Sound Matters


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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.

Episode Date
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.
Jul 19, 2018
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.
Jun 22, 2018
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.
Apr 20, 2018
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.
Mar 19, 2018
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.
Dec 08, 2017
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.
Oct 20, 2017
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
Jun 30, 2017
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.
Jun 06, 2017
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
Apr 12, 2017
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.
Mar 17, 2017
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
Jan 27, 2017
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
Dec 22, 2016
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.
May 27, 2016
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.
May 06, 2016
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.
Apr 14, 2016
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.
Apr 01, 2016
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.
Mar 11, 2016
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.
Feb 11, 2016
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.
Jan 28, 2016
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.
Jan 08, 2016