Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs Considered
12:27 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

How To Never Miss Another Concert

Don't miss Merchandise in your town ever again.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:11 pm

I love live music. But figuring out who's coming to town and when and where isn't so easy. I could go to every club's website to compile a list of upcoming shows, but that'd be cumbersome. Newspaper listing are often incomplete, don't look ahead and certainly don't filter or highlight who's in town based on my musical tastes.

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All Songs Considered
12:47 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

First Watch: Efterklang, "The Ghost"

Courtesy of Efterklang

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 1:13 pm

"The video has a puzzle structure: the whole story progressively makes sense to the viewer as minutes go by."

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All Songs Considered
11:13 am
Fri March 22, 2013

New Sigur Rós, New Direction? Watch The Video For 'Brennisteinn'

Lygia Clark's cover art for Sigur Rós' forthcoming album, Kveikur.
Lygia Clark Courtesy of the artist

This is the most exciting new Sigur Rós song I've heard in a long time, and I love the band's music. "Brennisteinn" (sulfur) is a remarkably aggressive piece of music for musicians who can sound so ethereal: Dreamy elements remain, but they provide an underpinning rather than driving the pulse of the song.

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SXSW: Live From Austin
10:41 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Sinkane: NPR Front Row

Sinkane performs at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 9:36 am

There's a saunter to the music of Sinkane that feels breezy and a bit mysterious, like it's just a build-up to a hypnotic frenzy. That vibe is on display in this song, "Jeeper Creeper," performed on a perfect Thursday night at Clive Bar's Filter magazine-sponsored show during SXSW 2013 in Austin, Texas.

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SXSW: Live From Austin
7:03 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Telekinesis: NPR Front Row

Telekinesis performs songs from its new album at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:12 am

You don't often see drums set up right near the lip of a stage, but not every band has a drummer as its focal point. Michael Benjamin Lerner formed Telekinesis by himself, and he plays most of the instruments on his records. But live at The Parish during South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Lerner had a talented band that included Rebecca Cole from Wild Flag on keyboards, Erik Walters from The Globes on guitar and Eric Elbogen from Say Hi on bass.

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