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Abstracts ARP08 (part 1)

 

Eliot Bates    University of California Berkeley    
Ron's right arm: tactility, visualization, and the synesthesia of audio engineering

The bulk of scholarship on audio engineering and studio musicianship generally considers the practices and practitioners in terms of musical and technical knowledges. When a reference is made to sensory perception, it is typically to listening and hearing practices: audiophilia, critical listening (golden ears), and technologies of audition. However, particularly in light of computer-based workflows, audio engineering has come to be a practice defined by a carefully developed synesthesia of critical listening, visualization of digital audio, and tactile manipulations of interfaces.
In this paper I draw on literature in the emerging field of sensory scholarship, in particular Brian Massumi’s theorization of synesthesia and affect, in order to understand how changing and emergent practices of audio engineering are necessarily theorized as a strategic retraining of the senses. I draw diverse examples from field research conducted in the US and Turkey. One example – Ron’s right arm – explores how one audio engineer uses his right arm to “feel” when the bass is right in a rock mix. Another example explores how the creation of “büyük ses” (big sound) in Anatolian ethnic music is dependent upon millisecond-level visualizations and manipulations in the Protools edit window. Various bass frequency sound sources are deliberately moved out of sync so as to create the effect of a single huge bass drum sound while avoiding the use of compression. Turkish engineers know what this bass sound will sound like by seeing precisely staggered attacks of the individual parts that make up this composite sound.
In both cases, bass is something that is felt or seen, but not immediately audible. Yet, audition is still important in these practices as a confirmation of other-sensory knowledge. Through an attention to synesthesia, we can better understand how audio engineers perform their craft.

Samantha Bennett        Surrey University    
Revolution sacrilege! Examining the technological divide among record producers in the late 1980s

The mid to late 1980s was a pivotal time in recording and production technology. As the use of MIDI, samplers, computers and digital tape recording crept into the professional studio, this technology was hailed as revolutionary by some and met with a barrage of technological pessimism by others.
This paper examines how technology divided record producers, splitting them essentially into two camps towards the end of the 1980s – the traditionalist and the technophiliac. How did the use of traditional and modern recording and production methods impact on the music of the late 1980s? This paper will consider the influence on record producers of the time of manufacturers, audio industry periodicals and peer pressure, and will analyse producers’ attitudes towards a changing technological landscape. The presentation will include examples and quotes from figures as varied as Mutt Lange, Daniel Lanois, Steve Levine and Stock, Aitken & Waterman.

Ragnhild Brøvig-Andersen        University of Oslo   
Opaque Mediation: the use of the cut and paste tool

In my paper I will present my concept of ‘opaque and transparent mediation’, and discuss the aesthetic ideal of ‘opaque mediation’. ‘Opaque mediation’ means an exposure of mediating technology. In music where the mediation is opaque, the listeners’ focus is not only directed at what is mediated, but also at the mediation itself. The opposite of opaque mediation is ‘transparent mediation’, where the mediating technology captures a minimum of the listeners’ attention. In music where the production-ideal is transparent mediation, the function of the medium is to convey and embellish what is already there, rather than creating something new. The production-ideal in music where the mediation is opaque is on the contrary that the mediation leaves pronounced impressions on the sound. There are many forms of opaque mediation in music. It may for instance be editing tools or processing effects that are being exposed, technological glitches or bi-effects that are used as musical elements, or an exposure of the use of samples. In my paper I will mainly focus on opaque mediation in terms of an exposure of the use of the digital cut-and-paste tool. Different ways of using this tool as an important compositional instrument will be discussed, and demonstrated with musical examples from the electronica genre. Opaque mediation emphasizes the problematics of the established terms “composer”, “musician” and “musical instrument”, which subject I also will discuss in my paper.

Mark Butler        University of Pensylvania    
Playing with “Something that Runs”:
Listener Orientation in Performances of Electronic Dance Music

