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noise pollution – what do you listen to while working?

Lately I’ve been developing a strange relationship with sound and making art. For months now, I’ve been addicted to listening to podcasts, but I suddenly can’t handle the noise.

My attention span gets scattered, and I grow anxious and find a hard time staying on task. This is something I have to figure out in order to make my studio time productive. Music has never been an important companion to me, unlike almost everyone else I know. When I do try to listen to music, it’s usually through a streaming service like Spotify, and I find the ads disruptive. What I find the most satisfying to listen to music wise is still downtempo-esque music and murder ballads. Murder ballads are songs passed around communities and through time to tell stories of local tragic crimes, mostly murders, hence the term. You’ve probably heard 1 or 2 before and didn’t realize it. Here is a link to my collection of them on Spotify.

Sometimes I force myself to work in silence, just for the contrast, or to not allow myself to be tricked into feeling like I have company through the sound of a tv show or audiobook. When I do this, I’m glad that I did. The same while driving. The quiet gives me more room for my own noisy head. Actually, silence isn’t the right word. I think I mean natural noise. The sounds of everyday life. For example, it’s hot today, but I can’t stand the sound of the air conditioner running. I shut it off and opened my windows so I could hear the city. I’d rather be sweaty than feel like I’m stuck in some sort of vibrating box. I don’t feel like a part of the rest of the world when I can’t hear it. I think I have a similar relationship to light. Real sunlight is a salve and artificial just does not cut it.

I used to listen to old time radio plays, horror and detective ones, while painting, but then moved on. I might cycle back to them, try to find some new unearthed series, specifically Australian ones. I’ve made posts in the past here where I shared some of my favorites. Here is another link to check to them out, if interested. I’ve noticed OTR has gotten a boost in popularity lately. You can find them on Audible and Spotify and probably other places as well. Looks like content providers have realized they are copyright free, and they can still make a buck or two off of sharing them.

I’ve moved on from audiobooks for the time being because of the cost and also because I was coming across too many badly narrated ones. Again, my tastes tend to the macabre, and I seemed to only listen to trashy true crime novels. They’re like documentaries but just for the ears.

Then I discovered podcasts! I’m always a little slow to catch on to the new thing(no shame, I can be crotchety). I’ve been listening to true crime podcasts for years now, but before the current explosion of new ones. I mainly listened through blogtalkradio, and specifically True Crime Radio(the websleuths associated podcast) and True Murder by Dan Zupansky. Yes, I’m linking everything. Those two have been around for a long time, in internet years, and are not formatted much like the newer popular ones. True Crime Radio was/is formatted more like an up to the minute, true crime news show. True Murder features a journalist interviewing other true crime authors about their books. These are pre-Investigation Discovery channel podcasts and sites. They were good road trip company, except maybe not at night.

I know that Serial is the pod that kicked off the recent true crime fervor, but I haven’t listened to it. I’m childishly contrary and can’t make myself give it a try. Luckily, I have many to choose from instead lately! The ones I listen to the most are The Vanished(concentrates on missing persons cases and actively trying to solve them), Thinking Sideways(true crime but also about mysteries, does a bit of debunking which I like), Generation Why, In Sight, Thin Air, In the Dark(about the Jacob Wetterling case, incredibly well done and ethical), Accused, Court Junkie(unique in that it covers more current cases and their trials), Misconduct, Queens of Crime(a little different in that it is made by women who are actual producers on true crime shows, but not so sanitized like a pod made by an actual tv network), Casefile(Australian podcast that did a phenomenal series about the original night stalker), Twisted Philly(the title says it all), The Unresolved, Murder Dictionary(not so serious and often crass, but still very funny/women led without playing on that ‘girl friends’ trope), Small Town Murder(another comedy one), Bowraville, Unconcluded, Mens Rea(Ireland specific), Judge and Jeremy and I could go on and on and on….I left many out, but lately these are my faves. Or were, when I could stand listening to podcasts.

The 2 themes I see continued in my listening habits are 1. creepy crime stuff and 2. storytelling. I guess I need a story, like at bedtime. Just not with pictures! I need to keep my eyes busy elsewhere.

If you have any favorites to share, please do. I could use the change in routine. And if you have experience this weird sound anxiety and figured a way around it, please tell me how!

