Curious minds select the most fascinating podcasts from around the world. Discover hand-piqd audio recommendations on your favorite topics.
Co-host of the Episode Party podcast, author of Storm Static Sleep: A Pathway Through Post-rock, editor at ATTN:Magazine.
Self-described as a “podcast about the unknown”, Here Be Monsters has spent the past six years pushing against the boundaries of its own identity, redefining itself as each episode explores new production techniques, new levels of autobiographical intimacy, new and peculiar topics of contemplation.
While we subscribe to some podcasts to continually gratify our interest in a specific subject, subscribing to Here Be Monsters speaks to a faith in process. One week’s episode might be a story that twists together a perilous childhood kayaking trip with a gnomish wizard’s descent into impurity.
Next week might be a documentary about a free diver and his mastery of the mammalian dive response. The only consistent elements are the binaural lucidity of the production (headphones are essential) and the desire to seek new ways of presenting ideas, fears and curiosities in the form of audio.
The 112th episode, titled “Negative Space”, starts with host Jeff Emtman confessing that he’s going through a rough patch. He recalls an occasion when he observed how the gaps between tree branches form shapes in themselves, framing the sky in crooked and unexpected ways. As he explains, this can be converted into a source of peace during times of stress — instead of preoccupying one’s self with the problems that cloud the mind, is there any value to be derived from the thoughts that nestle in the margins?
This episode attempts to translate this idea into audio by taking a previous episode of the show ("HBM021: Potential Energy”) and removing all of the voices. What remains are the echoes of human activity: heavy breathing during long walks, bicycles gliding past the microphone, music leaking out of hotel speakers. As well as celebrating the value of listening as a practice — even without concrete point of focus — it’s also the perfect analogy for a show that defines itself not by the terrain already traversed, but by the possibilities of what it could become.