History has left many images that illustrate the destructive legacy of WWI, but there is almost a total absence of recorded sound – particularly from the field of battle.
When musician Stuart Staples from the British band the Tindersticks was asked to compose a soundscape for the war museum at Ypres in Belgium, he said he wanted to create something reflective.
Ahead of next year’s centenary, the Today programme’s Tom Bateman went with him to the location of some of the deadliest battles.
Speaking from the German cemetery Mr Staples explained: “It’s just about the humanity… people in Germany will feel the same as the people in the UK”.
Tindersticks’ new album Across Six Leap Years is out now and In Flanders Field will be released next year.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday 22 October 2013.
There used to be more than a hundred foghorns stationed around the British Isles but now there are fewer than 30. The BBC’s arts correspondent Rebecca Jones reports that a special requiem has been written which will be performed by ships at sea, three brass bands on the shore and the Souter Lighthouse foghorn near South Shields to mark the demise of the foghorn.
Listen to the BBC Radio 4 clip here
Update: please read Robin The Fog’s excellent account of the performance and listen to recordings here.
I was really pleased to welcome back Jez Riley French for this month’s guest lecture.
Jez is a field-recordist, sound artist and sonic experimenter and I invited him to talk to our L3 project students about his varied and interesting work. Jez specialises in recording hidden sonic worlds such as building structures, underwater environments and the micro perspective of the insect world.
We had great fun discussing and testing Jez’s (often self-made) kit such as hyrophones, geophones, contact and parabolic microphones.
Jez has two exciting projects coming up; a field-recording trip to Iceland with Chris Watson and a Tate Modern commission: audible silence: a headphone piece exploring the hidden sounds of the Tate modern building (february 2013). We’re also trying to arrange a field-recording trip around Lincoln for AP students – watch this space!
At level 1, one of the first assessment tasks I ask students to undertake is the creation of a soundscape. However, for some, the very notion of the soundscape is unfamiliar. Soundscapes can take many different forms – some can be very challenging for the listener/audience.
Whilst listening to Radio 4 this morning, I heard a short interview with Martyn Ware (The Human League, Heaven 17) in which he explains the concept behind his Tales From The Bridge soundscape currently installed at London’s Millennium Bridge. This is an excellent example of an accessible approach to the creation of a soundscape and hopefully one which will inspire some of our students’ creativity.
Listen to the clip here
It’s the 60th anniversary of the creation of John Cage’s Four Minutes, Thirty Three Seconds. In BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Evan Davis asks “Is it a profound statement about the concept of music or the silliest composition ever?”
Nicola Stanbridge considers some groundbreaking pieces including Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet and La Monte Young’s piece for Terry Riley which involves pushing a piano into a wall until you exhaust yourself.
Listen to the clip here
Comedian Stewart Lee is passionate about electronic music and he take us on a remarkable musical journey. We discover how, after the Second World War, a small group of electronic pioneers began tinkering with their army surplus kit to create new sounds and music.
Tristram Cary started the first electronic music studio in Britain but, while France, Germany, Italy and the USA had lavishly funded research centres, British electronic music remained the preserve of boffins on a budget.
As the programme reveals, this make do and mend approach prevailed long after austerity Britain had given way to the swinging 60s, with Peter Zinovieff developing EMS synthesizers from a shed at the bottom of his garden in Putney. (Paul McCartney put on his wellies and took a look). Zinovieff is interviewed about his experiments in sound.
Unsurprisingly, the electronic community in Britain was a small, intimate group and joining Cary and Zinovieff was Daphne Oram, who devoted decades to developing a ‘drawn sound’ electronic composition system that never really quite worked.
Brian Hodgson tells us about 1960s experimental and electronic festivals, including The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave (1967) at which The Beatles’ electronic piece Carnival Of Light had its only public airing. We shall also hear how the radiophonic workshop broke new musical ground with Dr. Who.
Experts in the history of electronic music, including author and musician Mark Ayers and Goldsmith College lecturer in computer studies Dr. Michael Griegson give the boffins’ view and Portishead’s Adrian Utley explains why the early forays in electronics are still relevant today.
Produced by John Sugar
A Sugar Production for BBC Radio 4.
Listen to the programme here
Robert Babicz is a Polish music producer, mastering engineer and live performer living in Cologne, Germany. With a career spanning nearly two decades covering genres from techno to acid house to minimal, Babicz has also been known under the pseudonyms Rob Acid, Acid Warrior, Department of Dance and Sontec amongst many others. He has released a number of very well respected record labels such as Kompakt, Treibstoff, Bedrock , Intec Digital and Audiomatique, as well his own labels, Junkfood and Babiczstyle. He is well known as a live performer, never a DJ, as he uses synths and live equipment and improvises in every set he plays. Watch the video here
In this short interview, he discusses mastering, what he thinks of mastering software,how you should prepare your track for mastering and gives an insight into the kit he uses.
Recorded theatre becomes cinema. Recorded music becomes…insert noun here.
MARCH 16th is ‘Dynamic Range Day”
According to this campaign,”The Loudness War is a sonic “arms race” where every artist and label feel they need to crush their music onto CD at the highest possible level, for fear of not being “competitive” – and in the process removing all the contrast, all the light, shade and depth – ruining the sound.”
(taken from dynamicrangeday.co.uk)
THIS VIDEO EXPLAINS MORE
Big-name CD manufacturers are distorting sounds to make them seem louder. Sound quality suffers.
What is Dynamic Range Day ?
The “Loudness War” is built on the idea that “louder is better”. However this concept is fatally flawed. The goal of Dynamic Range Day is to reveal this flaw and spread an alternative message:
The fatal flaw of the “Loudness War” sound
In a nutshell: it doesn’t sound good.
Research shows there is no connection between “loudness” and sales
People don’t notice loudness when comparing songs
Dynamic music sounds better on the radio – here’s the proof
Modern music players undo loudness by using ReplayGain
Most listeners just turn loud music down !
So – “loud” music on CD has no benefit on the radio, online, on an mp3 player, or in your CD player. That’s why I call it a legend – the “Loudness War” makes no sense, in 2012.