Music For Fashion Show

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Blog post from level 2 AP student Alexandra O’Brien – pictured centre with lecturers Maria Manning and Dagmara Childs.

We were asked by the Fashion department to create original music for the third year fashion student’s final showcase, which was held in the architecture building. We were given a brief with ideas of what they wanted. When it came to writing the music I wanted to capture the feel of the architecture building, as it’s an arty and open space. I took inspiration from Brian Eno to begin with and crafted an ambient soundscape that builds up with percussion and glitched vocals. For the rest of the tracks I took inspiration from artists like Bonobo and Tycho as I wanted to create quite laid back tracks that wouldn’t distract from the fashion show itself. Overall I really enjoyed the experience. It was hard work at times and a lot of hours went into to it but the clients were very pleased. It’s given me confidence in my compositional skill but also in composing to a brief and for a client.

Food For Thought From Eno

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Brian Eno is always worth listening to. He is a very engaging speaker and his thoughts about art and music are extremely thought provoking and inspiring for me.
He speaks about many things in his Red Bull 2013 lecture, but two in particular caught my attention.

In the first he discusses the creative problems in music composition that come with an abundance of options in the modern DAW. Listen to the clip here

In the second he discusses his approach to film scoring and how he avoids the cliches of many Hollywood style film scores. Listen to the clip here

Both these clips should be of interest to Audio Production students who specialise in music composition.

PS. Look out for Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) in the Q&A at the end.

Symposium Summary

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On a bright and sunny first of May, the Lincoln School of Media held its 2nd Radio, Music & Sound Symposium based around the key themes of future directions & opportunities in the radio and music industries. The series of guest speakers and a panel of former LSM students were chaired with verve and humour by Visiting Professor of Radio & Sound Trevor Dann.

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The guests included Ruth Barnes (BBC6 Music & Amazing Radio) who kicked off the day with an almost breathless guide into good preparation, dogged determination and remaining focused! In contrast, Adam Bowie (Head of Strategy & Planning, Absolute Radio) provided a more sobering analysis: a ‘state of the nation’ type of address if you will, on the future of radio listening. Our third speaker, John Williams (music producer and former head of A&R at Chrysalis and Polydor records) detailed how the key relationships and dynamics between the music industry and broadcasting remain much the same, whilst the music industry adapts to the realities of a digital culture.

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After a lunch break in which our students had the chance to mingle freely with our guests, an Audio Production first year remarked ‘this has been a really fantastic first year and I didn’t think it could get any better, and then we have a day like this’!

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The afternoon session began with Andrew Wilkie (Director of Radio, National Prison Radio) providing a thought provoking insight into the role of prison based radio on the lives of prisoners. With a hint of black humour he noted that ‘you have to be banged up to hear NPR’! However, he followed this with audio clips that were incredibly poignant in terms of both their vitality and their simple but brutal honesty. Our final guest speaker Ashley Byrne (Creative Director, Made In Manchester) set out the vital and growing contribution of the independent sector to the radio industry. He demonstrated and explored a myriad of creative approaches in which radio could be made, developed and marketed. Ashley issued an open challenge to our students to take up these opportunities. The symposium ended with an LSM alumni panel session consisting of Laura Mather (Brand Manager, Smooth & Real Radio), Liam Juniper (Studio Manager, BBC WS & 5live), Matt North (TV Sound Supervisor & film sound recordist) and Laurence Whitaker (BBC Leeds/York) taking questions from students and guests. Each graduate emphasised the importance of their studies at the university in order to pursue their individual career choices. Similarly, in turn, they each encouraged all LSM students to seek out and take advantage of project and work experience opportunities.

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The day might be described in six key words, with one or more perhaps representing each speaker and the panel in turn: energetic, informative, enlightening, inspiring, enterprising and re-affirming! In summing up, Trevor Dann provided a motivating adaptation on the famous ‘JFK’ quotation when he told the students: ask what you can do for the industry, not what can the industry do for you!

