This week, PRX saw the debut of Stylus, which producers Conor Gillies and Zack Ezor describe as a “host-less documentary show navigating ideas, artifacts, histories, cultures, and places along the mysterious terrain of sound and music.”
Episode one is meditation on the idea of silence. It drifts seamlessly from John Cage to Beethoven to Zen Buddhism to The Shining, creating a dreamy landscape of voices and ideas and music.
Stylus began as an academic project while Conor was studying history and journalism at Boston University. At the time, Conor was also interning at WBUR’s Here and Now, which is where he met Zack, the station’s Member Services Coordinator. The two collaborated on the show’s pilot episode with help from WBUR’s Innovation Lab.
Like many young producers, Conor points to This American Life and Radiolab as the shows that got him interested in radio. But it was the work of Canadian producer Paolo Pietropaolo who helped Conor realize the kind of sound that he wanted for Stylus. “I really love the idea of an hour long show, with no host, to curate voices together with interesting music,” Conor told me over the phone.
Alas, this is but a teaser of what Stylus will become. The show will go on hiatus for a year while Conor and Zack create a six-episode season. Conor says he’s excited. “This will be a first step into a longer journey of sound and music and listening cultures.”
Take a listen to the first episode: