Making WavesSharing time and a couple of bottles of Asahi with another former pro audio magazine editor in the bar of London’s Metropolis Studios recently, the hoary subject of equipment reviews raised its head once again. The observation this time was a new one, however…

It was the attention given to dedicated plug-ins as compared to the onboard effects suites found on live mixing desks.

PhasingSometime around 1975-76 I wanted an MXR Phase 90 for my Wurlitzer electric piano – I wanted what the ‘real’ keyboard players of the time were using. Instead, I bought the cheaper Electro-Harmonix Small Stone, believing it to be the poor man’s alternative. I was wrong.

That both effects have since become effects icons and remain in production today is a clue to just how wrong I was…

The Vibe RevivalWith the ambition of the first Leslie emulation pedals finally fulfilled, the story of the Shin-ei Uni-Vibe has come full circle. In its wake we have phasers, flangers and digital modelling pedals, each having taken their shot at replacing the Leslie loudspeaker cabinet and finding their own unique niches.

Common sense would have cast the Uni-Vibe aside somewhere along the way. But the final twist in the Uni-Vibe story is its own heritage.

My local pub has a split personality. Or, maybe, it’s more like a secret identity – a single location but with two roles in life.

For some of us, it’s a friendly place where we can go to talk, laugh and read, and with ready access to music for any occasion or discussion. For others, it’s a fully-fledged sports bar, with access to all the required TV channels, and with almost as many screens as walls. And that is where our story starts...

The Sound of Story

I once read that smell is our strongest associative sense. I’ve since tried to establish the relative ability of our other senses to evoke memories – most recently after hearing the award-winning Notes on Blindness discussed at The Sound of Story conference.

One of the film’s producers told the story of its making and its reliance on sound… but let’s start at the very beginning.

Flanging

It seems to have become a common misconception that guitar fuzz boxes and distortion pedals predate more eloquent effects, such as phasing and flanging.

OK, tremolo and spring reverb were originally guitar amp features, and fuzz and distortion evolved from damaged loudspeakers, impedance mismatches and voltage sag. But effects that were developed in the recording studio are the result of earlier experimentation, exploration and serendipity.

EchoesIf you count the green 1970s Carlsbro thing that’s presently in storage in a city 100 miles away, I’m now up to eight footpedal delay units. Even before the Carlsbro there was a Watkins Copicat. I love my echoes.

Recently, it seemed the right time to sort all those boxes out – to decide what each was capable of and best at, and decide how to use them. It wasnt long before it all got rather interesting.

Just a few days after the events in Brussels and in the wake of the killings at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, an incident at a London venue went largely unreported.

A recent gig at London’s Roundhouse Theatre was interrupted by what was later to be reported as a ‘false fire alarm’. A first-hand report of the crowd management offers an insight into the practical considerations now surrounding security at entertainment venues.

Grateful DeadThe world of bootlegging music has come a long way since I bought my first illegal concert cassette from a Walsall market stall. Its lousy artwork, poor recording and incorrect song titles brought their own excitement to my record collection.

Back then, a bootleg of studio outtakes offered an insight into an artist or band that was beyond the control of a major record label, while a live recording was an open ticket to a unique live performance.

HeroesSitting down to write this shortly after the deaths of Lemmy and David Bowie, I’m presented with yet more sad news. I can add Mott the Hoople drummer Buffin Griffin and Eagles front man Glenn Frey to the count of lost talent.

Tony Visconti has posted on Twitter: To the assholes who are saying they're dropping like flies, you nitwits, they are Dying Like Heroes! January seems like a very, very bad month for heroes.

Sound of StoryLike a finely crafted sequel, there was a perfect counterpoint between Ray Beckett’s passion for capturing film sound ‘on set’ at last year’s Sound of Story conference and Glenn Freemantle’s jubilance over having to build the soundtrack to Everest almost from scratch. But let’s begin at the beginning.

It’s Brighton, and the Lighthouse arts and culture agency is hosting its second Sound of Story to a full house…

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Fast-and-Wide Blog

  • Making Waves: Cause and Effect in Kit Reviews
    Sharing time and a couple of bottles of Asahi with another former pro audio magazine editor in the bar of London’s Metropolis Studios recently, the...
    Read More...
  • The Heydays of Phase
    Sometime around 1975-76 I wanted an MXR Phase 90 for my Wurlitzer electric piano – I wanted what the ‘real’ keyboard players of the time...
    Read More...
  • The Vibe Revival
    With the ambition of the first Leslie emulation pedals finally fulfilled, the story of the Shin-ei Uni-Vibe has come full circle. In its wake we have phasers,...
    Read More...
  • Second Screen Sports: Off Tube, On Target
    My local pub has a split personality. Or, maybe, it’s more like a secret identity – a single location but with two roles in life. For some...
    Read More...
  • Sound of Story: Chapter 3
    I once read that smell is our strongest associative sense. I’ve since tried to establish the relative ability of our other senses to evoke memories...
    Read More...
  • Flange Theory: How I Miss My Mistress
    It seems to have become a common misconception that guitar fuzz boxes and distortion pedals predate more eloquent effects, such as phasing and flanging. OK,...
    Read More...
  • Echoes from the Past
    If you count the green 1970s Carlsbro thing that’s presently in storage in a city 100 miles away, I’m now up to eight footpedal delay units....
    Read More...
  • Safe and Sound
    Just a few days after the events in Brussels and in the wake of the killings at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, an incident at a London venue went largely...
    Read More...
  • The New Bootleggers
    The world of bootlegging music has come a long way since I bought my first illegal concert cassette from a Walsall market stall. Its lousy artwork, poor...
    Read More...
  • Dying like Heroes
    Sitting down to write this shortly after the deaths of Lemmy and David Bowie, I’m presented with yet more sad news. I can add Mott the Hoople drummer...
    Read More...
  • Sound of Story: Chapter 2
    Like a finely crafted sequel, there was a perfect counterpoint between Ray Beckett’s passion for capturing film sound ‘on set’ at last...
    Read More...
  • TV and the Radio Star
    With Apple promising ‘the future of television’ with the latest-generation Apple TV, the race is on for music streaming services to get onboard....
    Read More...
  • Track Limit Exceeded
    For some of us who grew up with the rigours of analogue tape multitracking, the term ‘infinite tracks’ has never really lost its shock value. From...
    Read More...
  • Gear Change: AES67
    Commenting on the former BBC Top Gear team reuniting for Amazon’s internet TV enterprise, presenter Richard Hammond enthused over making a programme...
    Read More...
  • Music for Pleasure
    To players of modest ability, entering a 1970s Birmingham music shop could be like entering the Arctic Circle – an inhospitable place where...
    Read More...
  • Music Video: Dead Cert?
    Two days ago, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music formally agreed to submit music videos to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)...
    Read More...
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Fast-and-Wide.com An independent news site and blog for professional audio and related businesses, Fast-and-Wide.com provides a platform for discussion and information exchange in one of the world's fastest-moving technology-based industries.
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