Bryan Rudd
Principal Lecturer in Media Production &
Programme Leader BA (Hons) Audio Production

Radio, Sound & Music Symposium II

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Top names in the world of radio, sound and music will be in Lincoln for an unmissable event next week. Wednesday 1st May sees our second Radio, Sound & Music Symposium, hosted by our Visiting Professor and radio supremo Trevor Dann.
The exciting panel of guest speakers and alumni will provide lively debate and insider knowledge around all things audio.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

1000 Welcome and Introduction from Trevor Dann

1020 Ruth Barnes (The Other Woman, Amazing Radio, ex BBC 6-Music)

1100 Adam Bowie (Head of Strategy & Planning, Absolute Radio)

1145 John Williams (Music producer, ex Head of A&R at Chrysalis and Polydor)

1230 Lunch and meet and chat with our guests

1400 Ashley Byrne (Creative Director, Made In Manchester)

1445 Andrew Wilkie (Director of Radio, Prison Radio Association)

1530 Alumni Panel: –
Laura Mather (Brand Manager, Smooth & Real Radio)
Liam Juniper (Studio Manager, BBC WS & 5Live)
Matt North (TV Sound Supervisor and film sound recordist)
Laurence Whitaker (BBC Leeds/York)

1615 Finish

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2: ARM201 (Architecture building)

Guest speaker biographies:

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Ruth Barnes is a new music expert, blogger, podcaster and broadcaster, currently presenting the mid morning show and The Other Woman on Amazing Radio – the new music network dedicated to emerging and independent artists. Ruth kicked off her career in radio with a six month stint on the BBC London overnight show presenting 4 hours of phone-in radio through the night, which is one way to ensure she’s never short of anything to say once the mic is open!

Ruth was a music reporter for the BBC broadcasting live from the likes of the Glastonbury festival for BBC Radio 5 Live to the WOMAD music festival as far afield as Abu Dhabi for the BBC World Service. Years spent as part of the BBC 6 Music news team meant reporting from music festivals around the country, as well as interviewing musicians – both famous and emerging. Ruth has also been a regular feature maker for the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show on BBC Radio 2, presenting and producing ten minute features on all aspects of the arts world.

A weekly radio show on London’s arts network Resonance FM, The Other Woman, led to a weekly spot on Tom Robinson’s Introducing show on BBC 6 Music. Ruth played her top tips for Tom every week as his Girl Music Guru.

Ruth runs The Other Woman new music blog and podcast, which promotes emerging female talent. Ruth has deputised for Tom on his 6M Introducing show and has presented an all-female 6 Mix for 6 Music.

She also has a voiceover career and is one of the voices of BBC 1 and BBC 2 continuity.

http://www.ruthbarnes.co.uk

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John Williams is an English A&R executive, record producer, photographer, manager, recording artist, and songwriter. In a career that has spanned over 35 years at major record labels, he has guided, A&R’d, mentored, and produced many artist careers including The Housemartins and The Proclaimers,[1] as well as producing and signing Alison Moyet, Simple Minds,[2] The Waterboys, Robert Plant, The Blue Nile, Status Quo,[3] Cathy Dennis, Petula Clark, Ocean Colour Scene, JJ Cale, Blancmange, Shriekback, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Jethro Tull,Beth Nielsen Chapman, Debbie Harry and Luciana Caporaso.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Owen_Williams_(record_producer)

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Adam Bowie has worked for Absolute Radio, and in its previous incarnation as Virgin Radio, since 1996. During that time he’s worked in a variety of roles within the company. Currently he looks after the commercial research interests of the station including RAJAR analysis and conducting bespoke research for clients. He also looks after the interests of the group’s digital radio services including Absolute 80s and Absolute Classic Rock, with a particular emphasis on platform carriage.

He also works with the regulatory bodies such as Ofcom and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, representing Absolute Radio’s interests. He sits on the RAJAR technical management group representing commercial radio, and looks after the interests of Absolute Radio’s digital metrics.

Privately he blogs at adambowie.com

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Andrew Wilkie joined the PRA in 2007 to lead the development of the PRA’s Electric Radio Brixton. Following a successful launch, he guided his staff of prisoners to four Sony Radio Academy Awards, including two Sony Golds, as well as a coveted IVCA Clarion Award. He then led on transforming this local service into National Prison Radio, the world’s first national radio station specifically for prisoners. In 2011 he received a Butler Trust Award and an award from the Greater London High Sheriff for his work.