In electronic dance music (EDM), conceptions of sound as recorded object are immediately apparent, not only in production but also in performance. Indeed, recordings—whether the twelve-inch vinyl of the DJ set or the digital loops and samples of the laptop performance—are the principal formative elements of EDM performance. Artists present these raw materials to audiences through an array of technologies associated with recording as well as through many of its techniques.
My paper explores how the introduction of recording practices and technologies into live performance fosters distinctive attitudes and responses toward sound among EDM musicians. Drawing upon field research with Berlin-based performers in 2005–07, I discuss musicians’ numerous epistemologically oriented descriptions of sound. Whereas most sources on technology in EDM have emphasized its accessibility and low cost, my approach highlights the experiential possibilities afforded by EDM’s technologically mediated performance practices.
Laptop musicians, for instance, frequently use the language of discovery to characterize their performances: they “find” a perfect combination between two loops; they “realize” a new way in which a track might be arranged; they “hit upon” previously unknown sonic possibilities. They projected a serendipitous, externally oriented attitude onto music they themselves wrote, hearing and evaluating it during performance as if they were listening to a recording by someone else. I describe this perspective on sound as “listener orientation.” A DJ or laptop set characterized by listener orientation is simultaneously performative and interpretive; it encompasses both the production and consumption of sound. Whereas conventional musicians must continuously devote their attention to producing notes, EDM performers initiate technological processes that, once set in motion, generate sound without ceasing. By sharing sound-production responsibility with machines in this way, they are able to actively create and experience a musical event at the same time.

David Carter            Griffith University    
Paper Proposal: Bor Pen Nyang - 12 Months in the Lao Music Industry

Between March 2007 and March 2008 I lived and worked in Lao as an Australian Youth Ambassador in a music industry development role with Lao  record label, Indee Records.  This paper relates my experiences of working in the Lao music industry examines the ways in which the democratisation of audio recording production and distribution are effecting the developing Lao music industry and the divergent ways in which the decade old music industry has dealt with the issues of music piracy and digitisation.  This paper also explores the relationship of digital distribution and music 2.0 buzzwords such as 'long tail', 'flat earth' and 'niche market' to the practical realities faced by developing music industries where english is not the dominant language and the cost of reliable internet access is prohibitive.

Alexander Case    University of Massachusetts Lowell    
Studio timbre – sound fx and close microphones.

Recording engineers -- particularly in pop and rock genres -- regularly make
aggressive use of signal processing and have a long tradition of placing
microphones exceptionally close to the sound sources they wish to record. Not a gesture towards realism, heavy-handed effects and close microphone techniques are born, in part, of the passionate need to refine and redefine timbre.
Instrumental timbre is a starting point; microphone selection, microphone
placement, EQ, compression, distortion, delay, and reverb follow. Each offers
opportunities to modify source timbres track by track, and fabricate entirely new net timbres in the mix. The tools of the recording studio empower the artist to create a loudspeaker performance unburdened by the timbral constraints of the individual multitrack pieces that make-up the arrangement so they may better connect what they imagine in their mind with what they create in the recorded work of art.

Anne Danielsen        University of Oslo    
Beats and bytes – the role of digital media for the rhythmic design of contemporary popular music

The overall topic of this paper is how the concrete sound of and recording process behind a pop tune relate to the possibilities and constraints of its production tools. Focusing in particular on quantization of rhythm tracks and other forms of temporal manipulation of events at the micro-rhythmic level, I seek a more nuanced understanding of the specific role of digital media used for music production the last 10-15 years. After a brief presentation of some theoretical issues related to the question of music and media, I will investigate how digital music technology has influenced the sound and rhythm of some selected music productions from the fields of pop and contemporary R&B. The discussion will concentrate on the following questions: what are the characteristic features of computer-generated designs of micro-rhythmic events, and in what ways and to what extent have the digital tools for music production changed our understanding of rhythmic well-formedness?

Bob Davis    Leeds Metropolitan University    
Creative ownership and the case of the sonic signature or, I’m listening to this record and wondering whodunit?

Listening to recordings can be something akin to reading a detective story; you know what happened but you don’t know whodunit. Moreover, the recorded sounds not only invite you to consider who did what but how it was done. The approach to any whodunit differs from person to person. Sherlock Holmes relied on his seemingly infallible logic whereas Columbo seemed clueless right until the end. But what of the academic detectives - what would they make of the clues embedded in the recording especially one where, you can be assured, the evidence has been tampered with in some way? Over the past few years a number of academic detectives have begun to develop frameworks for approaching recordings as a musical or performative text. The recording therefore stands as an object and embedded in this object are the multifarious processes that went into its construction which we, as academics, would wish to reveal.
This paper looks at the current work of academic detectives in the field of the sonic arts to consider if the current frameworks hold up to close scrutiny. A key consideration in this paper will be to investigate the ways that these frameworks help us understand the how the creative power is distributed between musicians, producers, record companies and technicians. In addition, we consider how the text reveals, retrospectively, the processes behind this creative power and in particular, the role of the artist-producer who seems to be the leading suspect in the creation of an identifiable sound or sonic signature. The investigation looks in particular at working practice in the studio of a particular generation of producers from the mid 1970s until the 1990s to see if any of the frameworks offer a real insight into the creative processes of the studio. In conclusion, the paper argues that in developing systematic frameworks, we may undervalue the power of the hermeneutic hunch in solving the problem of creative ownership in the case of the sonic signature.

