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Between the Ears


Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.

Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.


London, United States




Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.





Alison Lock's dreamlike journey describes her dramatic, near-fatal accident four years ago. One morning, on her regular walk on the Yorkshire moors, she slipped and fell into a millpond, breaking her back in seven places along the way. Alison has no memory of the moment of falling, but every second of clawing her way back to life, from one handhold to the next, is vividly imprinted and distilled into this poetic sequence. Music by Will Gregory (Goldfrapp, The Moog Ensemble), with violin by...


Telling the Bees

Maria Margaronis surrenders to the life of the hive to explore the ancient folk customs around the telling the bees. The lives of bees and humans have been linked ever since the first hominid tasted a wild hive’s honey. Neither domesticated nor fully wild, honey bees are key to our survival, a barometer of our relationship with nature. Without them, we’d have no fruit, no nuts and seeds, and eventually, no food. No bees; no songbirds. Silent woods. For centuries, we’ve projected stories and...


Listening to the Deep

Although they cover more than 70% of the globe’s surface, most people have little idea about what our oceans sound like. In some traditions of science and storytelling, the sea was a place of deathly quiet - “The Silent World” - but of course there’s anything but silence down there. Sound actually travels further and faster in water than air. Norwegian artist and composer Jana Winderen has been recording and sharing sounds of the deep for nearly two decades, dangling microphones from boats...


Concrete Paris

A radiophonic sound journey of Parisian brutalism by composer Iain Chambers, composed entirely from recordings of the buildings featured. Paris is well known for its historic architecture: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph, and the endless rows of apartment buildings built by Hausmann in the 19th century. But beyond the historic centre lie a series of alternative Parisian cities, built from concrete during the 1960s and 70s. This lesser-known concrete Paris creates a surprising journey...


Sinking Feelings

Bogs have always captured the human imagination, inspiring both fear and fiction. Between the Ears wades into this treacherous netherworld in a search for the lost and found. These liminal spaces have a unique and troubling consistency: neither absolutely water, nor absolutely earth, but a potentially dangerous mix between the two. Writers have long been fascinated by the dangerous pull of the bog but also by the secrets that lay buried the peat , from 'The Slough of Despond' in John...


Flight of the Monarch

Composer and sound artist Rob Mackay traces the migratory route of the monarch butterfly, from the Great Lakes in Canada to the forests of Mexico, via the shifting coastal landscape of the eastern shores of Virginia. Along the route of this sonic road-movie Rob meets people working to protect this extraordinary species: Darlene Burgess, a conservation specialist monitoring butterfly populations on the shores of Lake Eerie; Nancy Barnhart, coordinating the monarch migration programme for the...


Brief Encounters

Stories of real life chance encounters, inspired by the 75th anniversary of the much-loved film Brief Encounter. Introduced by Matthew Sweet. Using different recordings of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 - which famously underscores the 1945 film - Between the Ears reflects on how a chance meeting can change our lives forever. In the 1950s two people bump into each other changing trains at Harrow-on-the-Hill station. In 2001, two strangers meet on a train bound for Edinburgh. In 2014 two...


To Bear Witness

While we, as a species, grapple with ongoing legacies of racism and violence, and as biodiversity loss and the mass extinction of wildlife on earth accelerates, the call to bear witness becomes ever more necessary. What might it mean - for ourselves and the other beings on this planet - if we were able to sorrow, if we knew how to grieve? As things disintegrate around us, is bearing witness a final act of love we can offer our world? “Loving and grieving are joined at the hip,” says...


The Rising Sea Symphony

The dramatic effects of climate change evoked in words, sounds and a powerful new musical work. Over four movements of rich and evocative music, the listener is transported to the front line of the climate crisis, with stories from coastal Ghana – where entire villages are being swept away by the rising sea – to Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in the high arctic where the ice is melting with alarming speed. The dramatic final movement ponders two contrasting possible outcomes to the crisis. In...


Brighstone 428

Artist Graeme Miller captures the poetry of the landline. In this half hour, we follow the arc of a single call from dialling to hanging up, taking in the sweep across the global landscape of the 20th century. He draws out the private habits and distinctive speech as well as the collective dreams and nightmares of the landlines art and culture. While collaging the mores and cadences of telephone behaviour and speech the piece also lands in the physical space of the landline - the actual line...



