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…

Apple TVWith Apple promising ‘the future of television’ with the latest-generation Apple TV, the race is on for music streaming services to get onboard. Being Apple, this isn’t easy, but Mixcloud has secured an early win for its 13m monthly listeners.

Ahead of SoundCloud, Deezer and Spotify, Mixcloud looks set to help shape broadcast’s latest reinvention along with its streamed delivery, multi-device integration and new control models.

Multitrack metersFor 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 a time when tracks were among studio recording’s most valuable resources – and played a quantifiable part in determining the recording process both practically and musically – they’ve become a cheap digital commodity. We think we want more of them.. but we may be a whole lot better off with far fewer.

AES67Commenting on the former BBC Top Gear team reuniting for Amazon’s internet TV enterprise, presenter Richard Hammond enthused over making a programme ‘about a rapidly-changing industry from within another rapidly-changing industry’.

An astute observation, as both broadcast and the motor industry are in major periods of flux. Whether he is specifically aware of the impact of AES67 on broadcast, however, is unlikely.

Double Hendrix

To players of modest ability, entering a 1970s Birmingham music shop could be like entering the Arctic Circle – an inhospitable place where staff humiliated customers as therapy for their own musical frustrations.

The 1980s brought the ‘non-musician’, insistent on making tunes with machines and samples. Old-school players responded with renewed resentment, but it warmed the climate in the music shop. By comparison, today it’s almost tropical…

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  • 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...
  • Zone Wars: Audio in Art and Weaponry
    Coming at sound from very different directions, two UK art galleries recently put audio at the forefront of an installation – each making use of...
    Read More...
  • 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...
    Read More...
  • 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,...
    Read More...
  • 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....
    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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