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What Did 2016 Sound Like?

It’s the end of 2016, so we’ll do the thing one tends to do around this time of year: look back. In this episode, a few bits of audio revelry from the End of 2014 episode return, you can get some insight into what kinds of things I was trying to make for Reasonably Sound when Reasonably Sound wasn’t allowed to make anything, and I share some stories about a few musicians, performers and composers that died this year.
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Double extra super THANKS to all of Reasonably Sound’s Patrons, who help keep the show afloat. Special shoutout to Allie Cunningham, Andy McMillan, Anthony Kirkpatrick, Brandon, Camilla Greer, Chelsea Whyte, Coral Kennelty-Cohen, Dale Jakes, Elliott, Ethan Hermer, Hans Beutow, Liz M, Ildaris, Jesse Gamble, Joachim, Joe Krushinsky, John Cifuentes, Jonny C, Kings Ransom, Kyle Adkins, Mahlen Morris, Rachaul Paul, Royce Rackham, Scott, Susan Rugnetta, Talia F E, Tim, Tod Kurt and Xander C
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Reasonably Sound’s music is by Will Stratton.
Its visual design is by Tida Tep.
Special thanks to John Hill for suggesting I keep it up with the End of the Year Specials
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SOURCES

For Whom the Whistle Blows

This episode contains offensive language.

In this episode of Reasonably Sound we talk about how it is that through repetition, seemingly innocuous sounds come to be laden with meaning and can even guide the behavior of subjects exposed to them.

First, we spend a little time on how dogs are trained and the difference between classical and operant conditioning: a little bit of Pavlov, and a little bit of B.F. Skinner (an unwitting participant in the design of addictive games and social media, by a certain view).

After talking for a bit about dog whistles of the ultrasonic kind–the ones you can’t hear, but fido can–we spend the second half of the episode talking about dog whistles of the political kind. We talk about why certain kinds of political messages, ones dealing largely in hatefulness, are named after a piece of silent pup training paraphernalia, and how they can work to guide the behavior of people who have the ability hear them.

Double extra super THANKS to all of Reasonably Sound’s Patrons, who help keep the show afloat. Special shoutout to Allie, Andy McMillan, Autumn, Brandon, Camilla Greer, Chelsea Herrington, Coral Kennelty-Cohen, Dale Jakes, Elliott, Hans Buetow, Ildaris, Jesse Gamble, Joachim, Joe Krushinsky, John Cifuentes, Kyle Adkins, Liz M, Scott, Susan Rugnetta, Talia F E, Tim, Tod Kurt, Xander C

Reasonably Sound’s music is by Will Stratton
Its visual design is by Tida Tep.

SOURCES

On Dog Whistle Racism, Generally:

Quoted

General

Rumination 01: Slerd Speesh

Cover image by keiichiro shikano on flickr

A quick rumination on why people slur their speech when they’re drunk, and a little thinking on what it means to slur, and its place in popular culture.

Music by Will Stratton
Visual Branding by Tida Tep
Support RS at patreon.com/reasonablysound


SOURCES

ON CLUMSINESS

Light Dinner Conversation

Cover Image from GadoImages.

This week, it’s the sounds that surround holiday gatherings and rituals. Mike tackles several sonic phenomena and how they will function during your Turkey Day soiree. And how you can use their existence as fodder for conversations with your Uncle Alvin when you run out of weather to discuss.

You’ll learn about the acoustic arms race that is the Lombard Effect. How the TV people record the sparkling sounds of football. And what being cooperative has to do with our ability to have conversations at all.

Plus, Mike tries to pronounce weird technical terms.

From the whole Reasonably Sound team: Happy Thanksgiving!

MUSIC

  • Family is Family by Kacey Musgraves from Pageant Material
  • Family Day Red Room by Microkingdom from Spectacular Edges
  • Football Fight by Queen from the Flash Gordon Soundtrack

SOURCES

  • “Drivers to Pay Lowest Thanksgiving Gas Prices Since 2008” at AAA.com
  • “Turkey and Travel” on Nationwide.com
  • “Turkey Day Travel Statistics” on ProTrav.com
  • “Storytelling in Sports: How Mic’ing up Football Players Brings a Human Element to Sports Broadcasts” on Storybench.org

And a special thanks to these Reasonably Sound Patrons: Brandon Bennes, Hans Buetow, Xander C, Talia F E, Camilla Greer, Parker Higgins, Anthony Kirkpatrick, Joe Krushinsky, Tod Kurt, Ethan Rose, and Susan Rugnetta.

I Nonlinear Vocalization. You Nonlinear Vocalization

Cover image by Mario on flickr

THIS WEEK IT’S ALL ABOUT SCREAMS (AAAAA!!!!) Horror and fear screams. It’s not just talking with some extra juice. There is much, much more at work. Physically and psychologically, a scream is a unique thing in human sound production.

Mike explores the what and how, and that they aren’t like shouts or yells. Plus a deep dive into what they mean. And how they function in film. Especially as delivered by women.

