On Phantom Power, Mack Hagood explores the world of sound in the arts, music, technology, and cultureDeep but accessible, each episode features the sounds and ideas of a contemporary artist, musician, or sound scholar.

A Philosophy of Echoes with Amit Pinchevski

May 24, 2023 | 00:58:38

Amit Pinchevski challenges the notion that echo is mere repetition. Instead, echo is a generative medium. Just as a baby first learns to speak by repeating the sounds of others, a philosophy of echoes reminds us that our own agency and creativity reside in repetitions that respond to the past. Continue reading

John Cage: Echoes of the Anechoic

April 28, 2023 | 0:26:17

Today we explore the mythology around John Cage’s visit to the anechoic chamber. The chamber was designed to completely eliminate echoes. Ironically, the tale of Cage’s experience in that space has echoed through history, affecting our understanding of silence, sound, and the self. But what do we really know about what happened there? Continue reading

Sonic AI: Steph Ceraso & Hussein Boon

April 17, 2023 | 00:34:12

Today we hear two scholars reading their recent work on artificial intelligence. Steph Ceraso studies the technology of “voice donation,” which provides AI-created custom voices for people with vocal disabilities. Hussein Boon contemplates the future of AI in music via some very short and thought-provoking fiction tales. And we start off the show with Mack reflecting on how hard the post-shutdown adjustment has been for many of us and how that might be feeding into the current AI hype. Continue reading

Words and Silences: The Thomas Merton Hermitage Tapes

March 14, 2023 | 44:58

Musician and sound artist Brian Harnetty breathes new, musical life into the analog meditations of 60s Catholic mystic Thomas Merton. Continue reading

Westerkamp: The Unedited Interview [excerpt]

February 17, 2023 | 6:42

Here is a preview of Mack Hagood’s full one hour and forty minute interview with soundscape composer Hildegard Westerkamp, which includes many details and stories we couldn’t fit into the three public episodes we featured her in.  If you’re a … Continue reading

The Sound World of Harriet Tubman

February 1, 2023 | 00:41:30

Just in time for Black History Month, we share an episode we’ve been excitedly working on for a number of months now. Ethnomusicologist Maya Cunningham brings us “The Sound World of Harriet Tubman.” Maya Cunningham is an activist and jazz singer currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Afro-American studies with a concentration in ethnomusicology.  Continue reading

Hildegard Westerkamp: A Life in Soundscape Composition

January 9, 2023 | 00:40:27

Hildegard Westerkamp is a pioneering composer, radio artist and sound ecologist. Today we speak to her about her career and listen to excerpts of six soundscape compositions. Continue reading

Bonus Episode: Jonathan Sterne [excerpt]

November 18, 2022 | 24:04

Today we feature an excerpt from our nearly 2-hour bonus episode for Patrons. In the full interview from last season’s episode “Dork-o-Phonics,” Jonathan Sterne discusses topics such as the early days of sound studies, how his upbringing and a music school rejection led him to sound, his illness and vocal impairment, and a lot of fascinating ideas about voice, media, disability, and more. Continue reading

Spacing Out with Dallas Taylor of 20,000 Hz

November 1, 2022 | 45:58

Today we talk to Dallas Taylor, host of the most popular sound podcast on the planet, 20,000 Hertz. He provides an anatomy of his episode “Space.” Continue reading

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