I was really pleased to welcome back Jez Riley French for this month’s guest lecture.
Jez is a field-recordist, sound artist and sonic experimenter and I invited him to talk to our L3 project students about his varied and interesting work. Jez specialises in recording hidden sonic worlds such as building structures, underwater environments and the micro perspective of the insect world.
We had great fun discussing and testing Jez’s (often self-made) kit such as hyrophones, geophones, contact and parabolic microphones.
Jez has two exciting projects coming up; a field-recording trip to Iceland with Chris Watson and a Tate Modern commission: audible silence: a headphone piece exploring the hidden sounds of the Tate modern building (february 2013). We’re also trying to arrange a field-recording trip around Lincoln for AP students – watch this space!
Earworms are those nagging songs you find yourself humming on the bus.
In this programme, music presenter Shaun Keaveny meets fellow sufferers and scientists to find out why songs get stuck in our head. He asks songwriter Guy Garvey from Elbow how to write a catchy tune and discovers the Holy Grail of musicians everywhere – the ‘earworm formula’.
For the past three years on his 6 Music breakfast show, Shaun has been asking listeners to send in their earworms. When psychologist Dr Lauren Stewart found out, she was fascinated by this strange mental phenomenon. Together they’ve compiled the largest study on earworms to date, with over 10,000 reports from people around the world.
Lauren and her team at Goldsmiths have found that some people are particularly susceptible to earworms. Plus they are starting to discover that certain songs are more ‘earwormy’ than others.
So is there a secret formula behind the world’s catchiest tunes?
Producer: Michelle Martin
Listen to the programme here
2 months after Iceland’s ash cloud grounded global air transport, leading sound recordist Chris Watson reveals the secrets of one of Iceland’s more literary but no less famous volcanoes.
A boyhood Jules Verne fan, Chris will retrace the steps of Professor and Axel Lidenbrock from Reykjavik to his favourite place in the world – Snaefellsjokull – the glacier that contains the passage to the Centre of the Earth in Verne’s 1864 seminal work of Science Fiction. Along the way he’ll encounter communities affected by the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull, talking to people who live within this geologically charged environment and meeting artists and musicians who have been inspired by their volcanic landscape.
Tying in with Verne’s theme of geographical exploration, to reach Snaefellsjokull – known to locals simply as Jules Verne’s Volcano – Chris will travel through one of Iceland’s most beautiful National Parks and will use his extraordinary recording techniques to reveal the natural sounds of this unique environment. The sounds of bubbling mud pools and sulphurous springs mirroring Jules Verne’s deep connection to the physical world.
Revealing interviews with leading figures from Iceland’s vibrant arts scene: including the keyboardist of Sigur Ros and best-selling Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason will combine with Chris’s recordings as he creates his own sonic adventure in the shadow of Jules Verne’s novel and Iceland’s volcanoes.
Producer: Rose de Larrabeiti
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
Listen here: Jules Verne’s Volcano