The Soundworld Of Dr Who

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 08.34.01

This interesting documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and explores the sound design of Doctor Who, both in its early years, and in recording the seventh BBC Wales series. Matthew Sweet interviews Tim Ricketts, Paul Jefferies and Brian Hodgson who are all involved with sound design on Doctor Who, past and present. Also interviewed the voice of the Daleks and Ice Warriors, Nicholas Briggs. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the interval of the 2013 Doctor Who at the Proms.

Listen to the programme here


Also

Doctor Who: How Norfolk man created Dalek and Tardis sounds

Foghorn Requiem

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 09.19.04
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.

Oblique Strategies

oblique-strategies

‘Infinitesimal gradations’, ‘Repetition is a form of change’, ‘Bridges -build-burn’ – just three of the gnomic aphorisms contained in the Oblique Strategies cards devised in the early 1970s by artists Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno. The cards were aimed at providing a creative jolt to artists who were either stuck or searching for new directions for their work. Most famously, Eno and David Bowie used the cards during the making of the now infamous set of albums known as the Berlin trilogy.

Simon Armitage first came across them as a student, but has never actually owned or used a pack himself. Now he sets out to tell the story of the cards, talk to some of those who’ve used them (across the fields of music, writing, cooking, business and more) and also find out whether the cards will take his own writing in a new direction. Among those he’ll speak with are Carlos Alomar (the guitarist on those Bowie albums), user Paul Morley, chef Ian Knauer and creativity guru Professor Tudor Rickards. He’ll also use the cards to try and help him track down the elusive Brian Eno himself.

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme here

The Science Of Music

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 20.14.42

In this BBC Radio 4 series, Professor Robert Winston looks at music with a scientist’s eye in a series which seeks to fully understand our relationship with the power of sound.

In Episode 1 of the series, Professor Winston explores the origins of music. Are we really the descendants of singing cavemen?

In Episode 2, Professor Winston explores the logic, engineering and physics underlying the musical sounds we hear. Why do some notes sound good together? And are we really simply seeking patterns when we listen to music?

In Episode 3, Robert Winston explores music and the mind. What’s happening in our heads when we listen to music?

In Episode 4, Robert Winston explores the science of music performance. What’s happening when we perform music? And does it change our brains?

Audio Production At The 2013 Degree Show

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 13.10.44

There was some really excellent and varied work at this year’s degree show and I’ve included a small selection of it here.
The work covers some of the radio, experimental and music output. However, there is plenty more film and animation work yet to be included here.
Thanks to Tom Ward and Andy Kettle for representing AP in the degree show committee.

Collaborations with Animation

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 11.52.48

Blog post by level 2 AP student Nathan Lewis.

Earlier this year, an opportunity arose for Audio Production students to collaborate with the final year Animation students, who needed an original soundtrack design for their films. With the chance to enhance my learning experience and add to the repertoire of short films for my portfolio, I gladly attended the meeting to pitch my musical stylings to the groups in a rather professional manner (I hope). I was aware that each filmmaker required a specific style of artist for their film and was therefore delighted that my music captured the interests of two of the groups, which turned out to be amongst my favourite of the films.

With a rather jolly disposition, I took out my laptop and asked as many questions as I could about what they required from me. Both films required music and sound effects intertwined under a three dimensional, naturalistic, yet dreamy umbrella of auditory experience. I immediately got to work!

After uploading the animatics, I began composing the music. My method is to let the story play a few times till the required vibe is discovered for which I then perform the indicated melodies on a MIDI keyboard to depict the mood on screen. Because the animatics mainly consist of pencil outlines; imagination and foresight is very much required, hence it being a good idea to ask any key questions integral to understanding the plot, early as possible.

In total, I must have had about four pieces of music rejected, which taught me not only to keep my cool, but also a lot about catering for someone else’s design and vision, as usually the boot is on the other foot. Through many edits and adjustments, I eventually earned the trust of my teams and they allowed me to work more autonomously towards the final stages.

Highlights included the enlisting of my father as “incoherent quip” actor to perform some grunts, screams, oohs and aahs in one of the more acrobatic films. I originally attempted this myself only to rapidly discover my voice being not of the masculine persuasion required of the character.

Upon mutual satisfaction, the animatics were finally replaced with the fully animated versions where the stenciled in biros were replaced with beautiful colourings and HD frameworks. With these versions being less sporadic and more, well, animated, I was able to perform and record the foley which consisted mainly of footsteps and clothing rustles to bring the picture to life. The final versions were met with enthusiasm and sincere collaboration prospects for the future.

I recommend and advise any Audio Production student to get involved as it’s not only experience towards the field you are in, but also of the animation process itself; hence providing you with a wealth of invaluable industry experience upon graduation.

The two films complete with my composition and sound design can be seen here: River Man and here: Snowblind

Degree Show 2013

Here is the Official Lincoln School of Media Degree Show Trailer for 2013


    The show is on between 5th and 7th June at the University of Lincoln , Brayford Campus, Lincoln LN6 7TS.

    All are welcome to attend throughout the day – there will be screenings of films, exhibitions of Design and Photography work, Radio, Script, Audio Production and Television Studio work.

    The official website
    is at http://www.lsmshow.co.uk/
    Find out more on Twitter @lincolnmedia

    or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LincolnSchoolMedia

    there is a programme – at: http://issuu.com/lsmshow/docs/programme

    Created by third year Media Production students:Tom Young,Jerome Smith, Amy Drew. Isaac Beatson. Cameron Steele; Ross Mcgowan, Sean Strange
    with many thanks to all those who helped out, including Media Loans, staff at University of Lincoln, the student interviewees Brian Alcorn, Tom Ward, Jack Darnell, Cameron Steele, Jim Booth, Ruby Finnegan, Florian Rupert, Amy Nolan, Nathan Dean (voiceover), Bex Clayforth, Jack Howard, Adam Bibilo and Head of Dept Dr Sarah Barrow

Music For Fashion Show

Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 09.12.55

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

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 10.43.28

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.