Current Blog Posts

Top Picks on Our Summer Playlist

What Northwestern Sound Arts and Industries students and faculty are listening to this summer.

Date: 07/20/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

Missing Richard Simmons

What is it? Podcast
Why it’s on our Radar: One day in February 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons stopped showing up to teach his regular exercise class, cut off ties with his closest friends and removed himself from the public eye. The podcast is hosted by filmmaker Dan Taberski, a friend of Simmons’ and a regular in his fitness classes. As Taberski digs deeper into the case, he uncovers more questions than answers, including the biggest one of all: does Richard Simmons want to...

On the Open Road

Exploring the sonic experience of driving and the power of noise-cancelling technology.

Date: 07/14/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

Last year, Northwestern Radio/Television/Film lecturer and MA in Sound Arts and Industries faculty member Stephan Moore spent several months in Australia working on a project related to sound design and the impact of highway road noise. An expert in environmental sound design, Moore worked alongside colleague Jordan Lacey, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University , an Australian public research university in Melbourne.

The project – and subsequent research paper that Lacey and Moore presented at the Invisible Places conference in April – is called “Acoustic design innovations for managing traffic by cancellation...

3 Soundworthy Stories You Might Have Missed in June

From melting glaciers to sonic tattoos, see what made the news in June.

Date: 07/07/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

We rounded up three of June’s most noteworthy sound-related stories to keep you in-the-know this summer.

Combatting Climate Change with Sound

Climate change remains a hot topic and has inspired communities large and small to combat it in their own ways. Jonathan Gilmurray is the author of “Ecological Sound Art: Steps Toward a New Field,” a look at artists who have created works based on the sounds made by melting glaciers. Gilmurray argues that ecological sound art – incorporating naturally occurring sounds with or without modification and other elements – can be effective in motivating people to...

Presenting a Year in Sound Arts

A recap of the students’ final projects, from podcasts to albums and sound installations.

Date: 06/23/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

The first cohort of Northwestern Sound and Industries students finished out the quarter by presenting their final projects to fellow classmates on June 9. Student projects varied in terms of subject matter and presentation – from podcasts to concept albums to sound installations.

“It was refreshing not to have to listen to the same thing over and over again,” says student Adam Mizner. “Some other people were making podcasts, and I was afraid it would just be press play and listen to podcast after podcast.”

Mizner’s final project, “Radio Isn’t...

Your Guide to Chicago Summer Music Festivals

Breaking down the lineup of music festivals coming to Chicago this summer

Date: 06/15/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

Not only does Chicago have state-of-the-art indoor audio facilities, but the city’s outdoor audio experience is also quite impressive. With a rich history of music festivals, summer in the Windy City will be no different.

Possibly the most popular festivals in Chicago, Lollapalooza and Pitchfork both return in 2017, each boasting exciting lineups over multiple days.

“Lollapalooza is a great way to see many different types of music without going to various concerts,” says Nathaniel Fink, a student in Northwestern’s Sound Arts and Industries program.

Though he does not plan to attend the festival this year when...

Sound at the Peabody Awards

A Q&A with MA in Sound Arts and Industries Associate Director Neil Verma about the 2016 Peabody Award finalists and how sound is recognized in the arts and media.

Date: 06/06/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

The 76th Annual Peabody Awards Finalists were celebrated on May 20, 2017. We caught up with Northwestern Professor and MA in Sound Arts and Industries Associate Director Neil Verma to chat about the 2016 honorees, including some of the year’s most powerful audio stories.

Q: How would you say the Peabody Awards differ from other awards that may also honor sound in other capacities, like the Tonys for example?

A: Well, first of all, the Peabodys are primarily for broadcasting, although the meaning of broadcasting has been evolving. The Peabodys take their slogan “Stories that matter” seriously...

Exploring “Wild Energy” with Annea Lockwood

Sound arts pioneer Annea Lockwood spoke with Northwestern students about the discipline and two of her installations.

Date: 05/25/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

On May 11, sound artist and composer Annea Lockwood visited Northwestern University for an Artist Talk, “ Wild Energies .”

“Wild Energy” is the name of the 2014 outdoor installation Lockwood created in collaboration with Bob Bielecki. The project is a 46-minute loop that begins with solar oscillations recorded by SOHO, a European spacecraft, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the inside of a pine tree, slowed down 10 times to be audible to the human ear.

The other piece Lockwood discussed during her talk was “A Sound Map...

Rock Band Creator Harmonix Leads Music Gaming Speaker Series

Students hear from Harmonix, one of the world’s leading game development studios.

Date: 05/19/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

In the last installment of this year’s MA in Sound Arts and Industries EPICS Speaker Series on May 18, students heard from Steve Pardo , a lead composer and sound designer at Harmonix Music Systems.

Based in Boston, MA, Harmonix is one of the world’s leading independent game development studios. The company is responsible for popular franchises like Dance Central and Rock Band.

The Harmonix event, ‘Inventing the Future of Music Gaming’ capped off a year of programming that exposed students to various aspects of the sound industries.


Successful Voiceover Artist Returns to Campus

Northwestern alumna and accomplished voiceover artist Tish Hicks returned to campus on April 28 to lead a masterclass and mock recording session.

Date: 05/12/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

On April 28, Northwestern graduate and Los Angeles-based voiceover artist Tish Hicks led the voiceover masterclass and mock recording session sponsored by The Office of External Programs, Internships, & Career Services (EPICS).

The workshop had two parts. First, Hicks gave a brief presentation of the voiceover industry, theory and practice. The second half of the masterclass was a mini recording session in the new state-of-the-art Soundstage , where students read advertising copy and received advice from Hicks.

After earning a theater degree from Northwestern in 1988, Hicks was working in...

What You Didn’t Hear During S-Town

A discussion with Northwestern faculty and sound experts about the intricacies of the popular new podcast.

Date: 05/01/2017
By Sound Arts and Industries

By now, you’ve probably listened to or at least heard about S-Town , the latest podcast from the team behind Serial and the long-running gold standard in podcasting, This American Life . The seven-part audio story begins as an investigation. Producer Brian Reed is contacted by John B. McLemore, lifelong resident of Woodstock, Alabama, who tells Reed about a supposed murder cover-up in his so-called “Shit Town” (S-Town for short). As Reed begins his investigation, the story takes a turn, someone ends up dead and Reed finds himself closely examining one man’s unexpectedly fascinating life.

Whether you feasted on...


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