In the summer of 1983, Antony Sher got word that he was in line to play one of the most evil characters in literature--Shakespeare's murderous King Richard III. He spent the next year of his life getting ready for the role--turning himself into the "bottled spider," and turning his ambitions, doubts, and inspirations into a stunning account of the inner life of an actor.
I’m really proud to feature Max Richter for this week’s download. Max is my favorite film composer. He writes these beautiful small pieces that take you into the emotional depths of a moment or a character.
I use him as a guide for scoring this show. Constantly. Like: when I’m stuck scoring a piece and I just can't get the mood or feeling right (which is often) what I’ll do, to hit the reset button, is listen to Max Richter’s 24 Postcards In Full Colour and ask myself, what would Max do here? Sparse piano cords? Subterranean strings?
His music seems to live in the place our stories are always striving to get to – awe, mystery, transformation, illumination. Yeah, I’m pretty much a Max Richter-hack.
"Infra 1" is the first track from an album he released last year called Infra. It’s on the quieter, more fragile end of his spectrum, which is the stuff of his I tend to like most. I hope you enjoy this piece.
In our Animal Minds episode, we met a group of divers who rescued a humpback whale, then shared a really incredible moment...a moment in which the divers are convinced that the whale found a way to say thank you. We obviously can't know for sure, and that question--how well can we really know the minds of animals?--was at the heart of the show.
Zoe Keating is a friend of the show. We've performed live with her around a dozen times, give or take. And on our last tour (Symmetry), Zoe would often play this piece, Optimist, which she wrote for her son Alex when he was negative four months old. Every time, the audience fell into a trance. Those are the moments from the tour I really remember, getting to sit quietly on stage and watch the audience watch Zoe.
This whole novel takes place in a few minutes, in a quiet room drenched with late-afternoon sun. As the narrator of Room Temperature feeds his baby daughter, he lets his mind wander—and you get to wander with him, through tiny revelations about nose-picking and green dresses and childhood crimes and mobiles made of paint chips.
When I first heard this song, I went into one of those strange deliriums that happen to me once a decade, and I played the song fifteen times in a row, no joke. I’ve since heard from a few other people who’ve had the same reaction. There’s something narcotic about the way the song builds, and about what’s being described – people trying to fake their way to being good. But I won’t bore you with my thoughts. Just listen to it. Let me know if this song does to you what it does (still does, now 7 years later) to me.
Casino Versus Japan is the recording name audio chemist Erik Kowalski takes on for his ambient and electronic music experiments. This free download is from the latest Casino Versus Japan album, Night on Tape.
We're celebrating summer with a classic episode of Radiolab--full of mystery, intrigue...and a goat standing on a cow. We haven't actually tried listening to it around a campfire, but we're betting it would totally work. See you in two weeks with a new short!
Interested in helping out at Radiolab? We're now accepting applications for our fall internship! Submit an application via the WNYC website.
(Pro tip: the application includes some Radiolab-specific questions, so leave yourself extra time to answer them.)
tUnE-yArDs is a music project from the mind and body of Merrill Garbus, who blasts big-pipes vocals over free-form drum loops, layers of ukulele, and electric bass guitar. This free download is from the latest tUnE-yArDs album, w h o k i l l.
Reggie Watts reached into our ears and shook our brains last Saturday during our live show. We'll feature some of his mind-rattling performance in an upcoming podcast, but in the meantime...here's a free download to tide you over: "Every Day Is Like Sunday," from the LP Live at Third Man Records.
We're gearing up for our live taping on June 18th at NYU Skirball Center with a free download from Buke & Gass--one of the three musical acts Jad will present during a night of electritying performances. Grab tickets here. (PS: you get $5 off with the code "radiolab.")