STRANGE SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST
The best ambience podcast, to me, will have abnormal ambience options.
I started craving strange ambience during the pandemic — crowded shopping malls, grocery stores… I wanted long-form podcasts to whisk me off into dull sound without goddam ads interrupting my three hours of dude vacuuming.
And I especially craved ambient situations of human interactions on grander scales. I doubt I need to explain feelings of isolation to anyone else. We went through covid19 — it’s still fresh on our minds.
The pandemic sucked, and we all made it through how we made it; there is no need to explain any of this to y’all. We all had our outlets. Tiger King, TikTok, Versuz, watching the 2020 Ball Drop, wishing we could climb into the screen and warn everyone not to stand so goddam close to each other.
I craved airplane ambience, retail ambience, prison ambience — anything weird.
I found some amazing ambience on music services and in podcast form. One favorite is a dude in Taiwan that records and publishes strange ambience — well, weird, according to my wife. “You want to listen to a guy sleeping in a hotel a world away from here?”
Weirdly, yes. And I wished there was more of it.
This is why I’ve decided to start collecting what I hope are different ambient experiences in my uncommon ambience podcast.
OVEN FAN; A DELIGHTFUL SUCK
I am a fan slut.
So while I’m hesitant to add to the mountain of fan ambience — that constant hum of engines spinning endlessly tickles my everything. And let’s face it, the best ambience podcast would include whirring fans blowing endlessly.
Speaking of fans, we don’t have an exceptional kitchen or anything — it’s your basic consumer-grade oven/ microwave combo. And the appliance’s fan sucks up the smoke and Steak-umm vapors through a series of metal grates and then back out into the room above the microwave.
Which, what the hell is the point of that anyway? Is the thinking that the kitchen will fill up with smoke regardless — might as well pull the smoke from the face and deposit it in my hair?
The way I fry Steak-umms, the whole kitchen is about to be enveloped in exhaust regardless. Sans the smell of meat, I could hand out espressos and host a poetry slam.
Why don’t all kitchens have an exhaust that shoots oven smells outside?
Every time I cook Steak-umms, my house smells like Steak-umms until the next time I cook Steak-umms. I don’t eat Steak-umms that often, and yet my house is constantly smelling like pumpkin/ Steak-umms — my wife burns seasonal candles to mask the meat stench that clings to the walls, the ceiling, and our clothing.
It doesn’t have to be one of those gigantic holes in the ceiling that suck out the entire room — just give me something to expel a percentage.
Regardless, your basic oven/ microwave combo fan is enchanting. It knows it’s doing a shit-job — but is so endearing about it. Like if the “I think I can” train fucking failed, you can’t strip cute from failure. The oven purrs an even suck. It’s delightful.
THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST SHOULD INCLUDE BASEMENT BOUNCY CASTLES
Who has access to a large fan made for blowing up and keeping a small basement bouncy castle inflated? This guy — and having the best ambience podcast never entered the equation.
I have elementary-aged kids. And they didn’t give a shit that mommy and daddy had to work while we were all stuck in the same house together for friggin’ ever.
There was no escaping our children during the lockdown. Bob, the Builder, and the Backyardigans lost their sway with our kids about two minutes after the lockdown began.
And I doubt I am the one parent who wound up buying something absolutely absurd in the hopes that it would buy just five minutes of kid STFU time.
Our giant bouncy castle fan has a mighty blow that resembles a smaller jet’s cabin mid-flight — with a crisp, almost tv static finish.
As someone who accidentally fell asleep in the castle in mid-April 2020 only to wake up two hours later, stumble up the stairs, and into wife sarcasm, “ah yeah, you get to take naps,” ambush… I can stand behind the persistent calming hum of the basement bouncy castle fan.
Another quirky ambience location I chose was the freezer. And it is surprisingly loud in there. As the sounds are muffled significantly while the door is closed, I never noticed. Freezers remain closed for a reason, and I bet freezer doors are shut as close as you can get to 99% over the freezer’s lifetime.
FIGURATIVELY CHILLING IN THE FREEZER
Still, I’m surprised I never noticed how loud it is inside the freezer — my mother froze practically everything, and the rest she refrigerated. I have a lot of history with freezers.
This practice usually affected me around lunchtime on weekends. Our hot dog buns were frozen, and the turkey franks were in the meat compartment of the fridge. “Sit down. It’s lunchtime,” she would say. And if I could hear the purr of the microwave, it meant that lunch was the usual, microwaved hot dog, everything.
She would break one frozen bun brick from the rest by cracking it over the kitchen counter and then install the refrigerated dog between the ice crystals.
She then placed the entirety in the microwave for one minute. The result would often come from the microwave flopping off half of another bun that had broken off over the counter. Plonking it like an extra steaming lip.
Have you ever microwaved a hotdog for one minute in the fridge? The sausage explodes and shrivels. The bun rages hot and soft. As the Freddy Krueger sandwich cools, the bread stiffens into a foam texture if you don’t eat it fast enough. Look, just don’t ever microwave bread.
My freezer ambience has a chill, almost industrial grey noise vibe. You will feel at home in the freezer if you enjoy airplane cabin ambiance. The best ambience podcast should include more freezer options (note to self — sneak into a bodega freezer case).
Also… massive fan of airplane ambience, and not at all fond of actual flight. I’ve spent entire flights locking myself in the loo.
WE NEED MORE MEAT AMBIENCE
Do you want to start an argument? Would you like to create a non-political post on your Facebook that will go viral in all the worst ways? Bacon is an excellent substitute for a non-sports, non-political shit post that will derail an entire timeline.
Ask your followers, “Seriously, guys, what is the best way to cook bacon?”
