Under Review

Here Be Monsters

Podcast Series

KRCW; 24/05/2017

Hailey Mah

“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”

You may recognize this quote from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – yet, it also perfectly sums up the experience of listening to the podcast Here Be Monsters. Like Lynch’s cult TV series, Here Be Monsters gives the audience an unforgettable glimpse of the secrets lurking in our everyday world. But, unlike Dale Cooper and the Black Lodge, these secrets actually exist.

Produced out of the Los Angeles-based KCRW, Here Be Monsters is a self-professed “podcast about the unknown.” Each episode begins by flooding one’s ears with intimate voiceovers, and one’s mind with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Topics revolve around science, death, religion, and politics, yet the stories being told often defy such simple labels.

In a compelling recent episode, “Sagittarius Has $45,” the subject reveals the toll that sex addiction has taken on his everyday life. His knowing wife keeps tabs on him at at all times of day to keep him in check. However, the constant pull of his addiction, which he projects onto an alter ego, is always present. This heavy tale is paired with a soundscape of guttural growling and distortion, emphasizing the moral ambiguity and struggle at play.

Another episode, “Snow on Date Trees, then On Pines,” describes how Muhammad Tariq’s fight to provide girls in Pakistan education led to persecution, and his ultimate exile to the United States. Now, he is fighting to freely live and love in a country where anti-Muslim sentiment runs strong.The episode explores how the threats of bigotry and bureaucracy from the United States, and corruption in Pakistan, keep Tariq in a frustrating limbo.

At first glance, these stories do not seem to have much in common. However, every episode of Here Be Monsters shines light on the unseen. The show dares to explore perspectives that may exist on the fringes of society, or are otherwise shunned away from. The producers approach them with extraordinary openness and access.

Here Be Monsters is a no-holds-barred dive into an audio world where the cerebral and the taboo coalesce. It’s also a master class in audio storytelling, allowing narratives to unfold with addictive anticipation. The unconventional tales from each episode will follow you around all day, but I guarantee that you will be grateful for their company.