Fast-and-Wide Blog

Vinyl: The New Groove

Vinyl groovesWhile cylinders for Edison’s phonograph were the world’s first consumer music format in the late 1880s, the first music chart preceded them by around 50 years. Having originally represented sheet music sales, the music charts have tracked delivery formats through vinyl, cassette and CD to digital downloads.

Now, with music sales in a downward spiral, the UK’s first weekly vinyl chart has been launched.

   

The Art of Recording: Flaunt the Imperfection

PJ HarveyUnder siege from home recording equipment on one front and new music distribution models on another, as well as being eclipsed by the world of gaming, the wider music business has been forced into increasingly desperate attempts to re-evaluate and reinvent itself.

The latest of these is to turn the recording of music itself into an arts project. Can we make the recording studio a show?

   

The Sound of Story

Sound of Story

Already resigned to its role of ‘poor relation’ to video and film, sound has recently seen new terminology further challenge its dignity. Locked film reels are increasingly being replaced with ones that are ‘soft locked’ or ‘parked’, giving the sound team a moving target.

A recent conference on sound for picture saw a series of high-profile speakers turning this to their advantage, among other insights, however…

   

Motor Sport: The Other Loudness War

LotusLast Monday’s Daily Telegraph carried a short comment by Jonathan Liew on the current Formula One season – specifically, the debate surrounding the sound of the cars’ new engines. In a piece largely obscured by endless strings of similes, he rather missed the point.

He recognises that the broadcast sound is ‘as artificial as it is real’ but is clearly unaware of the reason why loud engines get our adrenaline flowing.

   

Mind Games

BrainI have a poor memory. I have envied people whose minds enable them to retain, correlate and build upon their memories in ways I cannot. No surprise that I once found myself wondering what it would mean to be able to remember everything. And no small irony that I forgot about it.

I was reminded by a TV documentary that gave such a condition a name, and found myself on a ‘memorable’ journey…

   

Bitcoin: The Dark Side of Money

Dark Side of the CoinAs the first decentralised digital currency, Bitcoin claims to be ‘changing finance in the same way that the web changed publishing’. If so, then pro audio is lined up for another game change on the scale that digital audio wrought on the recording industry and online distribution wrought on record companies.

That’s no small claim, but the signposts are there for those prepared to follow them. So, who is onboard for the ride?

   

Next-gen: Weapons of War

MachinimaSecond screen viewing took another decisive step towards your living room with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One games consoles last week.

Now lined up in direct competition with smart TVs to provide a domestic media hub, both Sony and Microsoft are looking to cover all bases… including making use of second screen working to expand their gaming. How is the next-gen console shaping up?

   

Ai: Tech for Thought

Neural netI struggled to get my head around computer viruses to begin with. The whole concept was at odds with my understanding of what real-world software was about. And I frowned at the first mention of self-healing DSP. Doesn’t intelligent technology belong to Asimov and his Three Laws?

American neuroscientist Christof Koch reckons that ‘consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system’…

   

Second Screen: Changing the Mix

Tablet mixerMy viewing of the episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot that aired on TV last week wasn’t what anyone had in mind when she penned the story or when the television series began in 1989 – or even when ITV Studios recently made the final run of four episodes. Very much has changed in the intervening years.

And there are more changes in the wind, as the second screen is poised to reshape TV broadcasting – and music could see the greatest changes of all...

   

A Pocketful of Change

Rain Tree CrowIt’s been a while – 22 years, in fact – but as I start to retell the story, I lift my hand and it’s trembling gently. Just as it did then.

For a few moments I am transported back to a quiet London hotel room, where I am reading from the transcription of an interview I had done a few days earlier. I’m telling David Sylvian what the other members of his band have said about him and their work together on their most recent album. It’s a bit tense…

   

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Fast-and-Wide Blog

  • Vinyl: The New Groove Vinyl: The New Groove
    While cylinders for Edison’s phonograph were the world’s first consumer music format in the late 1880s, the first music chart preceded them by around 50 years. Having originally represented sheet music...
    Read More...
  • The Art of Recording: Flaunt the Imperfection The Art of Recording: Flaunt the Imperfection
    Under siege from home recording equipment on one front and new music distribution models on another, as well as being eclipsed by the world of gaming, the wider music business has been forced into increasingly...
    Read More...
  • The Sound of Story The Sound of Story
    Already resigned to its role of ‘poor relation’ to video and film, sound has recently seen new terminology further challenge its dignity. Locked film reels are increasingly being replaced with ones...
    Read More...
  • Motor Sport: The Other Loudness War Motor Sport: The Other Loudness War
    Last Monday’s Daily Telegraph carried a short comment by Jonathan Liew on the current Formula One season – specifically, the debate surrounding the sound of the cars’ new engines. In a piece largely...
    Read More...
  • Mind Games Mind Games
    I have a poor memory. I have envied people whose minds enable them to retain, correlate and build upon their memories in ways I cannot. No surprise that I once found myself wondering what it would mean...
    Read More...
  • Bitcoin: The Dark Side of Money Bitcoin: The Dark Side of Money
    As the first decentralised digital currency, Bitcoin claims to be ‘changing finance in the same way that the web changed publishing’. If so, then pro audio is lined up for another game change on the...
    Read More...
  • Next-gen: Weapons of War Next-gen: Weapons of War
    Second screen viewing took another decisive step towards your living room with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One games consoles last week. Now lined up in direct competition with smart TVs to provide...
    Read More...
  • Ai: Tech for Thought Ai: Tech for Thought
    I struggled to get my head around computer viruses to begin with. The whole concept was at odds with my understanding of what real-world software was about. And I frowned at the first mention of self-healing...
    Read More...
  • Second Screen: Changing the Mix Second Screen: Changing the Mix
    My viewing of the episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot that aired on TV last week wasn’t what anyone had in mind when she penned the story or when the television series began in 1989 – or even when...
    Read More...
  • A Pocketful of Change A Pocketful of Change
    It’s been a while – 22 years, in fact – but as I start to retell the story, I lift my hand and it’s trembling gently. Just as it did then. For a few moments I am transported back to a quiet London...
    Read More...
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