A Podcast With A Twist…Attempt 2 of 2

December 5, 2008

If you haven’t seen attempt 1 of 2, please read/listen to that first, then continue:

I made that beat with my friend Benjamin Julia over the past few weeks. It was a ton of fun, I learned a lot, and after hearing several speeches about new ways of distribution/incorporating media…I thought it was a damn fine attempt.

On to a more realistic podcast:

I wanted to attempt a podcast in the form of a mixtape that could be played in the background while reading the content of my website. This was inspired by FADER Magazine’s similar endeavor that they distribute along with a .pdf version of their magazine every month on iTunes. 

What I did was peruse my library of music (almost 10,000 songs) looking for any sort of beat that reminded me of the feeling of being on the site of 9/11. 

What did I feel? A grinding, loud, churning machine that made me uncomfortable, yet sparked my sense of adventure and wanted to explore more. 

So, one almost-blown speaker later, I found some songs who beat reflected my thoughts and emotions at the time and I thought I could combine them into some sort of reasonable sequence:

Nine Inch Nails, “Closer” (Instrumental)

Nosaj Thing, “1685”

Flying Lotus (ft. Dolly), “Roberta Flack”

Muhsinah, “Millions”

Gaslamp Killer 

+ some other random quick beats.

OK, play it now, and continue reading (mike take a minute to buffer..its 10+minutes):

 

Note: Yes the first transition is kind of sloppy…this was my first attempt at a mixtape! (did I mentioned I’m an economics major?). Also I have to mention that I mixed in some other transitions and mixtapes from FADER and other sources, but it should sound pretty streamlined. Thank you Garageband!

The impetus of the track order:

As I said previously, I wanted to express, through music, how I felt the first time I stepped on that construction site. The first two songs reflect the uncomfortable feeling I got while trying to take pictures, capture video and audio, and not get killed by a swinging crane. The tracks are not pretty–but neither is a construction site.

As the podcast/mixtape (podtape? mixcast?) continues, we move into more of a grooving sound (about 4:30min in). After a couple of minutes taking some really awful B-Roll (it was also my first day using a videocamera), I calmed down, told myself basically not to mess up this incredible access, and get some good shots. This is the point where I got most of my B-Roll for my first video…I had hit my groove!

From about 7min to 9:20min, I feel as though this section represents the portion of the day I spent trying to record my first interview with Joe Bradley, the crane foreman of Ground Zero. A little abstract, yet upbeat. My lack of interview experience could have beena huge problem, but I remained confident, and got a pretty damn good quick  interview out of him.

Now, the rest of the podmixcastape reflects reality setting in. I knew I had this great footage, but all of these questions immediately set in: Did it come out right? Did I screw up a camera setting? Did I get enough B-Roll? Is the audio clear? Will I be allowed back onto the site? And so on…

I had been sitting on this particular podcast for a few weeks…I couldn’t decide if I wanted to publish it, or just go with the one Benjamin and me did, or neither, or both–I couldn’t choose.

Then I realized they are two pretty different attempts at the same thing–using a familiar form of media(audio) in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable way (podcast/mixtape).

And, this was exactly why I signed up for the course. I had never shot video before. I had barely even interviewed a subject for a story. Audio AND video? Seriously, who cares? Photography rule!

Well, now I care. About both. And photography. And the combination of all of them. And the fact that they each have strengths and weaknesses that can be used to tell a great story. 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Working on each podcast was an incredibly rewarding experiment in testing my comfort zone, creative abilities, ambition, ability to rebound from failure (you should have heard the first version of both podcasts), among other things.

I hope that the podcasts provide something for you–good background music for my blog, hopefully insight into my emotions and thoughts while being at Ground Zero, or even some new artists to listen to. 

Enjoy,

Ben

N.B. This track is long. In case you are down here and the music is still playing (and you like it!!!) here are some photographs that I took this week while shooting my weekly column for The Washington Square News (if not blatentely obvious, I was playing with sunset light and people coming in and out of the shadows…all taken within the same hour or so on two consecutive days):

 

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