The North Face’s Latest Expedition: A Music Streaming Station With Sonos
The "Never Stop Exploring" channel is a soundtrack to far-flung adventure destinations, overseen by Wilco's Mikael Jorgensen
Olivia Rodrigo is great, sure, but have you heard “Skiing Lhotse” by The Himalayas with Hilaree Nelson? How about “Dirty Gnar Gnar” featuring the sounds of Mount Poi and Mount Kenya with Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright?
Those are real tracks; they’re composed soundscapes of field recordings created by composer and multi-instrumentalist Mikael Jorgensen (of Wilco) along with narration by famous athletes. These … songs? … are part of a new collaboration by Sonos and The North Face called “Never Stop Exploring,” a new channel on Sonos Radio (it’s also available on MixCloud and YouTube).
Basically, this is a soundtrack for outdoor adventures, with sound taken from places like Alaska, Peru, Ethiopia and Japan during expeditions by the team at The North Face. The narration arrives via the aforementioned athletes — Nelson, Wright and climbing sensation Honnold — as well as others like Matty Hong and Emily Harrington.
The move is also a tie-in to the new Sonos Roam portable speaker (read our review here). “What we’ve created with the Never Stop Exploring station on Sonos Radio is so much more than the reimagined audio itself,” said Dmitri Siegel, VP of Content at Sonos Radio, in a statement. “The creativity of Mikael Jorgensen combined with the openness of the athletes reminiscing on their experiences has allowed us to create something sonically adventurous, offering fans and outdoor enthusiasts a truly immersive listening experience.”
So, how does it sound? I was typing this while listening to “Life Coach, Alaska” featuring the sounds of Ruth Gorge, Alaska with climbers Alex Honnold and Renan Ozturk; there was wind, walking, breathing, the sound of a water bottle opening, some talking and a minimalist synth score. It did (sort of) evoke the idea of being outside, or at least it was sort of a calming, soundtracked-take on a podcast devoted to the outdoors. “Dirty Gnar Gnar,” on the other hand, was close to metal. (Note: You can’t skip through the tracks unless you pay for Sonos Radio HD.)
If you want to try for yourself, the Never Stop Exploring station will play on any device (not just Roam). There aren’t a lot of sales right now, but the refurbished section of Sonos will save you a few bucks on a speaker or a soundbar, and the Roam new is currently just $169.
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