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.

Fetish Character

Cover image by Moritz Barcelo on flickr

Mike explores audience, taste, morality, subjectivity, commodity, and so much more in a pastiche of readings from Theodor W. Adorno, Gawker, Taylor Swift’s Tumblr, Fashionista, Noisey, NME and Pitchfork.

The text of this episode of Reasonably Sound is entirely found. The sources are:



Mike explores the sonic aspects of fireworks: What is an explosion, and why do they sound the way they do? These questions lead to a breakdown of combustion versus detonation; low explosives versus high explosives; the phrase “the boom is sort of like a pop with a diploma;” and a fascinating tangent about trying to learn card tricks in the ’90s.

Plus: The joys of taping a ref’s whistle to the hood of your car.

Celebrate the independence of your country by blowing up a small part of it.
SkunkBear on Fireworks
SkyLighter on the new Dragon’s Egg recipe
NOVA on the construction (incl Sound Charges) of Fireworks
A Fireworks Manual about sound I couldn’t buy if I wanted to, it seems

Intro/Outro: Explosion Alarm by Mark McGuire from A Young Person’s Guide to Mark McGuire
Break #1: Firework of Echoes by Motion Sickness of Time Travel from Slow Architecture
Break #2: Firework (Jump Smokers Remix) by Katy Perry and Jump Smokers from SoundCloud
Break #3: Whistle Tip (Remix) by Doo Bachary on YouTube

The Real Song of the Summer

Cover image by altiemae on flickr

It’s the ice cream truck jingle.  Even Mike’s hated Mr. Softee one.  Mike provides the secret origin of the jingle, touching on the Great Depression, the growth of the American middle class, the Good Humor Man, refrigeration, and bobsled bells.

Ice Cream: A Global History by Laura B. Weiss
Ding, Ding!: The Commodity Aesthetic of Ice Cream Truck Music by Daniel T Neely
The real song of the summer: a brief history of ice cream truck music
A Brief History of the Ice Cream Truck
Nichols Electronics Co
Putting the ‘Mr.’ in Soft Ice Cream

Racist History of “Turkey in the Straw”:
Recall That Ice Cream Truck Song? We Have Unpleasant News For You
That Viral Story About the Racist Ice Cream Song Is Wrong

Intro: Ice Cream Man by Tom Waits from Closing Time
Break #1: Shut Up And Drive (Far Away) by the Deftons from Around the Fur
Break #2: Star Spangled Banner, Rock Version

Echoic Memory

Echoic memory, how it differs from other kinds of memory, and the definition of sound itself, all on this episode of Reasonably Sound.  Plus: Jamiroquai.

The Drop

That part in dance music, where the music builds and builds and builds and BUILDS before the tension finally, FINALLY, gets relieved?  That’s “the drop.”  Mike talks about its origin, construction, and application, and tells you what P.L.U.R. means.

(Note: This is almost definitely the first mention of “foam parties” on Infinite Guest.)

Intro: Rhythm Variation 02 by Aoki Takamasa RV8
Break #1: Not Butter byDillon Francis
Break #2: Boss Mode by Knife party
Break #2: Summertime Sadness by LDR, Cedric Gervais Remix

Stefan Sagmeister on Storytellers (VIDEO)
Waiting for the Bass to Drop” by Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg
Detecting Drops in Electronic Dance Music” by Yadati, et al
The Year in Black Erasure on Pitchfork
Metaphors We Live By on UChicago.edu


Molly’s Misophonia

Misophonia is, literally, “the hatred of sound.”  Molly Templeton has it, and talks to Mike about the noises that trigger it.


  • “Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric Disorder” by Arjan Schröder, Nienke Vulink, Damiaan Denys. PLOSOne.
  • “Decreased Sound Tolerance and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy” by Margaret M. Jastreboff AND Pawel J. Jastreboff. The Australian And New Zealnd Journal Of Audiology, Vol 24 #2. Nov. 2002 pp. 74-84
  • “Misophonia: Incidence, Phenomenology, and Clinical Correlates in an Undergraduate Student Sample” by Monica S. Wu, Adam B. Lewin, Tanya K. Murphy, and Eric A. Storch. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 70(10), 994–1007 (2014)
  • “Misophonia: An Overview” by Diane F. Duddy, Au.D. and Kristi A.M. Oeding, Au.D. Seminars In Hearing/Volume 35, # 2 2014


  • Intro: Is That Revolution Sad? by Contemporary Noise Sextet from The Wire Tapper Volume 26
  • Break #1: Small Talk Stinks by Bauhaus from In The Flat Field
  • Outro: The Longest Distance by Talkboy Arcade from Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2

Play It For All It’s Worth

How much is a song worth?  How do you even calculate it?  And what do DJ Shadow, Tom Waits, and the Wu-Tang Clan have to do with it?  Mike Rugnetta answers these and other questions.


Intro: Talking about Money by Wye Oak. From The Knot.
Break #1 – Building Steam… by DJ Shadow. From Endtroducing.
Break #2 – C.R.E.A.M. by The Wu-Tang Clan. From Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).


The Spotify Calculator
That Chevy Ad with the DJ Shadow track
Tom Waits on musicians allowing their work to be used in commercials
Tom Waits: Not a Jingle Writer
NYT CD Cost Breakdown
Wal•Mart Wants $10 CDs
How Much Do Artists Earn Online – 2012
The New Economy of the Music Industry
Zoë Keatings 2013 Earnings
The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

What Does the Universe Sound Like?

Mike explains how pigeon-lovers Arno Penzius and Robert Wilson found evidence to prove the Big Bang.  Find out about hisses, #starstuff, photons, poop, and more to get a full picture of what the universe actually sounds like.


Episode Music

Intro Music: Cosmos, Zu & Eugene Chadbourne, The Zu Side of the Chadbourne

Break #1: Ultime Cosmos, Lucien Dubuis Trio & Marc Ribot, Ultime Cosmos

Break #2: Three Modal Pieces: A Cosmos, Laurie Spiegel , Obsolete Systems

Break #3: Another Space Song, Failure, Fantastic Planet


Universe Sounds

Big Bang Hiss

Dawn Chorus

Black hole

Sound of the Big Bang


You Can Still Hear the Hiss of the Big Bang

Listen to A Black Hole

Listening to the Big Bang – in high fidelity

Black Hole Sound Waves

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1978

Sounds of Space: New ‘Chorus’ Recording By RBSP’s EMFISIS Instrument

Nobel-prize winning accidents

Big Hiss Missed by Others

The Sound of the Big Bang

Interpreting the ‘Song’ Of a Distant Black Hole

The Sound of the Big Bang – Planck Version (2013)

NASA Posts a Huge Library of Space Sounds, And You’re Free To Use Them