Current Blog Posts

Lost and Found Sound with Olivia Block

Chicago sound artist and educator Olivia Block previews her November 19 workshop about working with archival sound.

Date: 11/14/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Finding a one-word descriptor for Olivia Block is nearly impossible. In fact, two or three words probably won’t do it either. She’s a media artist and composer, but she’s also a sound artist, an educator and in many ways, an anthropologist. Block works mainly with “found sound” recordings.

“These are usually used in the space of the arts,” Block says. “It’s anything that has its own history already, that’s already been completed. It’s something you might find in a dumpster or on eBay.”

As a matter of fact, when Block...

Reality Check: Steve Pardo on AR/VR and Sound

With the use of augmented and virtual reality on the rise, we take a look at how sound plays a role in the two disciplines to help create an immersive experience. Steve Pardo is a lead composer and sound designer at Harmonix Music Systems.

Date: 10/12/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Q: First of all, can you explain the difference between AR and VR?
A: While they share most of the same underlying technologies and research, the mediums are experientially quite different. AR, or augmented reality, takes in the outside world and places digital objects and user interface top of it. For example, the iPhone, utilizing its onboard camera and AR Kit (a first-party software development library), can detect the dimensions of a room and can place a 3D object within the space, displaying the result on the screen. With...

NPR Stint Leads Radio Enthusiast to Sound’s New Cohort

We meet one our newest Sound Arts and Industries students, Layne Gerbig, and learn more about her college radio days, how she landed her dream internship and what she hopes to gain from the program.

Date: 09/21/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Q: You grew up in Ohio and attended Kent State University. What did you study in undergrad?
A: I was a communications major with a double minor in non-profit studies and digital media production.

Q: What piqued your interest in sound and podcasting?
A: I grew up as a backseat listener of NPR, and then when I started driving, I continued to tune into my NPR station (WKSU). That station was my first introduction to sound.

Q: What shows did you listen to?...

For Sound Students, Landing a Summer Internship Is a Team Effort

See how Sound Arts and Industries students prepare for the final step in their master’s program.

Date: 09/12/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

For Northwestern Sound Arts and Industries students, the work doesn’t stop when summer begins. All students enrolled in the program are required to complete a thesis or an internship, meaning most students spend their summers applying what they’ve learned in the program at sound-related companies.

“This is the last piece of the program,” says Katherine Lelek, the Assistant Director of the Office of External Programs, Internships & Career Services ( EPICS ). Lelek also teaches the career development class that students take to coincide with their internship or thesis experience.

“They’ve spent three quarters of the program at...

How Pavan Vasdev Turned a Final Project into a Music Startup

Learn more about Northwestern Sound Arts and Industries student Pavan Vasdev — his love for music and how his Study in Sound project inspired his music startup.

Date: 07/26/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Q: Thinking about your life and experience even before undergraduate, when did you first develop an interest in sound or music?

A: I've been interested in music for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing piano, trumpet, and cello. In high school, I grew my hair out and joined a rock band, where I played drums and guitar.

My family is very musical – my mom is a singer and my dad plays tabla. My house was always filled with impromptu jam sessions on anything from...

It’s Electric! Behind Sam Clapp’s Summer Internship

This summer we’re catching up with Northwestern University Sound Arts and Industries students to talk about their summer internships – from how they landed them to what they hope to learn.

Date: 07/12/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Q: Where is your 2018 summer internship?

A: I am a student intern at Electrical Audio , a studio complex in Chicago.

Q: How did you find the position?

A: My friend Daniel Ruder, who is a recording engineer, musician, and excellent dude in St. Louis, connected me with the company. I believe he interned at the studio when he was in college.

Q: Why did you choose to apply? What was it about the position that appealed to you?

A: I'd been aware...

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sound Arts and Industries

Student Brendan Monte gives his tips on taking advantage of the time in the one-year master's program

Date: 07/05/2018
By Brendan Monte

I remember in the spring of my senior year of high school I had the idea to make a video for the end of my AP Calculus class. I re-wrote the lyrics of The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea” into “Under the Curve,” which was filled with concepts we used throughout the year. Definitely my finest work. I had this grand vision that my teacher and all my classmates would be able to sing the same way I heard the song play out in my head. Perfection is definitely attainable, right? The result was one day of filming my...

Getting to Know Brendan Monte

We’re getting to know some of Northwestern’s Sound Arts & Industries students – from their motivations, experiences, coursework and post-grad dreams – we’re asking questions and getting answers!

Date: 06/22/2018
By Sound Arts and Industries

Q: Can you tell me about your educational history and what motivated you to pursue an advanced degree in sound?

A: I graduated in 2013 with a degree in theater and arts management from Miami (OH) University, and I moved to Chicago post-graduation to act and perform. I fell into stage-managing improv variety shows, and I helped start a theater company in 2015 to produce shows. I took a class in Ableton Live as a challenge to myself to learn music production, and as a result, I started sound designing...

In India, Streaming Offers an Alternative to the Brand Partnership Model

Where the West Sprouted a Thriving Infrastructure of Labels, Distributors, A&R Networks, and an IP Regulatory System, India Relied on an Archaic and Unregulated Model: Artist-Film Partnerships

Date: 06/06/2018
By Pavan Vasdev

Bollywood films weren’t always the colorful song-and-dance musicals with which we associate them today. India was an early adopter of the silent film, and in 1913, entrepreneurs flocked to build a nationwide network of studios, cinemas, and talent agencies. This network was the first to spread a common cultural identity across a fragmented collection of cultures known today as India. When the talkie arrived in 1931, musically inclined entrepreneurs quickly recognized the film industry’s sprawling network as a nationwide publicity platform for artists. And so the Bollywood musical was born, as a partnership between film studios and musicians. Initially, intermediary...

Scoopity Data

How Kanye’s Latest Troll May Have Been a Masterful Move in Collecting Data

Date: 05/24/2018
By Pavan Vasdev

On April 27th, Kanye West tweeted to his 28 million followers: “lift yourself”, followed by a link to his website. There, a playable file titled “LIFT YOURSELF MASTER…” sat available for free streaming. The song? A sample of Amnesty’s 1973 hit Liberty over which Kanye rambles “poopity scoop, scoopity poop…”.

Nice troll, Yeezy.

On the surface, this seems just another rickroll from the champion of controversial marketing himself. But considered in context of the crippling closed-door data sharing policies held by streaming services, Kanye’s troll might just be a mastermind play in gathering valuable information about his listeners....


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