The sounds of science

We listened to three audio productions this week on ds106 radio and discussed them on Discord. Here is what we heard:

ESC: Sonic Adventure in the Anthropocene
Episode One: Three Skeleton Key

From Tree to Shining Tree

CBS Radio Mystery Theater, 1224, Toy Death

I selected the ESC episode because I like the way it employs sound design, and the way it talks about what it is doing with sound. I also like the way it uses one story, an old-time radio show, to discuss a larger story, man’s impact on the environment. It’s worth listening to to hear the possibilities of what can be done with story and sound.

The Radiolab episode From Tree to Shining Tree is also a master class in audio editing. And if it doesn’t fit in with our Bob Ross theme, I don’t know what does. Both of these shows take what could be dry scientific topics and make them interesting and compelling through storytelling and sound design.

I picked the third show because I wanted something more primitive, to show how much could be done with very simple sound effects:

The sound effects were pretty minimal but highly effective. Crickets, a creaking floor, footsteps, the slam of a door – all things one could easily find on Freesound, and things which require no particular expertise to use. This show used melodramatic music to great effect as well. This might be a little trickier to accomplish, but I would bet that if one searched for open source music, one could build a good soundtrack.
I also had never read any Algernon Blackwood and was in the mood for something creepy. Apparently there is more Blackwood audio so I may have to check it out.

We had many great observations each evening. One thing I noticed is that it is easy to get so caught up in what is being said that you miss how it is being said. It might be worthwhile to go back and listen a second time, or to re-listen to Moon Graffiti, and focus specifically on how sound is used.

We were joined by @billgx and the Kansas ds106 crew, and Joe Murphy and @DrGarcia of the ds106radio crew.

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