Then, hint that you’re starting to side with the Bacon Wave crowd. Sit back and enjoy the Braveheart movie battle scene that unfolds in your comments. The “my gawd, you are out of your mind microwaving meat;” to the “bacon is bad for your health!”
“I heard that if you bake the bacon in an oven, it is better than bacon on a frying pan.”
“What the hell are you talking about? It’s bacon. There is no way to make bacon safer.”
“You could start eating turkey bacon.”
“Look, Sheryl, you can go to hell.”
“NO, YOU GO TO HELL, TOM! YOU STOLE THAT CAR LAST YEAR, AND I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING!”
“Guys, guys, can we just agree that bacon needs to be thoroughly cooked? I had salmonella and shit my brains out for a week.”
“I like my bacon chewy, asswipe.”
“I’M CALLING THE POLICE, TOM!”
So enjoy an hour of sizzling bacon while you sit back and start timeline havoc. And if you’re still looking for bacon content, check out my further thoughts on Elvis sandwiches and online bacon arguments.
THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST WOULD INCLUDE BACON FIGHTS AND BUGS
If arguments are not your thing and you yearn for something quieter, more earthy (hippy COUGH). Days back, I recorded a minor ballad of the bugs in my backyard.
Insect ambience isn’t precisely uncommon ambience; I’m sure there is a bunch out there. Just — my house is never quiet. I somehow got out of shopping for a pumpkin with the kids.
This means I get a quiet Sunday to stare off toward the horizon contemplating my existence. By the way — I am fully exploring my mid-life crisis over here. Suddenly I did not want to be alone.
I regretted offering to make chili while the family was away — buying minor-holiday decorations was instantly something I wanted to do.
In the quiet, I noticed the bugs in the back being chatty AF. It was a nice distraction to tackling the thought that even as accessible and cheap gravy is — how easy gravy is to acquire, to make… I will no longer experience gravy for an entire eternity.
Bathroom fans are an enigma in that there isn’t an industry standard for the noise they make.
THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST NEEDS TO TRANSPORT LISTENERS TO SAFETY
You could have three bathrooms in your home, and the sound could vary widely. One fan may sound very regimented and efficient, seemingly expecting to be called up to the big leagues of executive washrooms anytime. The newer, deafening fans that need to let the entire house know how hard they are working. And then there are the squeaky deadbeat fans that take forever to get to a constant rotation. All the while whining its ungreased grievances.
I have experienced many fans throughout my life, not just as a courtesy to other humans around me. My mother often turned on bathroom fans in hotels when we were traveling. Usually, it would be the only noise drowning out my parent’s snoring and other frightful night noises of those unfamiliar bedrooms.
Once, we stayed at a hotel that reminded me of the Hitchcock horror I would sneak watch on HBO well after my parents had gone to sleep. The bathroom was tiny and overlooked a temple whose name conjured wicked thoughts in her that she openly discussed with my father.
We still (sorta’) believed a fat dude climbed down our chimney delivering gifts every year. It was not hard to believe that the evil spirits she conjured from the dark temple outside the bathroom window could invade that unfamiliar room. I was terrified.
Fortunately, the hotel room’s fan worked, and it was loud. I focused on the sound and rode the sound waves into sleep.
FANS AND DELIVERANCE
Box fan ambience – I’m a gen x guy who lived in a household with the Home Box Office. And my parents would let whatever was on play. So I saw Carpenter’s The Thing and Spielberg’s Poltergeist when I was very young. I remember seeing countless people murdered on television before I was ever allowed to open the fridge (permission-wise).
Often my parents would use HBO as a catalyst to speed both myself and my twin sister toward our rooms. “Are you sure you wouldn’t want to sit up and watch the boy being eaten by the tree again?” It was a threat that if we didn’t start sauntering up the stairs around, “they’re here…” we would be up all night dreaming of murderous clowns and pools filled with skeletons.
My only hero in the 80s was my big damn box fan. My big damn box fan blew away my nighttime childhood rogues gallery. Thunder was no match, my baby sister crying was no match, and the weird scratching noises under my bed were muffled by my giant fan set too high. I now impart this force of good and wish you many untroubled nights as the clowns observe your sleep from the crack in the glowing closet.
THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST CAN’T BE MINE
I wouldn’t insist that my podcast channel, Uncommon Ambience, is home to the best ambience podcast experience; that is undoubtedly the aspiration. Yet weak sauce to claim as much now.
I’m a big fan of the ambience channel from the fellow in Taiwan I mentioned at the top. As these sounds were recorded a world away, they offer a window into a place many will never see. It’s interesting to pick out the differences and similarities in another society. Next thing you know, you’re asleep.
There’s a channel that only published a single ambience podcast that (seemingly) composites canned sound effects into a lengthy soundscape. And it does a good job; it is one of my favorite channels sans the single episode. The atmosphere the pod paints is a cozy coffee house hosting some jazz musicians while it rains.
A city traffic podcast is also among my favorites. The busy outdoor experiences were something I lustily consumed during the height of lockdown.
And finally, the channel I visit the most often is ASMR, which hosts some of the longest and best ambience experiences in podcast forms. Good storms, good wind, train rides — I love it.
So there you have it, a brief exploration of my favorite new podcast, some top picks, and a bunch of other words.
FINALLY, THE BEST AMBIENCE PODCAST?
Why anchor the best ambience podcast candidates at the bottom of my missive? Don’t be mad; read this blog about burying the blog point in an avalanche of words to improve a post’s SEO. That’s right, blame Google.
And if you have any podcast suggestions, I want to hear them. I am not married to any of the podcasts listed above and I crave fresh sounds for sleep.