Geography Professor Max Ritts has listened to whale song on the north coast of British Columbia, using the sound to document species abundance and protect the area from the shipping industry. He’s gone behind the scenes with an indigenous heavy metal band, which used lyrics to address social, environmental, and political concerns in their community. Ritts discovered that acoustics are an avenue to research the areas that interest him most, such as capitalism, colonialism, social rights, social justice, environmental rights, and environmental justice.
“Sound is a gateway into those issues,” he says. “The prevailing political concern that I have as a geographer is indigenous rights and indigenous justice, and how we can use unusual tools and processes to think about those relationships.” Ritts recommends “Earth Sound Earth Signal” by Douglas Kahn and “Aurality” by Ana María Ochoa Gautier to anyone interested in exploring these topics.
This episode features the track “Prepare for War” by the band Gyibaaw.