When was the last time you were struck by the EXTRAORDINARY in your life? What wonders are you forgetting to look for? Do you remember how things used to sound? Do you remember the music that first cracked you open and revealed to you the infinite possibilities of the universe?
Do you remember Wim Faros?
Deirdre Gardner remembers. She knows that the extraordinary once tread upon the green fairways of this now abandoned Golf Course Community, and she is determined to make Rosemary Hills come back to life with the sound of music.
It Makes A Sound is a nine-episode serialized fiction podcast about the quest to restore what is missing, and to revive the sound of a generation.
It Makes A Sound is a fiction podcast produced by Night Vale Presents. It is written and co-directed by Jacquelyn Landgraf, and co-directed by Anya Saffir. The show features Landgraf as Deirdre Gardner along with the voices of Annie Golden, Nate Weida, Melissa Mahoney, and Siobhan Fallon. The story follows Deirdre, who has found a cassette tape in the attic of her childhood home, which has recorded on it the first ever concert performed by Wim Faros, a young musician she idolized in her youth. Inspired by the wave of nostalgia from her discovery, she begins broadcasting an amateur radio show to inspire everyone else to remember Whim Faros and — once she manages to find a working tape player — share the music of “The Attic Tape” itself.
Initially Deirdre’s enthusiastic waxing on Wim Faros and this supposedly important cassette sounds close to fanatic rambling. It’s not without sense, but the amount of importance she attributes to the music and the artist himself is clearly excessive. Unable to actually play the cassette she shares her deepest feelings about it, often drawing from an old journal (presumably written by her) for a more clarified account of the music’s effects. There is something a little infectious about her enthusiasm for it, however overbearing it may be. I’m sure there is at least one thing that all of us at one point, or even currently, feel as intensely about as she does Wim Faros. It was captivating to hear her talk about it, though my mileage for episodes like this was limited.
Though it is a bit of a slow build, Deirdre’s world fortunately grows out into a small cast of endearing characters, each of whom help her to bring the music of Wim Faros to life in different ways. The music that makes its way into certain episodes is catchy and a lot of fun to listen to, so much so that I wish I could listen to it on its own. We are also frequently taken beyond the confines of Deirdre’s attic, where she typically broadcasts, to other points of interest in the dwindling golf course community that is Rosemary Hills. Though not outright dreary, a lot of points of small town life are touched upon in poignant ways that give the story added depth, which ties back into the focus of the main narrative well.
One thing I especially loved about this series in particular was its use of sound design. We don’t merely listen to Deirdre talk, taking it at her word she’s in her own little broadcasting space. The surrounding world works its way in all the time, whether it’s the creaks and groans of the house, stormy weather, noises made by other people downstairs, or the calls of feral peacocks bizarrely wandering free outside. I really appreciated the sense I got of the space she was inhabiting, as well as how it hits home that this is an amateur production by someone with a lot of passion but not a lot of knowhow.
It took me a little while to warm to It Makes A Sound, especially since music is something I find I don’t connect with as much as other people, but by the end I was in love with it. It’s a wonderful story of people coming together to rediscover something thought to be lost, exploring memory, nostalgia, and family. The use of sound design is superb as well, in a way that I hope influences more fiction podcasts to come. All nine episodes of the season now available to binge, if that is your fancy. I highly recommend it.