-New-York-town, John Cage.
4/20/201827 minutes, 3 seconds
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17 – Invisible Music Of Copenhagen

So many of us live in the hustle and bustle of cities – vibrant, lively but noisy and distracting soundscapes. How do we exist among this noise? How do we listen through it to the smaller sounds, the delicate and subtle sounds that bring us peace, joy, inspiration? Series three of Sound Matters kicks off an eight-part international journey – The Sound Of The Cities – starting at home in Copenhagen, Denmark. Host and writer Tim Hinman discovers the world’s (possibly) oldest home sound system in the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, and then artist Katinka Fogh Vindelev guides Tim through the echo-chamber-like Round Tower, surprising a swath of tourists when she sings a song for the building itself. We hope this podcast will forever change how you hear your world – please listen closely.
3/19/201823 minutes, 33 seconds
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16 – The Bass, The Colour, The Mystery Of Synesthesia

“Monday’s yellow, Tuesday’s brown, Wednesday’s blue, Thursday’s light brown… If you ask people where lemons are on a piano, they will all put their hands at the top of the keyboard…” That’s Nick Ryan, sound artist and composer – but what on Earth is he talking about? Well, sometimes people get all mixed up. Specifically, their senses are mixed. It’s called synesthesia – a perceptual phenomenon in us humans where we experience one sensory stimulation with or through a secondary sense – letters, numbers or sounds have specific colours to them, words have specific textures, and so on. One in 23 of us understand the world in this way, to varying degrees. In this ultimate episode of the second series of Sound Matters, our unflagging host Tim Hinman straps on his sensorial spelunking kit and goes looking (and listening) for the mystery of synesthesia. Happily, he also travels to Jamaica with Professor Julian Henriques of Goldsmiths College, University of London, and talks sound systems, feeling the bass, and the important difference between mere science and SCIAANCE. Come with us in this last episode of the second series of Sound Matters. Relax and set your senses free. Brought to you by Bang & Olufsen.
12/8/201729 minutes, 24 seconds
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15 – 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. Wax cylinder, vinyl, 8-track tape, CD, minidisc and more: 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 records, Sound Matters’ Tim Hinman cuts through a jungle of cables, spools of tape, and mountains of scratched CDs in search of the mythical perfect audio experience.
10/20/201731 minutes, 42 seconds
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14 – 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. @beoplay
6/30/201730 minutes, 23 seconds
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13 – Back To Nature (Recording)

“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 it makes.
6/6/201727 minutes, 33 seconds
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12 – New Tunes From Old Bones

Some sounds go back… way back. In this edition of Sound Matters, we travel to a time before music was music, when man-made sounds allowed us mere mortals to hear the voices of the gods – when the line between making music and making magic meant a whole lot more than just 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. @beoplay #beoplay #soundmatters
4/12/201734 minutes, 42 seconds
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11 - 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 seemingly infinite videos shot and posted online by us humans of animals singing. We love it. But Why? Join Tim Hinman as he jumps earsfirst 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.
3/17/201728 minutes, 44 seconds
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10 - 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? #beoplay #soundmatters
1/27/201733 minutes, 45 seconds
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09 – Songs 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. @beoplay #beoplay #soundmatters
12/22/201627 minutes, 54 seconds
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08 – The Good, The Bad And 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.
5/27/201619 minutes, 11 seconds
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07 - The 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 McCauly Library a project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University – the largest archive for biodiversity audio and video recordings in the world.
5/6/201624 minutes, 37 seconds
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06 - Snowflakes And Metal Hammers

What’s the sound of snow falling? The question 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 Ethiopia informs his own artistic practice.
4/14/201621 minutes, 20 seconds
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05 – New Ears And 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.
4/1/201622 minutes, 55 seconds
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04 – Brains, Cars And 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. In the past few years there have been massive advancements in mapping out the parts of your brain that are activated when when you hear. But the closer we look, 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, a professor of acoustics and perception, and gets the lowdown on what’s up with the brain and how (we think) it cognates sound.
3/11/201617 minutes, 51 seconds
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03 – 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.
2/11/201621 minutes, 55 seconds
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02 – Music, Memory And Auditory Angels

"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 who are ill, 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 our memories and dreams can be used by people whose fabric of identity has come under stress and need help to find their way back to themselves.
1/28/201619 minutes, 5 seconds
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01 – The Sound Of Life Itself

The first episode in a new series of podcasts looking at – and listening to – the sounds of the world around us. The forthcoming instalments will look at all aspects of our noisy cosmos and how we listen to it, the stories we tell about it, and all the ideas, inventions, discoveries, possibilities and ideas that live in the realm of the audible. Written and produced by Tim Hinman. Supported by B&O PLAY We kick off with the ambitiously titled episode "The Sound Of Life Itself" where we meet field recordist, sound ecologist and musician Bernie Krause.
1/8/201626 minutes, 42 seconds