MUSIC

-Scream by 2NE1 from Crush
-Physical by Olivia Newton John, Covered by Ten Masked Men from ‘Revenge Of The -Ten Masked Men’
-The Breaking of the Scream by Jose Halac from Sonic Circuits VII
-Murderer by Low from Drums & Guns

SOURCES

The Hard Work of Screaming: Physical Exertion and Affective Labor Among Mexico City’s Punk Vocalists
Author(s): Kelley Tatro
Source: Ethnomusicology, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 431-453

‘The scream’: Meanings and excesses in early childhood settings
Rachel Rosen
Childhood 2015, Vol. 22(1) 39–52

Phenomenology of the Scream
Author(s): Peter Schwenger
Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Winter 2014), pp. 382-395

Nonlinear analysis of irregular animal vocalizations
Isao Tokudaa, et al
J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 111, No. 6, June 2002

Human Screams Occupy a Privileged Niche in the Communication Soundscape
Luc H. Arnal, Adeen Flinker, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Anne-Lise Giraud, David Poeppel
Current Biology 25, 2051–2056

Do film soundtracks contain nonlinear analogues to influence emotion?
Daniel T. Blumstein1,*, Richard Davitian1 and Peter D. Kaye2
Biol. Lett. (2010) 6, 751–754

The Voice in Cinema by Michel Chion, 2009

And a special thanks to these Reasonably Sound Patrons: Brandon Bennes, Hans Buetow, Xander C, Talia F E, Camilla Greer, Parker Higgins, Anthony Kirkpatrick, Joe Krushinsky, Tod Kurt, Ethan Rose, and Susan Rugnetta.

Bits and Chips

Cover image by ChrisGampat on flickr

It’s all about nostalgia and limitation as Mike chips away (ahhh?!?!?) at the world of chiptunes music. If you played video games years and years ago, you’ll hear a set of sounds that will be completely familiar, even when used in unfamiliar compositional genres. Mike explores the anatomy of chiptunes sounds and composition, and looks into chiptunes’ relationship to hacking and the counterculture.

PLUS: lots of clips of music from the video games of bygone times. And Mike pronouncing more European names. And the line “making bonk-bonk noises.”

MUSIC

Intro and Outro – Square and Enjoy by Goto80
Break #1: Can’t Stop Us by Chipzel
Break #2: Chango Island by Kupa
Break #3: mushroom giggles by minusbaby

SOURCES

  • Endless Loop: A Brief History of Chiptunes by Kevin Driscoll and Joshua Diaz
  • Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design  by Karen Collins
  • Playing with Sound by Karen Collins
  • Music in Video Games, ed. Donnelly, et al
  • The Sound of Playing: A Study into the Music and Culture of Chiptunes by A. Yabsley

And a special thanks to these Reasonably Sound Patrons: Brandon Bennes, Hans Buetow, Xander C, Talia F E, Camilla Greer, Parker Higgins, Joe Krushinsky, Tod Kurt, Ethan Rose, and Susan Rugnetta.

Acoustic Body

Cover image by Jeffrey Montes on flickr

It’s the stethoscope and the sampler as Mike leads us through “the alien nature of [our] own interiors.” In this journey into the sounds of the body, he explores the work of corporeal sonification as music, as well the history and meaning of sounds in medicine.

There are lots of sound puns that are sure to resonate (HA!), and the pleasure of hearing Mike work his way through European names of the 19th century. Also the word “auscultation.”

Music
Intro/Outro: My Body by Perfume Genius from Too Bright
Break 1: Suddenly by Herbert from Bodily Functions
Break 2: Lipostudio by Matmos from A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure

And a Special Thanks to these Reasonably Sound Patrons: Hans Buetow, Xander C, Talia F E, Camilla Greer, Parker Higgins, Joe Krushinski, Tod Kurt and Ethan Rose!

HBD™

Cover image by Kimberly Vardeman on flickr with some alterations by yt.

It’s the birthday episode for Reasonably Sound! Celebrating 1 year, Mike dives into why he can’t lead us all in a rousing chorus of that famous Happy Birthday song that we all know and … love (?). But the copyright clampdown might be loosening in light of dramatic new evidence found (as evidence usually is) in a basement.

PLUS … an exciting new birthday announcement: We are launching a Patreon! Now you can support the show you love with more than just cheering at your phone whenever a new episode comes out. The Patreon will help Reasonably Sound grow to new and exciting places. You can see the full details at the Reasonably Sound Patreon page.

You can also find Reasonably Sound’s very own Birthday Song at Mike’s bandcamp here.

SOURCES
FMA’S License Free Birthday Songs, Entries
Happy Birthday Song Contest Winners
The twisted history of the Happy Birthday song—and the copyright shenanigans that keep it profitable
Copyright and The World’s Most Popular Song by Robert Brauneis [PDF]
Original 1890s Manuscript of “Happy Birthday” Found In a Filing Cabinet
Birthday Song’s Copyright Leads to a Lawsuit for the Ages
“Happy Birthday” Lawsuit: “Smoking Gun” Emerges in Bid to Free World’s Most Popular Song
Happy Birthday song and its strange past


MUSIC
Intro and Outro:  Happy Birthday Song by Andrew Brid from andrew bird and the mysterious production of eggs
Break 1 – Smiley Monroe
Break 2 – My Birth by Swans from My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope to The sky

Peace and White Noise

Cover image by GadoImages on Archive.org

Mike is on a brief vacation on Cape Cod. At the beach. Where he considers why the point of the beach isn’t really the beach, but instead the strange draw of waves, water and the ocean.

The ocean as Muzak. As white noise. As a tempering force for the other parts of our lives.

Also mentioned:

* The return of gladiator games as airport TSA checkpoints
* EDM-heads calmly discussing the concept of entrainment
* The immortal line, “How’s THAT for mystical?”
* Several appropriately apocryphal Herman Melville quotes
* Analysis of which natural features care about you, and which could give a [EXPLETIVE DELETED]

Little Night Muzak

Cover image by David Dawson on flickr

It’s convention season and Mike is on the road for three weeks straight, spending a LOT of time in centers and major hotel chains. And he’s noticed how much of his life has become underscored by Muzak and the purposefully designed feelings that it is meant to evoke.