Paul Draper        Griffith University    
On disintermediated culture, education, and craft

The recording industry became the canary in the coalmine for copyright law when digitization unwittingly liberated the intellectual property in sound recordings, firstly via CD then later in the MP3, a container technology perfectly designed for promiscuity. Music wars now wage around massive shift in the relationships between musicians and audiences. However, the notion of a career musician remains ambiguous in a bifurcated debate which on the one hand assumes high-level skill as embedded within the camp of ‘industry’, and on the other, that technology-empowered consumption includes new elements of interactivity and ‘prod-usage’. Disintermediation literature examines corporate entities and audiences, yet makes little reference to the disintegrating Fordist production chain that once existed in the former’s power structures.
This article examines the effects of such compression on the education of those seeking to become artistic leaders in this new future. As shop-floor labour becomes crowd-sourced and consumers ever-engaged, corporate pathology remains fascinated with the distribution and ownership of intellectual property yet decreasingly caring for its nurturing and invention. Universities now take a central role in the development of craft, creativity and the independent innovation attributes of its graduates.
While consumer technologies and web 2 may bring liberating potentials, opportunities to develop important generic skills and admirable citizenship ideals, there remains the prospect that DIY culture lacks depth, that expanded access to production and exhibition is only one in a set of necessary conditions that include a critique, a goal, a community, and a context. There are matters of technique, excellence and differentiation which apply to preparing and sustaining a career. There are aspects of definition where success may not be measured by simplistic stardom-or-bust sound-bytes propagated by mass media hyperbole. If web 2 is part of the answer, then we need to be asking the right questions.

Joshua Duchan    Kalamazoo College
Whose Voice?: Discourse and Practice in Collegiate A Cappella Recording

In collegiate a cappella, self-directed groups of student singers on college campuses perform popular songs, recreating and rerecording them without instrumentation. Stylistically, the genre balances an emulative imperative—a song should sound like its original artist’s recording—with a desire for originality. Each year, certain recordings are selected for the annual Best of College A Cappella (“BOCA”) compilation album. But in recent years, BOCA has come under fire for the kinds of production techniques its tracks use to achieve this emulative goal, raising the issue of authenticity within the musical practice. As voices are increasingly treated like instruments, one critic asked, “has the spirit of a cappella been lost?”
This paper examines the stylistic changes evident in thirteen editions of BOCA (1995–
2007). Analyses of the lively discourse surrounding collegiate a cappella recording practices and several representative examples reveal three issues of concern to this musical community: the way the recording process mediates ideas of authorship, the essentially human quality of the voice, and the (inter)national competitive field of a cappella recordings. Digital technologies that affect pitch and timbre, add distortion, and create patterns of sounds that were never actually performed raise critical issues and incite passionate debate, while the BOCA competition annually reinvigorates an economy of prestige in which collegiate a cappella musicians earnestly participate.
As a genre and practice, collegiate a cappella has received scant attention from scholars.
Yet the music is thriving, with over 1200 scholastic groups nationwide (many of which engage in recording projects regularly), an emerging professional scene, and a growing international presence. By looking at the ways musical practice, studio technology, and discourse intersect in this context, we can better understand larger issues in popular, youth, and amateur music, and in musical technoculture.

Kirstin Ek        University of Virginia    
The Cowboy Bluesman: Voice and the Expression of Musical Identity in Leadbelly’s Recorded Music

Leadbelly – as Huddie Ledbetter was more commonly known – was an early twentieth-century folk collector’s dream: he had a vast repertoire of songs, played the guitar with the utmost folk virtuosity, and could be promoted to Northern audiences as an African American murderer from the rural South. Much has been written on how Leadbelly was discovered in the prison and collected by John Lomax, as well as how Lomax went on to exploit his talents, and helped construct this strange persona. Yet, what has become of Leadbelly’s greatest legacy? I am referring, of course, to his sizable and incredibly diverse body of recorded music.
This paper examines how, in the case of Leadbelly, scrutiny of his recorded sound can shine light through his historical persona as John Lomax’s utterly uncommercial folkster to other, vitally important facets of his musical identity. Dissecting Leadbelly’s vocal style – including his use of Jimmie Rodgers’ blue yodel, and other melodic-timbral inflections – over several versions of his song, “Western Cowboy”, I suggest that Leadbelly’s musical expressions were, in fact, influenced by commercially popular styles and artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He was not the isolated, rural folkster, but was rather a musical chameleon, and a professional, to boot.
Furthermore, the example of “Western Cowboy” illustrates the possibilities of studying Leadbelly’s body of recorded work as more than a result of the folk revival, or even more specifically, as more than the mere machinations of a domineering John Lomax. Rather, Leadbelly’s music could be studied as a frame through which to study the folk movement, or as an example of cross-genrefication between folk and commercial styles.