In the 1980s a young anthropologist entered the Amazon rainforest to try to find and live amongst a previously uncontacted tribe, known locally as the Outcasts. Feared by neighbouring groups through stories of secretiveness and violence, they were mythologised as spirit people. Laura's only companion on her trip was her nine-year-old daughter Emilia. Venturing deep into the forest, Laura and Emilia found the group and lived on their fringes for months. But with the Huaorani initially hostile...


The Soothing Presence of Strangers

Artist and musician Rhiannon Armstrong revisits a formative friendship from her childhood in a new light, with the help of some of the bus drivers and passengers from the W12 route in east London. We follow a journey of the W12 recorded in the summer of 2019, as it crosses from Walthamstow to Wanstead in East London. Two long term drivers on the route, Godfrey Stewart and Mohammed Shabir, share stories from their working life as it was then and as it is now, in spring/summer 2020 amid the...


The Milk Way

Poet Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch and composer Nina Perry create a radiophonic poem that explores the sounds and stories surrounding the flow of milk out of west Wales while the Welsh landscape flows into the sea. We hear the voice of the path itself “The Milk Walk” (Y Wac Laeth in Welsh) the route that both the milk and the Cardiganshire dairy workers took to London during the last century. We meet Mae, a young girl who took the milk train to work in a dairy in London in the 1960’s, and Jac...


Bar Answer

There comes a time in one’s life when you lose something truly important. A feeling someone once gave you. And on one of those endless, sleepless nights you find yourself thinking, surely I can get it back? In the wake of a painful relationship breakup, fllmmaker Anastasia Kirillova finds herself in Tokyo. By chance she stumbles upon Bar Answer, an out-of-the-way cocktail bar that serves as the front-office for a love detective agency. Sipping on drinks named ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Obsession’,...


Jump Blue

On 2 August 2015, the great Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova disappeared in Spanish territorial waters. Through sound, text and music, “Jump Blue” takes us to extraordinary depths in this immersive re-imagining of her final descent. Apnea, or freediving without breathing apparatus, requires the few who practise it to encounter a profound stillness as their heart rate slows and their lungs contract. In the darkness of the abyss, on a single breath, they truly meet themselves. In Hannah...


The Vet at the End of the World

Angry bulls, furious penguins, enraged seals! In the shadow of the volcano 'Between the Ears' gets a microphone close up to enjoy the action, as veterinarian Jonathan Hollins, gives us a taste of life with the remote animals and sea life of Tristan Da Cunha. On an island of a population of around 250 people, a thousand sheep and many more penguins, Joe also gets a flavour of what happened to the islanders when the volcano last erupted and they were forced to leave their homes, sixty years...


Second Side Up - a Life Captured in Radio

Second Side Up is the longest-running radio show that never was - the story of a life recorded to tape and edited into weekly radio show instalments. For over four decades, Mark Talbot recorded scenes from his life and used them to create a cassette radio show, which he called Second Side Up. Complete with music, interviews and phone-ins, Second Side Up sounded like professional work, but not a single episode was ever broadcast. The tapes were distributed to a tiny network of friends and...


Songs of the Mojave Desert

A collaboration with Natalie Diaz, celebrated Mojave American poet and language activist. Her award-winning poetry collection, When My Brother Was An Aztec, draws on her experiences growing up on the Fort Mojave Indian reservation, a 40,000 acre stretch of desert spanning California, Arizona and Nevada. Her hotly anticipated second collection, Post Colonial Love Poem, will be released in June. Natalie brings us to Mojave Valley, to the home of her uncle Hubert McCord. At 91, Hubert is the...


My Mother and Me

The Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson grew up in the theatre with an actress-mother who attuned him to what he calls "the realness of fakeness." The story goes that Ragnar was conceived during the filming of a sex scene involving his actor-parents, quaint footage of which was part of an installation during his acclaimed retrospective at the Barbican in 2016. And Kjartansson's mother has been central to his work, in a series of films recorded every five years, called 'Me and My...


Almost Gone

An ear floats off to the galaxies, listening in on Earth from a cosmic vantage. An audio-collage written and composed by Heather Phillipson, summoning the listener into a deranged sonic landscape, addressing the Earth as an eruption, on the verge of termination. Mixing bucolic lyric poem, music-sampling, the cut-up, weather forecasts, psychedelic literature and astronomic travelogue with the tone of a pre-recorded message from the beyond, Heather Phillipson’s feature proposes the ear as an...