Andrew has worked extensively as a programme maker for both BBC Network Radio and the commercial sector. He started his broadcasting career as a journalist for BBC Radio Five Live and built a strong freelance portfolio across BBC Network Radio, working with presenters such as Steve Wright, Johnny Walker and Dermot O’Leary on BBC Radio 2.

He was also a reporter for the BBC World Service and a studio producer for BBC Radio 1. In 2004 Andrew produced a documentary on Kurt Cobain called After Nirvana for BBC Radio 2, which was nominated for a Sony Award. He also produced a breakfast show for the country’s largest independent radio group, GCap Media.

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Laura Mather is an award winning and passionate radio producer with extensive industry experience across some of the UK’s largest and most prominent radio brands.
Graduating in 2006 with a BA Honours in Media Production, Laura immediately started refining her craft with a 12 month contract as Station Producer at Viking FM. To further develop her skillset and broaden her industry knowledge she moved to Trent FM in Nottingham as an Imaging Producer, where her exposure to show production sparked an interest that would lead her to GMG’s Real Radio North West. She took on Ditchy and Salty at Breakfast and within three years had gathered numerous awards including Sony Gold for Station of the Year and Sony Bronze for Best Entertainment programme. In May 2011, Laura made the jump from regional to national as she joined Smooth Radio as Brand Producer – leading the station sound for one of the UK’s biggest easy listening radio stations.

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Matt North. Since graduating in 2012, I have since worked as part of the audio team for Ideal Shopping Direct, the company responsible for the popular range of TV shopping channels Ideal World, Create & Craft and The Deal Channel. I have also worked and am still working freelance on an array of projects from short films, including a micro-budget fan-funded feature (shot in only 14 days) in a range of audio roles from location recording all the way through to audio post-production.

http://www.mattnorthaudio.co.uk

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Liam Juniper graduated from the Media Production course with a 2:1 in September 2011. Shortly after graduation he managed to get a temporary contract as a Trainee Studio Manager with the BBC working across all World Service English news programmes at Bush House in London. He is now a fully fledged Studio Manager permanently based in Salford working on output for Radio 5 live, 5 live Sports Extra and World Service Sport.”

Guest Lecture – Grant Bridgeman 2013

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Grant Bridgeman is a familiar face around the university these days. He comes in to deliver workshops, masterclasses and lectures for our level 1 and 2 students.

In these sessions Grant draws on his experience and expertise to cover many aspects of working with audio for film and TV. This covers location sound recording, sound design, foley and sound effects capture, workflow and expert Pro Tools tuition in all aspects of audio post-production (track laying, dialogue editing, dialogue replacement and mixing etc.).

However, at level 3, Grant’s lecture covers the many aspects of his job other than the sound bit. In his Everything But The Sound lecture, Grant explains the day to day activities of the freelance audio professional. From filling in tax returns, to invoicing clients, to repairing kit, to archiving and accounting, to maintaining contacts and CV information. All the stuff that a student about to leave university needs to know, including some of the more difficult aspects such as no sick pay, no annual leave and sometimes wondering where the next job might come from.

Despite all this, it’s obvious that Grant loves his job and he’s a very enthusiastic lecturer. In fact, once he gets going, he’s very difficult to stop! We could definitely have done with an extra hour for this session. 🙂

Grant’s last job was as the sound recordist on ITV’s Mr Selfridge. For an interview with Grant about his experiences on this job please click here.

Guest Lecture – Ian Shepherd

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One of the most common areas of audio production students ask me about is the ‘dark art’ of mastering. Mastering is often seen as a magic bullet that can fix all sorts of ills and transform a music track into a powerful and professional sounding product.

To help try and clear things up, I invited expert mastering engineer Ian Shepherd to Lincoln to talk to our level 2 and 3 students. Ian gave a very interesting and informative lecture on what mastering actually is, what it can do, why it is necessary and he gave some very useful DIY mastering guidelines. He also shed light on the whole notion of loudness and the loudness wars in general – very insightful stuff.