Rob Finder            Sydney
NOISICIAN

“Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”
John Cage, 1957
Noisician looks at the relationship between art and the machine throughout the 20th century. This changing relationship affects the definition and aesthetic of music. No longer is music a formal medium written on staves and performed by trained musicians. Sounds have been developed rhythmically and melodically to create a musical form. It has become a hybrid of notation and noise.
Noisician’s theory draws from the methods and ideologies of Futurism, Musique Concrete and contemporary music forms such as industrial, glitch and electronic. It embodies the post-digital climate, where artists are no longer restricted to formal notation and composition.
“At what point does noise lose its noiseness and become meaning, music, signification?” (Hegarty, 2001). Questions that Noisician raise include “How do noises affect the listener?” and “Why do these noises affect the listener in a negative way?” It goes beyond the literal interpretation of the lyrics, examining dissonance, harmonics and intervals as methods of
expression within the audio realm.
The ‘musician’ draws notions of the classically trained individual, expressing his or herself through carefully notated movements and pieces. Kim Cascone argues that “the technical requirements for being a musician in the information age may be more rigorous than ever before” (Cascone, 2000) and we are now in a stage where the ‘musician’ is a hybrid of computer user and music maker.
As a result of my research, I see that “the art form has been given such wide scope as to render its capabilities limitless” (Novak, 2001). There are infinite ways in which musicians are able to interact with their instruments and electronic systems, and I do not doubt that this will further enrich music. Artists will create new sounds, new forms and new methods, and we can only guess where the future of music will lead us.

Shana Goldin-Perschbacher    University of Yale
“For Today I am a Boy”: Antony’s Negotiations of Whiteness, Transgender, Gay Sexuality, and Cross-Nationality via “Black” Vocality

Antony confounds identity categorization. In some interviews he calls himself gay, in one
transgendered, but many times he evades these questions altogether. He’s white but sounds to some fans and critics like an African American singer. Lou Reed used to bring friends to
Antony’s New York concerts with the playful promise of hearing a black transsexual. Instead, audiences find a white, six-foot tall man singing poignant and earnest songs in first person narration about characters in transformation, people who want to be someone or something else. He sings, “Someday I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful woman… but for today I am a boy.” To complicate matters, British-born Antony has lived since age eight in America. Antony winning the Mercury Prize, an honor bestowed upon the best album of the year in the UK, was controversial to those who didn’t consider him truly British. Seemingly in response to this cross- Atlantic tension, Hegarty considers his singing voice to be “home,” rather than his speaking voice, which changes accent when he’s worried about fitting in. But what does it mean for this “home” to sound “black”? And what does it mean for listeners to be attracted mainly to the sound of his voice?
I analyze the sound of Antony’s voice as physically and technically produced (by Antony himself as producer) on his albums, Antony and the Johnsons (1999) and I Am A Bird Now (2005), as well as his appearance as a vocalist in the new queer post-disco band Hercules and Love Affair’s debut self-titled album (2008), to discuss his complex negotiation of identity in relation to his musical inspirations: the gay avant-rock of downtown New York in the 1980s, disco music of the 1970s (especially Sylvester), gender-transgressive emotional British pop of the 1980s, and African American female gospel and soul vocality.

Eliot Grasso        University of Oregon
Paradox in the Clash of Traditional Music and Consumer Expectations: Recording the Uilleann Pipes

