SWAN | Ithaca and Its Natural Waves

Last year I took an elective that touched on the study of sound design, or the ways in which sound is organized — or unintentionally disorganized — in various settings. A big philosophical topic of interest in this field is the use of headphones by individuals in personal transit. By using headphones, are we effectively silencing the natural soundscape of a place? This initially seems like a rather pedantic point, one best mulled over in a musicology elective. Yet, shouldn’t we be worried about so many people dismantling the collective identity of a place, just as we are worried about climate change or the tearing down of the Nines?

WVBR to Bring Alternative Music to Ithaca

WVBR 93.5 FM Ithaca’s “real rock radio” is out and “Ithaca’s Alternative” is in. This change of genre for the independent, Cornell student-run radio station comes after increasing confusion as to what constitutes “real rock.” In the recent years, the station has failed to focus its efforts on any particular decade or subgenre, leading to a lack of consistency within their sound. With the new alternative format, the station will play songs from the ’90s, classic alternative if you will, to the present. Under the genre of alternative, artists like Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Cold War Kids and Tame Impala coexist with only one thing to bind them: a willingness to experiment with non-traditional sounds and stage antics. What is most interesting about this is that the station is trying to escape an unfocused format by switching to an incredibly broad format.

Is Anyone Listening?

If you don’t already know, looking at bright screens — particularly before bed — is severely detrimental to sleep patterns. Most articles on the topic suggest the obvious solution: stop doing it. But millennials need a little more than that to get in the way of Netflix (and chill) before bed. Seeking a replacement for myself, I’ve turned to radio drama. Discovering this medium has single handedly salvaged my slumber and opened me up to a new world of immersive storytelling armed with only the power of sound.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I want you to stop for a second and think about music. What does it mean to you? When do you listen to it? When do you play it? What do you use it for? This might be, if you’re really thinking about it, an enormous list. We use music to celebrate, to mourn, to get together and PAR-TAY, to reflect a huge range of emotions, to calm us down, to pump us up, for the simple beauty of sound.