After his talk, Ian delivered a workshop in which he mastered some student work. This was brilliant. We watched and listened as he talked us through his approach and workflow, which highlighted the importance of using accurate metering and reference material. In a nutshell, he demystified the whole process. As Ian himself says: “Mastering is simple” and, when applied judiciously, it makes your music the best it can be.

Ian’s excellent blog Production Advice can be found here.
You can contact Ian on Twitter here.

Guest Speaker – Stephen Mallinder 2.0

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For this month’s guest lecture, I was very happy to introduce Stephen Mallinder to the university for a second time. As most of you will already know, Mal was one of the founder members of Cabaret Voltaire – a group who had a massive impact on me as a young music maker and his lectures now are equally valuable to our students.

For this talk, Mal concentrated on the shift from analogue to digital cultures, particularly in regard to the perceptions of musicians, producers and sound-recordists to music production, music distribution and music consumption. He drew from his own background in writing, producing and playing over the past 35 years and also talked about his current work with my old Fila Brazillia partner Steve Cobby in his own current project Hey, Rube!

He discussed the results of his own research interviewing over 30 artists (musicians, DJs, producers and sound recordists, including his old band mate Chris Watson). The findings of which have formed the basis of a chapter for the up Live-Digital publication (Chandos, Summer 2013).

Mal provided a thought-provoking, enjoyable and highly relevant session, particularly for those students investigating similar issues for their final year dissertations. Hopefully, we’ll get him back again next year for the hat-trick!

Guest Lecture – Ken Blair

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Today’s level 3 project guest lecture was given by recording engineer Ken Blair. Ken is a freelance sound recordist who’s company BMP Recording specialise in classical, jazz and acoustic music.

Ken came to talk about his typical week of recording, editing, mixing and filling in tax returns! He described a typical orchestral recording session and how it can differ from a pop/rock recording session, in that a lot of these sessions are still recorded straight to stereo – especially if its a live event recording. This means a lot of time is spent positioning microphones and balancing levels into the recording device. This also means there’s no room for error, both in terms of the musicians’ performance and in terms of the recording levels and mix balance. Nerve wracking stuff!

Ken also talked about how his background and recording experience led him to the place he’s at now. After leaving school in Scotland, Ken studied the Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey and spent a year on work placement at Air studios in Montserrat. He also gave our students some great advice regarding building their portfolios and creating a skills based CV.

Many of our students will go on to be freelance workers across the very broad range of audio production careers. Ken’s lecture was a great insight into the day to day activities of just one of these fields. Really useful stuff!

Meeting Daniel Adair

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Blog post by L3 Audio Production student Ryan Davis.

Last year on the 7th of October 2012, I was given one of the best opportunities that I have had – I was able to personally interview Daniel Adair, who is most famously known for being the drummer of Nickelback. I obtained this interview for part of my dissertation, which is based on how drum technology has changed and how it has impacted drummers’ performance.

Gaining this interview was a great privilege. As a drummer, I was very happy to meet one of my idols and gained not only a great reliable source to use in my dissertation, but also a professional drummer’s view on my chosen subject.

Obtaining this interview was never an easy task as it involved many phone calls and a lot sweet-talking, including speaking to Nickelback’s Personal Manger. However, in doing so I managed to secure an incredible interview from Daniel Adair and also made contacts throughout the lengthy process, which will help me further my career once I have left university.

It just goes to show how persistence and being well mannered and polite can get you a long way. When I first started at University, I never thought it would have been possible to to interview not only one of my idols, but also to gain a great insight for use in my dissertation.

If Chimes Could Whisper – The Strange Tale of the Glass Armonica

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Dame Evelyn Glennie celebrates the 250th birthday of one of the most unusual of all musical instruments, the Glass Armonica, premiered by Benjamin Franklin in 1762. She tries out the working instrument at the Benjamin Franklin House in London, sees an original example in the Horniman Museum, and discovers the repertoire written for it by Mozart, Hasse and Donizetti. On the way, she encounters madness and mental illness, reveals one of the world’s first female virtuosi, Marianne Davies, and meets the man responsible for the present day revival of this remarkable instrument, Thomas Bloch.

Listen to the BBC Radio 3 programme here