This paper deals with recording Irish Traditional music on Ireland’s native bagpipe, the uilleann pipes. It will contrast the paradox of norms and expectations in Traditional music culture with those of the record-consuming public. The ethos of the Irish Traditional music community stresses a lively, vibrant, spontaneous, and gritty performance. Audiences laud unintentional moves if the performer can gracefully save himself from his own errors. Such a performance would typically occur in a formal concert setting, in a pub, or at a céilí. However, recording situations are typically dissimilar to these settings acoustically, socially, and culturally.
To be specific, the uilleann pipes have a small resonating body: the wind cap of the chanter. In light of this acoustical limitation, the sound-absorbing qualities of a studio space have a marked effect on the way a piper approaches both instrument and technique. With a dry studio space, the uilleann piper may be apt to play more double grace notes to simulate the reverberation of a standard performance venue. The use of headphones likewise creates similar issues in terms of how a take can be misrepresentative of an actual performance. Other important considerations relevant to the instrument’s morphology are the three components of the uilleann pipes that can be activated independently of one another: chanter, drones, and regulators. Is it economical to record these three parts of the instrument separately given the challenges of studio climate and acoustics and the technical ability to do so? The consumer market does not expect or wish to hear mistakes or grit characteristic of the Traditional paradigm in a commercial recording because consumers have been conditioned over time to unquestioningly accept the highly-processed quality of style and performance facilitated by modern recording equipment. Based on my extensive experience as a recording artist in Irish Traditional music, I propose here a close examination of the ideals and preconceptions that can and perhaps should be considered when approaching a recording project.

Andrew Gwilliam        University of Glamorgan
The “Perfect” Performance

Perceptions of ‘perfection’ in recorded music are dependent on a complex set of factors.  This paper will investigate the influence of real life and strict tempo regulation on the reception of a recorded rock performance.
A rock track will be recorded with a band of a high performance standard in free time (no click track). This performance will then be mixed. The track will then be edited and the performance timings put into a strict time grid.
The two versions will then be played to listeners and their reactions analysed. The listeners will be divided into various categories by musical experience, age, preferred listening etc.
This paper will form part of an ongoing investigation which will be looking at the reactions listeners to the editing of performances in different musical styles from rock to jazz to pop to classical.
This paper will be a step to finding out the way that listener’s react to performances in recording and whether the reactions are dependant on age and musical experience and should provide valuable information for producer’s in the development of recordings for commercial release.  

Thomas Haines    University of Cincinnati
Opening Your Ears: A Creative Listening Skills Web Site

Opening Your Ears is a web site designed to train the emerging audio recording students to open their ears by having them develop skillful listening through a set of guided experiences. Hearing is largely taken for granted and skillful listening nearly a forgotten art. Skillful listening expands brain activity by focusing mental energy on the task at hand. And being “on task” is a vitally important attribute of all successful college students. The guided experiences are designed to create at immersive environment for the student through the exploration of diverse “listening languages”, “scientific cultures” and shared experiences. This web site celebrates the young persons passion for music by leveraging this affinity it into new critical ways of listening.
This paper presentation will outline some the underlying pedagogical framework of the 15 listening experiences that have been created to guide the student through a mind expanding journey. Beginning with common experiences that prepare for the student for the journey ahead, the path seamlessly progresses into the nature of sound - surveying the expansive terrain of the ear-brain relationship and the musical universe. Connecting these diverse relationships prepares the student to integrate them into more evolved listening skills. The journey concludes at the gate of transcendent knowledge – extending their world view and the immediate rewards of skillful listening.
Some of the guided listening experiences include:
• Listening Outside-In by experiencing “classical” logic
• Opening Your Ears by quieting the mind
• Sound Words used to investigate language
• Mind Games using sound to create mental images
• Opening Envelopes as a discovery path into the nature of sound
• Listening in Layers opens the ear to a “functional” level of music understanding
• Building Bridges as a mind expanding devise similar to those used in meditation
The eye takes a person into the world but the ear brings the world into a person.

Paul Harkins        Edinburgh / Napier University
The Sampler as Compositional Tool

Brian Eno describes the studio as a compositional tool which has enabled composers to enjoy a more direct relationship with sound. My paper will explore the use of the digital sampler as one of the studio tools that forms part of this creative process and the research focuses on interviews with a group of local Edinburgh musicians called Found who successfully combine the writing of pop songs with the sampling of found sounds. The core song-writing partnership share an art school background and I’m keen to discover if they use the sampler and other tools to sculpt sound in a similar way to how they paint. What does the artists’ studio look like (if indeed it is a single place) and how important is the sampler in the song-writing process and studio work? What do they prepare beforehand in terms of melody, lyrics and song structure or is the whole piece constructed in the studio? Does the sampler form part of what Eno describes as ‘an additive approach to recording’ which enables musicians ‘to chop and change, to paint a bit out, add a piece…’? The literature on digital sampling has been skewed towards its disruptive consequences for copyright law and, while legal questions will not be ignored, I am keen to focus as much on the music making process and the aesthetic choices made by composers in the studio. Recent ethnographic work by Joseph Schloss has centred on these questions in relation to Hip-Hop and it’s important to examine and understand how the sampler continues to be used by musicians in a wide variety of genres.

