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One Nation, Under Headphones

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Once a curiosity, headphones have changed the way we experience sound – sometimes for the worse. Today, Soundcheck kicks off "Ear Wars," a series on hearing and the human ear, with a look at headphones and their connection to hearing loss. Plus: producer and tabla player Karsh Kale talks about the transcontinental collaboration behind his latest album.

Ear Wars: Headphones

Earlier this month, New York Times writer Virginia Heffernan caught the ear of the music world with a column about headphones. She’ll tell us how prolonged headphone use, especially among young people, may be wreaking havoc on our hearing – and we’ll take your calls. Later, we'll hear about the impact of headphones on music and culture from Mark Katz, author of Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music.

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Karsh Kale

New York producer and tabla player Karsh Kale and the Delhi-based production team known as Midival Punditz share the cultural heritage of India and the musical heritage of the West. So what if there’s an ocean or two between them? Kale joins us in studio to talk about joining forces with the Punditz on his latest album.


Playlist: One Nation, Under Headphones + Karsh Kale

Click through to see today's Soundcheck playlist!

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Looking At Hearing

The start of the Ear Wars...

Rjyan Kidwell of CEX ( seated left)

Gig Alert: Cex

Baltimore based beat manipulator Rjyan Kidwell goes by the name of Cex. He turns ambient techno into a glitchcore hybrid of hip-hop. Download the track "Trumpetflower" here for free.