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I See You, Tigertones

April 17, 2010

It’s just a regular Friday night in Princeton when you can wander over to one of the oversized and overly ornate stone archways on the university campus and listen to some a capella performances. Princeton has not one, not two, but seven (seven!) student a capella groups and every couple weeks you can hear all of them sing; each troupe takes 15 minutes to serenade whichever sort of crowd has gathered.

I’m putting together a radio piece on one specific men’s acapella group, the Tigertones, as they prepare for a show at Carnegie Hall on May 7, so tonight I took my recorder over to see if I could collect any good tape, even without a proper external mic. Have a listen:


Collecting Tape

March 26, 2010
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I’m putting together a radio piece on tone deafness for End of the Dial and last night, in an effort to collect some good sounds from a karaoke bar, I headed over to the Ivy in Princeton with the MacMillan chemistry crew. The place was loud and crowded, so it was nearly impossible to get usable tape of individuals singing, but I did manage to score this amazing rendition of the Piano Man by some of the men in the group.

If you listen closely over the first few seconds, you’ll hear why one group member didn’t get up there to sing along….

I’m fairly certain none of this will make it in my piece, but it was fun to get out and record last night anyways!

Family Matters

March 5, 2010

Ok, after quite a delay (due to an awful lot of school projects) I’m finally getting around posting a some new work.

In my radio class, we were asked to do an audio occupational profile, and I could think of no other sound-rich job that my brother’s: play-by-play hockey commentary for the radio.

This was a total blast to put together, getting to go through a lot of nice audio that Joey sent my way. I hope someday to do a much longer piece that includes some great stories from our childhood and teenage years — that’s really where the groundwork was put in place for this pursuit of his!

***UPDATE: I’ve posted this piece to the End of the Dial, so make sure to check it out and also snoop around the rest of the site to hear some of the great pieces from my classmates!


Save the Helium

February 6, 2010

Check out my new blog post on Scienceline, all about the shortage of helium and why good science is suffering.

Who’s the other guy?

January 30, 2010
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Just in time for Hockey Day in Canada, I got an email today from my dad. He was forwarding along a picture of my brother, Joey Kenward, standing with some guy.

Joey and some guy

Love it!

Unusual ambience….

January 28, 2010

In the End of the Dial class that I’m taking at NYU this semester, one of our first assignments is to produce an audio postcard….that is, “a short sound-rich piece from an undiscovered place.” I’m taking this assignment to mean: introduce a scene by its sounds…

The assignment has me thinking about sounds that I’ve heard in my life that I’ve learned to love but that are probably meaningless to other people. For example, the sounds of my sneakers pattering down a gravel trail, the rhythmical clicking of my knitting needles, the intermittent whirring of my mother’s sewing machine from a back room – these sounds don’t bring specific memories to mind but they do seem to transport me to a different location that is independant of time. They are the ambient sounds of my life’s soundtrack, I suppose.

But perhaps the most unusual of these sounds is the breathing-in and breathing-out of a glove box in a chemistry lab. When you work with air-sensitive compounds, you depend on these machines to safeguard your precious compounds and your ears are quickly trained to distinguish the functional sounds from alarming ones. Like a new mother who is always subconsciously aware of her newborn’s breathing, a chemist is tuned into the sounds of the glove box. So, my postcard will be about the glove box sounds. Here is one clip I recorded this morning (but, warning, I haven’t done any other edits to the track yet). Stay tuned for a link to the entire finished piece.

Science for cocktail parties . . .

January 19, 2010

I came across this video completely by accident tonight, but I thought all you wacky science fans would enjoy it. Alternatively, if you like to be the centre of attention at cocktail parties, you will also benefit from watching this video!

The one trick this video is definitely missing is when you can light a $50 bill on fire but not burn it up. Maybe I’ll try to do up a quick video of this over the weekend!