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  • Writer's pictureThom Holmes

The Laughing Space

For this podcast, I share some sound effects from the Archives. These recordings are mostly from broadcast records used by radio, television, and film producers to add effects to their media works. The concept of "canned laughter" is definitely in play here. But so are the sounds of applause, audience ambience, crowds, and tag music. This is also a bit of an audio experiment in that after an opening sequence in which sounds are presented somewhat normally, to elicit normal responses, they gradually spiral into the realm of pure audio art in which looping, processing, and basic DJ techniques are used to modify the available sounds to create an overall texture. Every sound heard in this podcast comes from these library records and embraces either laughter, applause, or audience sounds.

The playlist for this episode details the recordings from which these sounds originate. Note that these recorded selections span early audience sounds on 78 RPM records through to the mid-eighties. There are monophonic records mixed with stereo recordings.

Episode 51


1. Laughter in Theatre/Applause in Theatre (1935 Columbia), 78 RPM UK disc.

2. Applause from Spotlight On Sound Effects (1962 Design Records), US disc.

3. Laughter and applause from Sound Effect Record No. 20 (1968 EMI), UK disc.

4. Vocal effects from BBC Sound Effects (circa 1968 BBC Sound Effects Centre), UK disc.

5. Fanfares from Limited Edition: Production Music (circa 1968 Mark Century Corp.), US disk.

6. Crowds, applause, audience from The New CBS Audio-File Sound Effects Library (1977 Columbia Special Products), US disk.

7. Restless crowd from The New CBS Audio-File Sound Effects Library, No. 16 (1977 BBC Records), UK disc.

8. Applause effects from Sound Effects Volume 23 (1979 Major Records), US disc.

9. Applause, various size audiences from Living Sound Effects Volume 5 (1983 Bainbridge), US disc.

10.Laughter and applause from Comedy Sound Effects No. 28 (1983 BBC Records), UK disc.

11.Tags and Stingers from Limited Edition: Production Music (circa 1968 Mark Century Corp.), US disc.

12. Announcements, Openings, Endings, and Intros from Limited Edition: Production Music (circa 1968 Mark Century Corp.), US disc.

· Plus a few misc. clips from broadcast and online sources.

· Software used to process sounds: VirtualDJ, Serato DJ Pro, MetaSynth CTX (Pitch and Time effect for creating tonal patterns from laughter).

Background music:

  • Misc. laughter and sound effects taken from the above sources.

Opening and closing sequences voiced by Anne Benkovitz.

Additional opening, closing, and other incidental music by Thom Holmes.

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Electronic and Experimental Music

Notes on the development and continuing history of electronic music, its creators, and the technology.

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