Jay Hodgson    
The Time-Lag Accumulator As A Technical Basis For Brian Eno's Large-Scale Ambient Repertoire, 1973-1978

    Commentators typically exaggerate the influence Erik Satie had on Brian Eno while he developed his large-scale ambient repertoire throughout the 1970s (i.e., No Pussyfooting (1973), Discreet Music (1975) and Ambient One: Music For Airports (1978)).  Though Satie's concept of a musique d'ameublement ("furniture music") was important enough to warrant mention in Eno's notes for Discreet Music (1975), the first record he produced expressly for interior design, and while Satie's influence is easily discernible on Eno's later collaborations with Harold Budd, Cluster, Roger Eno, Laarji and Daniel Lanois  — i.e., Cluster & Eno (1977), After The Heat (1978), Ambient Two: The Plateaux of Mirrors (1980), Ambient Three: Day of Radiance (1980), Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (1983), The Pearl (1984) and Thursday Afternoon (1985) — by far the more crucial contributions came from American Minimalist composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.  In fact, Riley's so-called "time-lag accumulator" was a particularly important influence; were it not for the device, Eno's large-scale ambient repertoire simply could not exist.  Developed by Riley in the early 1960s for "tape experiments" such as Mescalin Mix (1961), She Moves She (1963) and Music For 'The Gift' (1963)  — and taken up by guitarist Robert Fripp throughout the 1970s, his girlfriend, Joanna Walton, famously renaming the device "frippertronics" — the time-lag accumulator is actually a rudimentary analog delay processor, and it comprises the technical basis of every large-scale ambient record that Eno produced from 1973 to 1978.  In this paper I survey the development of the time-lag accumulator, from its origins as an avant-garde compositional device to a preeminent technique in Eno's ambient repertoire.  In so doing, I position an often overlooked processing technique at the very heart of Brian Eno's ambient recording practice.

Dennis Howard        University of the West Indies

Reggae and dub has brought about many changes in production practices internationally. The studio Innovations pioneered by Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock and Lee “Scratch” Perry, have revolutionized production techniques in reggae, dancehall and major popular international genres.  The Ruddock and Perry production techniques have had a significant influence on the development of genres such as hip hop house drum and bases, trip hop, trance and techno. Despite this major contribution to pop music production techniques there has been insufficient recognition for these “Dub Masters” role in pioneering these production styles.
This paper will examine the role these pioneer in the development of these distinctive techniques and juxtapose them along techniques of Anglo-America,  namely Phil Spector’s  Wall of Sound, the Beach Boys’  Pet Sounds and the Beatles Sgt Pepper Lonely Heart Club band  which have been valorized as landmark signposts in the history of pop music production.  By exploring the production techniques involved in creating the 1980s pop hit Genius of Love By Tom Tom Club  I will show how the techniques of Ruddock and Perry have been appropriated by mainstream culture and how these techniques have influenced pop music production globally. In the process making a claim for the equal recognition of the work of Perry and Osbourne placing them in the same hallowed space occupied by their Anglo-American counterparts.
 
Katia Isakoff            London College of Music
What’s my Motivation? Song Catchers to Song Manufacturers….and everything in the middle.

Capturing the ‘essence’ of a performance, being ‘faithful’ to the song, ensuring that the recording medium is as transparent as possible, are sentiments one could rightfully identify with: the motivation to produce what is often referred to as an ‘organic’ sounding recording.   Comparatively, the motivation to produce a modern sounding hit record, could very well invite images of producers and production writing teams capitalising on the ‘sound’ of new technology and synthetic catchy hook-lines, with the artist(s) input considered nominal, thereby attracting labels such as ‘manufactured’.
Yet [in the middle], both ‘new’ and ‘old’ technology is found to be intrinsic to the ‘sound’ of artists such as Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, NIN and now Radiohead.  These artists’ body of work for the most part, has been well received by fans, and highly regarded by critics; deemed to be seminal groundbreaking recordings.  Their use of technology and ‘studio’ are regarded as a natural extension of their instrument and creative process. How is the creative control of this technology negotiated between artist, recording engineer and producer?
This paper investigates the ways in which artists balance their individual and collective creative motivations, with their commercial aspirations and how this transforms and influences the compositional and recording process. Interviews with producers and engineers will be used to explore the management and distribution of creative power between themselves, the artists and technology.
Through these interviews and case studies, the working methods, roles, communication and technology employed within various fields and musical genres will be explored, alongside comparative playback sessions.

