From Our Soundbooth | August 29, 2018

Today, we’re excited to share with you the sound project that was selected by Guest Judge Avery Trufelman as the 2018 Miller Audio Prize Runner-Up in the Documentary category: “Let It Beep” by Mark Bramhill. About the piece, Trufelman said, “It’s not often that technology reporting can be so beautiful and human. Honestly, I had heard interviews with Jim Reeks before, but never anything like this. Very cleverly and succinctly told, with heaps of joy in Bramhill’s voice. Now whenever I hear someone take a picture, I’ll think of this story.”

Bramhill shared these words about his story:

I’m the type to obsess over things most people might deem ‘boring.’ The history of US fire suppression policy or the regulation of highway traffic congestion may not seem exactly scintillating. But these subjects, and other like them, are fascinating once you immerse yourself in their minutiae and uncover their secrets. With my audio documentary work, I use the power of narrative to reveal the drama hiding in the seemingly mundane. Fun, captivating characters and the stories they share make abstract ideas concrete, dramatic, even exciting.  
With “Let it Beep,” (aired October 2017), I applied this approach to one of my longest-running obsessions: the Apple Macintosh. In examining the origin of three sounds by designer Jim Reekes, I try to unpack what it means to be an artist or a craftsperson with famous work, but to live without fame or recognition. Along with it: being a punk at a corporate giant, music theory, and The Beatles. 
Mark Bramhill is an independent radio and film producer based in Houston, TX. He is the creator and host of the podcast Welcome to Macintosh, where this piece originally aired. His work has appeared on 99% InvisibleTwenty Thousand Hertz, and NPR stations across the country.
Listen to “Let it Beep” by Mark Bramhill here: