Thursday, September 10, 2015

Radiotopia Part I of 2: 99% Invisible

I've recently fallen under the spell of PRX's Radiotopia, a federation of podcasts that describes itself as "a collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet". These shows distinguish themselves by a high level of sound design quality. VO capture, sfx/ music editing, and overall mix tend toward the exceptional. Moreover, the deployment of sound toward the maintenance of narrative integrity appears to be a high priority.

One of my favorites among these would be 99% Invisible, "a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world."

The episode Show of Force tells the story of The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, a "ghost army" of the American military deployed in World War II. A "deception unit" consisting chiefly of fine artists, designers and builders and dedicated exclusively to crafting the illusion that there was (for example) an entire division of soldiers across the river when in fact there was none, the 23rd put on a meticulously crafted show that apparently worked quite well. Inflatable tanks, jeeps, and artillery were involved. I kid you not.

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On Location delves into the history of the Bradbury Building, a structure that's served as a shooting location for "Chinatown", "Blade Runner", "The Artist", and countless other films.

And it goes on like that. Enjoy!

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