Mike Howlett        London College of Music / Glamorgan
Making Music the Business – the Creative Entrepreneur as Producer.

Much of the analysis of record production and the associated musicology is concerned with the creative process in the studio. But what is often overlooked is the creative process involved in both facilitating the recording, and bringing the result to an audience.  This paper is a consideration of the role of record company "creatives" from John , Sam Phillips and Ahmet Ertegun to Chris Blackwell, Clive Calder, Dave Robinson and Richard Branson, and the extent to which their activities can be considered creative record production.  From the personal experience of close working relationships with many of them, the author will argue that these individuals participated actively in enabling, inspiring and facilitating the actual recordings, as well as having the capabilities to bring the outcomes to the market - to a greater audience, and should be considered as record producers.

Sean Keegan    University of Limerick
The influence of Music Technology in the Development of Traditional Irish Music

This paper examines the role of music technology, in particular sound recording, in the development of performance practices within Traditional Irish Music. As an indigenous music passed on primarily by oral tradition, recorded sound has played a major part in maintaining the tradition and bringing Irish music into the commercial sphere. Multiple recording practices have played a role in the development of the music internally, in the form of regional stylisation, and externally through cross-polinisation with other genres, with several instances of large-scale commercial success. By interviewing key figures within the tradition; sound engineers, recording musicians and scholars, this paper gives a perspective on the role of aspects of popular recording processes in Ireland and abroad over the past century. Most notably: the role of the studio in the music’s development; the hardware and software utilised by sound engineers while working in this music form; the editing and mixing techniques common to this genre and the performance techniques and arrangements used by recording musicians that differ from live performance. There will be a particular focus on how many recordings by members of the community characterised as being ‘purists’ or ‘traditionalists’ have moved away from the studio environment in favour of location recording and the subsequent implications for sound quality/separation and comfort for performers.

Julian Knowles        Queensland University of Technology
Sonic Experimentation and Improvisation in Record Production: Some Case Studies

The shift from the idea of the recording studio as a site to document and enhance music towards a site for experimentation and composition has a significant history in both popular and art music domains. From classic analogue tape manipulation to sampling, editing and digital workstation tools, the studio ‘instrument’ has played a key role in shaping a number of highly influential albums, extending the musical language of popular music. Through a series of case studies from the early 1980s to the current day, this paper will examine the some key examples of improvisatory composition and experimental production processes in a range of technological contexts. The paper will illuminate a tradition of experimental sound and composition processes, rarely subjected to critical examination within the context of popular music traditions.

Justin Kurtz        University of Hartford
Incorporating Recording Production Techniques within Traditional Musical Analysis

Traditional music theory analysis attempts to document and account for the notes, rhythms, and forms of music. The tools used in the study of music theory have been developed over many years and as music has changed, analysis techniques have changed as well. Many have already documented the fact that in order to accurately examine contemporary popular music, we have needed to develop new tools. This includes ways to identify recording production techniques in the analysis of the music. If we accept that the popular music producer/engineer is an inseparable part of the composing team, as proposed by Virgil Moorefield, our modern music theory needs to be able to incorporate recording production techniques into any analysis of a piece of recorded music.
Music production theory is extremely important for the training of music producers. It is widely accepted that the production techniques of different producers and recording engineers are integral to the musical “message” conveyed by a song or piece. In this context, teaching music production is at least in part teaching music composition. My aim is to provide a way of incorporating core recording production decisions into the traditional formal analysis of a piece of music. Just as Roman numeral harmonic analysis provides a framework within which to teach the harmonic techniques used by composers, a similar standard is needed to account for the production techniques used by producers. This would allow for the juxtaposition of the music analysis with the production analysis, which are intimately related.   Developing a language of music production theory would augment current teaching methods and improve students’ ability to learn the art of music production.    

