Various Artists – Smithsonian Folkways, Science of Sound

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Smithsonian Folkways label has always excelled in documenting the many sounds of that the world has to offer, from classic American folkies to tribal music from Australia. But aside from the classic musical recordings that the label has to offer, there are a host of albums that seek to instruct, rather than entertain. Produced with the help of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Science of Sound is one such album. It explores the mechanics behind how sound actually works. The album features a narrator that guides the listener through ten discrete lessons (“Intensity,” “The Doppler Effect,” etc.). Using an ample helping of sound effects and audio tricks to illustrate his various points, the album is both a fascinating document of a previous era and a timeless lesson in understanding what it means to hear.