The 808 is probably the most iconic drum machine ever made. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve definitely heard it. It’s in dozens of hit songs -- from Usher to Marvin Gaye, Talking Heads to The Beastie Boys -- and its sounds have quietly cemented themselves in the cultural lexicon. In this episode, we try to understand how that happened and follow the unlikely path of the 808. Featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff and VP of Global Marketing for Roland, Paul McCabe.
Companies spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the look of their brands. But now what a brand sounds like matters just as much. We trace the history from songs to jingles to what's called sonic branding, following the creative process that led to AT&T’s iconic four-note sound logo. And we'll explore what comes next: multi-sensory marketing. Can sound change how beer tastes?
The last few decades have seen amazing improvements in cochlear implant technology. Professor Michael Dorman reveals what they really sound like, and how they can help out with more than just our hearing. But should we be advocating cochlear implants at all? We chat with deaf graphic designer Brandon Edquist about why he chooses not to use his implant, and why the deaf community is up in arms against them.
What we hear is incredibly personal and we all hear things differently. Sometimes our ears can even play tricks on us. Sonic illusions put a spotlight on the unique function of our hearing and how our backgrounds and biology affect how we process sound. Psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch and neuroscientist Dana Boebinger explain why our hearing is a unique sense and why sonic illusions can fool us.
Paula Fairfield is the sound designer behind the more fantastical elements in Game of Thrones. She’s given a voice to dragons, direwolves, white walkers, and more. But the story behind these voices goes much deeper than you might think. Hear how Paula’s personal journey played a part in creating some of the most iconic fantasy sounds of the day, and how Game of Thrones helped restore her spirit.
Over his long career, Gordon Hempton has mastered the art of truly listening. He’s known as the Sound Tracker. Some people call him an acoustic ecologist. His recordings and books have made him an international expert on the beauty and importance of undisturbed, natural soundscapes — and the ways human beings have changed them.
Now, Gordon Hempton is losing his hearing. But with that loss has come an intense urgency to share his life’s work — and his passion — with as many people as are willing to listen.