Philippe Le Guern        Universitee d'Angers
Marc Touché        Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique
British sound vs French sound? A recording engineer linking two traditions : Dominique Blanc Francart

As part of a research project we are undertaking into the social history of popular music in France, we are investigating the interaction between technological changes in the production of music and the aesthetic innovations that these changes enable or bring about. Whereas there have been many studies of the electrification of music and of changes in the technology of guitars, for instance, it seems clear that in the case of France, the history of recording techniques has been less throughly investigated.
Our paper proposal concerns a study of one of the most famous figures of studio recording in France in the person of the sound engineer Dominique Blanc Francart – whose father was also a sound engineer before him – and who commenced his career in the 1960s. Based on a series of interviews conducted with Blanc Francart, we propose to analyse three aspects in particular of his contribution to technological change and musical aesthetics :
Firstly we will consider the evolution of the economic and technological model underlying the work of French recording studios through a discussion of the four main studios which were set up by Blanc Francart or in which he worked (Hérouville in the 1960s ; Aquarium between 1975 and 1980 ; Continental Studios from 1981-1984, and Labomatic from 1996). The examples of these studios demonstrate a change in this model which evolves from the need for greater standardisation in recording technologies during the 1960s to a rejection of the hyper-standardisation of recording techniques in the 1990s.
Secondly, we will discuss developmental trends within the profession, with particular attention to working practices and the professional identities which they can contribute to defining. For example : were French studios in the 1960s and 1970s marked by hierarchies of personnel such as those described – for EMI - by Geoff Emerick in Britain at the same time ? Also : what determines whether and how a sound engineer can become a music producer, and how do the patterns of cooperation obtaining between different agents in the production of records evolve over time ?
Thirdly, we will consider how the notions of British and French « sounds » have been invented and represented (the idea of « pop » sound, for instance, appeared in France only at the end of the 1960s). One of the characteristically interesting features of the work of Blanc Francart is that he is a link between two diametrically-opposed recording traditions, having worked with British artists such as Bowie and Elton John, as well as for French musicians of « chanson » such as Alain Souchon, Etienne Daho and Chagrin d’Amour.

Thomas MacFarlane    New York University    
Magical Mystery Tour: Mono Or Stereo?

In December 1967, the Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour, an EP that contained six new songs written as the score for an original Beatle film. Author Mark Lewisohn has pointed out that until Abbey Road, all Beatle albums were released in mono and stereo. The Beatles themselves were only directly involved in the mono mix, while George Martin and EMI engineers would typically create the stereo version at a later date. However, it seems that as early as Magical Mystery Tour, the Beatles and their collaborators were actively exploring the aesthetic potential of stereo sound.
Individual tracks from the stereo version of Magical Mystery Tour such as FLYING, BLUE JAY WAY, and YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW each exhibit remarkable sonic qualities when one listens alternately to the right and left channels. In particular, the instruments that appear on the right channel of FLYING do not even enter until 0:13 into the track. Remarkably, Lennon’s I AM THE WALRUS manages to combine mono and stereo mixing techniques within the same song.
In the following discussion, I will examine key tracks from the stereo version of Magical Mystery Tour in order to highlight the peculiar aesthetic qualities created by stereo mixing. I will pay particular attention to the ways in which the stereo versions create a context in which the listener has the option of choosing from various musical elements in the mix. The implications of my findings will then be examined with regard to the Beatles’ ongoing engagement of recording technology as an important part of the compositional process.

Doug McDonald        University of Chicago
Prophets of Rage: Recordings of a Sonic Dystopia in the American Post-Industrial City

In 1988, the last year of Reagan’s presidency, the decimation and denigration of the American inner city and its residents was nearing its apex. Evidence of this was the soon-to-be President Bush’s use of the subliminally racist Willie Horton campaign commercial. That same year, the sound of popular music changed with the release of two albums: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Straight Outta Compton.  As a result, new paradigms of race, class and gender would enter the culture.
Public Enemy’s production team, the Bomb Squad, conceptualize the ‘ghetto’ as a sign in It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, signifying Reaganism’s economic and cultural devastation found in poor minority neighborhoods. Their ‘ghetto’ was an abstraction, produced as the potential space of authentic Black nationhood for a broader Afrocentric movement. In contrast was the notion of ‘hood’ as employed by N.W.A on their album Straight Outta Compton. The ‘hood’ was a definite geographic place (Compton, L.A.), and a location for discourses examining the plight of the black male proletariat in narratives of gang lifestyles and confrontations with racist policing practices.
The Bomb Squad’s aural semiology is a sophisticated and technologically complex soundscape, and can be seen as the product of the growing number of African American middle class youth demanding the dismantlement of the white hegemony rooted in the disciplines of the Academic Academy. Where as N.W.A.’s stark and stripped back beats gave voice to the other, growing youth population abandoned by the state, and invisible to the majority culture, who sought relief not as part of a communal black identity, but rather through the celebration of the heroic individual’s pursuit of material gain.
These albums successfully capitalized on the urban struggle to transform post-industrial economies into information economies. They broadcast a crisis of place and everyday experience to a national audience and did so under the rubric of new aural recording aesthetics.

 
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