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Teeth

After two years I finally went to the dentist. My teeth are clean, I have a jacked filling that needs repairing and I think I’m finally going to get my one wisdom tooth ripped out of my head.

Above is a charcoal drawing I did recently of some plaster teeth…that I came home to find Jason making…in his own mouth. So yes, those are Jason’s teeth.

Enjoy some dentist themed horror radio shows.

Fear on Four – Day at the Dentists

Nightfall – The Dentist

Teeth are an interesting thing. You don’t realize how important they are as a child…how easy they are to loose. They are often your first reminder of mortality and decay, and a common theme in nightmares. I sometimes, when stressed out, have dreams of my teeth falling out of my head.

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Cat People -The Woman as Aloof Beast

I love my horror radio plays. They go from exquisite to terrible, but the medium is amazing and tends to force writers into efficiency.

But some are bad, and some return to the same tired themes. Below are some of my favorite terrible ones. In all of them the story is based weakly on the idea that women are naturally associated with our favorite selfish house pet, the cat.

I’m sure someone with more writing talent than I could write an entire paper on the topic. I’m content to roll my eyes and laugh.

Cat Woman – The Creaking Door

Queen of the Cats – The Mysterious Traveler

The Weekend – Macabre

Alley Cat – Lights Out

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Winter Horrorland – Chilly and Scary Radio Stories

They are a bit late, but I am finally updating with more radio plays. All scary and all related to winter and cold weather.

I love this one, but beware. The sound quality isn’t too great.
The Horn – Fear on Four

His Last Card – Fear on Four

The Snowman Killing – Fear on Four

Sometimes I miss eating turkey…sometimes I don’t.
Gobble Gobble – Fear on Four

This series is an older one. The sound quality is very…hollow.
The Werewolf – Weird Circle

I hope you enjoy them. I of course don’t own any of this. They are free to download or play in a new window. You can also find more at the Internet Audio Archive.

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Hibernation & Guilty Pleasures

It may be the shorter days but I feel the need to nest and go into art making hibernation.

This means having an insatiable need to rearrange my home and make another attempt at putting together a livable and workable studio space.

Strangely, it also means making playlists of down-tempo and OTR horror and reading comic books(specifically right now Fables Volume 14 and 15).

I need a constant rotation of Portishead, the Twin Peaks Sound track and so on…Spotify has been useful in finding new music in the same vein. Music has usually been a private thing for me. I was never immersed in it the way my friends were as teenagers. Then I discovered down tempo/trip hop/whatever it’s called. It felt right. It’s more like a sound track rather than individual songs.

On my playlist now…

Willow’s Song – The Wicker Man Soundtrack
Small Town Witch – Sneaker Pimps
Pretty When You Cry – Vast (can’t get into any of their other songs)
Galaxies – Laura Veirs
Flame – Crustation
Down By the Water – PJ Harvey
Overcome – Tricky
Stars – Hum
Capsized – Samiam
Ten Cents a Dance – Ruth Etting
Horse and I – Bat For Lashes
Celestica – Crystal Castles
Half Day Closing – Portishead
Audrey’s Dance – Angelo Badalementi

Then…that Vast video makes me think of a fantastic radio play version of The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter produced by the BBC…which then leads me to another witch themed radio play, The Hairy Hand of Dartmoor produced by the radio horror show Fear on Four. I always thought the girl who played Little Red Riding Hood in the first play sounded like the witch in the second play.

The Hairy Hands is an urban legend out of Dartmoor, England. The story goes that on a stretch of road motorists and bicyclists have had their steering ripped from them by disembodied demonic hairy hands and caused them to have accidents. You can read a bit about it on Wikipedia here.

I’m trying to get my work from this past semester photographed and started on new ones, including a piece for a group show next spring curated by the founder of Creepmachine.com The group show is called Marvelous Humans. You can read about it at the blog the curator created for it. The show will be about ‘human oddities’ of the past and present and how they made the most out of what life dealt them. I’ve chosen Millie La Marr the Mind Reader, a Victorian Era Albino woman that traveled with the circus performing mentalist tricks, pretending to be a psychic. You can see photos of her here.

I wish I could find more out about her as person rather than just a side show oddity. I chose her because of her ‘act’. As any reader here can probably tell from my work I am fascinated by spiritualism and so called psychic phenomena.

I was super stoked to see that the show Jason and I was in, Multiversal Miami, was profiled on Artattacksonline.com here.