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Sound of the Underground

What does the underground sound like? Tom discovers a noisy vibrant place beneath our feet, from plates grinding and volcanoes erupting to composers using the earth as inspiration.

What does the underground sound like?

Beneath the earth lies a noisy vibrant place, from the explosive roar of a volcano erupting, the echoes of caverns down to the barely audible grinding of the earth's plates.

All this noise has long inspired composers and musicians - from Stravinsky and Wagner to Howard Shore and Tom Waits, we burrow into the earth itself to uncover the musical treats that lie under our feet. How do you translate the underground into music and does it bear any resemblance to what is actually happening down there?

Tom discovers what really lies beneath with the sound recordist Jez Riley French who reveals the hidden sounds from the earth itself turning to underground woodlice going about their daily business.

Plus music actually made in the deep places of the world - from Pauline Oliveros's Deep Listening Band to the songs of Welsh miners.

Hannah Thorne (producer)

Available now

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Anna Thorvaldsdottir

    In the Light of Air "Existence"

    Performer: International Contemporary Ensemble.
    • Sono Luminus.
    • DSL 92192.
  • John Luther Adams

    Earth and the great weather for voices, ensemble and percussion

    Performer: Amy Knoles. Performer: Robert Black. Performer: Robin Lorentz.
    • New World Records.
    • 80459 2.
  • Howard Shore

    A knife in the dark - Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring

    Performer: London Oratory School Schola. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: London Voices. Performer: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Howard Shore.
    • Reprise Records.
    • 9362-48110-2.
  • David Bowie

    Underground Labyrinth OST

    Performer: David Bowie.
    • EMI.
    • CDP-7463122.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring

    Performer: Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel.
    • DG.
    • 4778775.
  • Hlynur A. Vilmarsson

    bd for orchestra

    Conductor: Daníel Bjarnason. Performer: Icelandic S O.
    • SONO LUMINUS.
    • DSL 92213.
  • Tom Waits

    Underground

    Performer: Tom Waits.
    • island records.
    • 842 469 - 2.
  • Richard Wagner

    Das Rheingold [Part 1 of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen']

    Conductor: Sir Mark Elder.
    • HLD.
    • 7549.
  • Jón Leifs

    Hekla Op.52 for orchestra

    Conductor: En Shao. Performer: Iceland S O.
    • BIS.
    • CD1030.
  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle

    Earth dances

    Performer: Ensemble Modern. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
    • 4770702.
  • Hans Zimmer

    The Dark Knight

    Composer: James Newton Howard. Performer: Hans Zimmer.
    • Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.
    • PROMO-PROMO.
  • Jamiroquai

    Deeper Underground

    • Sony / Tri Star.
    • 666218-2.
  • Björk

    Mutual Core

    Performer: Björk.
    • One Little India.
    • not known.
  • Girls Aloud

    Sound of the Underground

    • Fascination/Polydor.
    • FASC-017.
  • Koji Kondo

    Super Mario Bros - Underworld Theme

    Performer: Koji Kondo.
    • 8 bit era.
    • B0010FYHC.
  • Groove Armada

    Superstylin'

    • Jive.
    • xxx-xxx.
  • Pauline Oliveros

    Lear

    Performer: Panaiotis. Performer: Pauline Oliveros. Performer: Stuart Dempster.
    • New Albion.
    • NA022CD.
  • Barry Cockcroft

    Ku Ku

    Performer: Barry Cockcroft.
    • RM.
    • 002.
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo

    shosholoza

    • heads up.
    • hucd-3109.
  • Daryl Hall

    You make my dreams come true

    Composer: John Oates. Composer: Sara Allen. Performer: Daryl Hall & John Oates.
    • WARNER.
    • 000105FS.
  • Mike Batt

    The Wombling Song

    Performer: The Wombles.
    • Columbia.
    • 489562-2.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Das Lied von der Erde

    Performer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Yannick Nézet‐Séguin.
    • LPO.
    • 0073.
  • Tom Waits

    Underground

    Performer: Tom Waits.
    • island records.
    • 842 469 - 2.

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