Pauline Oliveros – Pioneer of Electronic Classical Music

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Pauline Oliveros is an American improvisor, accordionist and composer who is considered a pioneer of electronic classical music in 20th century America. At 81 years old, her career spans some fifty years of boundary breaking music-making, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards. On April 1st 2014, she performs a real-time improvised performance linking musicians in Stanford (California), Troy (New York) and Montreal. This is the first performance of this kind in the UK at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The performance forms part of Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York & Birmingham, a major festival of music presented by Birmingham Conservatoire and Third Ear.

Listen to Pauline being interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour here:

Congrats! Audio Production’s Alice Asbury Wins Excellence Award

Well done from all at LSM to Year 1 Audio Production student Alice Asbury who received the University of Lincoln’s scholarship award.

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Photo from Alice’s mum

The Excellence Scholarship recognised Alice’s outstanding academic achievement. She attained the highest amount of tariff points in one sitting during her BTEC Extended Diploma in Music. Alice’s accomplishment put her in the category of ‘the highest achieving new undergraduate students joining the institution.’

Lincoln School of Media’s Alice was one of nine first year students, from across the University’s Colleges, to get an Excellence Scholarship from the Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart: “Scholarships represents a very special moment for us all here at the University of Lincoln, when we acknowledge the successes of our newest undergraduate students.”

Sound of Cinema – Sound and Fury

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How do sound designers use soundscapes and sound effects to manipulate excitement and emotion in the cinema audience?

As part of the BBC’s Sound of Cinema season, Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering, visits Pinewood studios to meet Glenn Freemantle, Danny Boyle’s sound designer. Freemantle describes the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to re-create the soundscape of a remote desert canyon in the film 127 Hours, so that the cinema audience hears exactly what the climber trapped under a rock for 127 hours hears as he tries to escape. And he shows how to build up the sound in a creepy scene to make the audience feel uneasy.

Trevor Cox also learns how the sound of a futuristic motor bike is created in the latest Judge Dredd film ? how does a sound designer create a sound that is incredibly powerful but also believable?

And there’s a revealing trip to a screening room in central London to experience the very latest technology in the world of cinematic surround sound

The Art Of The Loop

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Most current pop music is created not with live instruments, but from pre-formed, off the shelf chunks of music known as loops. Musician Matthew Herbert explores the art of the loop and the million-dollar industry that has grown up around it, and asks whether it is setting music makers free from the constraints of traditional instruments or killing creativity.

Loops are pre-recorded performances, typically of a solo instrument, and typically 1 or 2 bars long. Looping isn’t new – it started soon after the advent of tape recorders. But recent advances in computer technology and software mean that effects which once needed a full-scale studio costing thousands of pounds can be created for little or no cost on a laptop or even a mobile phone. A CD of loops costing £10 can be used to make a million-selling international hit, but who is the real composer?

Matthew once made an entire album from the sounds of a single pig’s life, so he’s no stranger to the benefits of loops and sampling. He talks to producers, musicians and loop-creators and experiments with technology ancient and modern; he hears from looping’s defenders and detractors and looks into a musical future which he finds fascinating but many find terrifying.

And, along the way, he builds a dance track out of a Radio 4 Continuity announcer.

Produced by Micky Curling
A Folded Wing production for BBC Radio 4

The Rise Of Digital Music

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Interesting piece on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (27/02/14) featuring George Ergatoudis (Head of Music at Radio 1), Mark Williamson (Director of Artist Services at Spotify) and Paul Brindley (co-founder of MusicAlly).

I’ve Played In Every Toilet

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John Harris visits some of Britain’s surviving small music venues and asks what will happen if they disappear altogether.

All over the UK, small music venues are threatened with closure, or have already gone out of business. Many of them have hosted gigs by truly legendary names and were once securely built into the so-called ‘toilet circuit’, which allowed promising musicians to take their first tentative steps on the national stage. Without them, we may not have heard from Coldplay, Oasis, Blur – or such contemporary talents as The Vaccines and Mumford and Sons. But crushed by powerful landlords and the rising expectation that music – whether live or recorded – should be free, these places are struggling as never before.

John’s journey takes in The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, once an actual public toilet, which has survived over the last twenty years because the volunteers that run it haven’t profited from the business. He also travels to Hull to visit the Adelphi Club, a semi-detached house on one of the city’s residential streets which has hosted bands such as Pulp, Green Day and Radiohead. Manager Paul Jackson says things have been tougher than ever for the venue, but he’s determined to carry on.

Finally John visits Newport, once home to the legendary TJ’s where Kurt Cobain famously proposed to Courtney Love. Speaking to the daughter of the former owner John Sicolo and Nicky Wire from Manic Street Preachers, he finds out what happens when a town loses its beloved venue.

He also speaks to DJ Steve Lamacq and journalist Kate Mossman to consider how – without these venues run on a mix of hope and blind faith – we will discover the next generation of musicians.

Producer: Simon Jacobs
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.