KCRW’s “Here Be Monsters” : Podcast Review

A podcast about the unknown.  And fear, impromptu home surgery, beetles that are fed with meat,  and a guy that hangs out in the graves he’s dug before the dead people are brought over (by the funeral home, relax).  But mostly fear.  The brainchild of a young and worried about the world and future and things in the world that are in the future man named Jeff Entmen, “Here Be Monsters” is a podcast which is best described as a curated collection of existential crises.  But that’s not all there is to it.

“Here Be Monsters” has an aesthetic to it that is, in my opinion, in a league of it’s own.  The music (also by Entmen, let that color your understanding of the episodes why don’t you), and more importantly, the soundscapes, play as much a part of the listeners experience as the conversations and stories told by Entmen’s guests/interviewees/eccentrics.  Entmen is not making an audio drama, but the dramatic effect is heightened by effort put into the rest of the sound space available to him in his stories.

The podcast also lives up to it’s tagline that plays at the top of every episode, “about the unknown.”  Entmen’s self professed reasoning for starting the show was to cover the unknown and what he feared the most.  The range of people and topics covered, from a part-time nudist that one summer, to researchers making the most unsettling use of beetles you’ve ever heard (I both recommend and shudder at the thought of wearing headphones for that episode), brings a depth to a show which could easily have fallen into a trap of doom, gloom, and death.

The most recent episode at the time of writing is one titled “Are We Still Afraid,” and while I can’t answer that for you, I think that there’s a lesson to be learned in confronting the things that you don’t know, and keeping going.  Regardless of how large or small the topic is, or if it’s just interesting, the change that we’ll experience is a matter of what we make it and the time we put in.  And if you want to put more time into the experience of the show, check out the photos he puts on the website.  They’re everything you could have imagined and more.

Do check out the show. And let me know what it’s about for you.


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