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2006 ARP Conference

Information         Call For Papers         Abstracts         Program

 

Abstracts

 

Some, but not all, papers are available in full by clicking on the title. These are not peer reviewed proceedings.

 
Nathan Adan Adam (Middle Tennessee State University)

The Times They Are a Changin’: The Impact of Digital Editing Techniques on modern Country Music

This paper focuses on the way modern digital tools and techniques have affected production and performance in the American Country music genre.

With an established production base in Nashville, Tennessee, country music has long been a staple genre characterized by great songs, talented performers, acoustic instrumentation, and a dedication to the way things were done in the “good old days”. Yet, with recent recording industry shakeups and changes in technology, the slow death of analog tape, and the influx of “Hollywood” into all genres music (i.e. American Idol & Nashville Star), this genre has had to make some dramatic changes over the last decade to keep up with both the sights and sounds of the new music industry.

From Timestretching, instrument Pocketing and Sound Replacement, to electronic loop integration and Vocal Tuning in the studio and on the stage, what were once hushed edit room taboos in the buildings of Music Row have now become commonplace. The commitment to all things “country” in country music is giving way to modern studio editing as in genres like Pop, Rock and Hip-Hop.

In this paper we will look at the evolution and future direction of these technologies that have made visual beauties into musical stars and brought old
timers into the current age. In addition it will examine what the contemporary music consumer should know, and why, if at all, they should care.


Mike Alleyne (Middle Tennessee State University)

Nile Rodgers: Production Beyond The Chic Mystique


Nile Rodgers is one of the few black producers to achieve creative and commercial success across multiple genres and decades. This paper focuses on Rodgers’ production trademarks, philosophies and key factors behind his longevity. It chronologically examines his creative history in the studio, highlighting his artistic expansion from dance music producer to pop/rock producer with a remarkable track record.

Rodgers is analysed here based on his triple identity as producer/songwriter/musician in his own groups, Chic, and Outloud, and his extensive work in the pop/rock mainstream with artists such as David Bowie, Madonna, Mick Jagger,  Duran Duran,  INXS, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Maroon 5. Special emphasis is placed on his organic work methods and the pervasive influence of his musical sensibilities as a live and studio performer on his production techniques. This paper also suggests that the scope of Nile Rodgers’ contribution to popular music has not been fully recognised.

Andy Arthurs (Queensland University of Technology)

Is it live? Does it matter? - How the heritage arts are standing up to the digital age

The introduction of recording revolutionised the live medium to the point where, by the late 1960s artists such as Glenn Gould or The Beatles had demonstrated that their recordings had taken over from  the live performance as being considered authentic original work. The live event became a version of the record. This is similar to printed text, which historically carry a higher authority than through spoken utterances (unless these utterances are officially transcribed). For many it was only when we read it, did they truly believe it to be so.
With the development of digital storage "the text" has become a vastly enlarged concept. And in digital music making, the lines have become entirely blurred between live and recorded. Milli Vanilli aside, what is the tipping point which determines whether an artist live, when a contemporary performance often employs prerecorded samples, preprogrammed patches and often live sequencing. This phenomenon partly explains the burgeoning success in the program Ableton Live which incorporates both the live and the preprogrammed in a seamless way.
To a large extent the heritage performance arts have remained aloof from this, still attaching some form of value hierarchy to the live event vs the prerecorded event - the former being like raw fruit and vegetables whilst the latter is has connotations of a precooked meal reheated for consumption.
But even in these areas the barriers are coming down and in my paper I will endeavour to document some of these especially in the area of orchestral performance such as the Transylvanian orchestra, a computer games orchestra, Orchestral spectacular and a project I am engaged in - The Deep Blue orchestra in which it is not only the repertoire that is being called into question, but all aspects of the traditional orchestra culture.

Eliot Bates, (UC Berkeley/ Istanbul Teknik Universitesi)

Studios, arrangement, and the distributed production system of contemporary Turkish music

A fundamental change happened to the social organization of Turkish music in the 1990s, first in recorded projects and later in performed music: the 1960s-80s culture of discrete bands was replaced by shorter-term projects created mainly by arrangers, session musicians, and recording engineers. Recording studios became an increasingly important site for musical activity. However, in the last few years a new spatial orientation has become important, as recordings are now created in and between many different sites, including recording studios, homes, record label offices, and schools. Technologies such as hard drives, CD-Rs, memory sticks, and Internet MP3 sharing connect this multiplicity of spaces.
I will first elaborate on the contemporary production model in Turkish music, exploring the new occupations of arranger, engineer, and session musician, and detailing the sociopolitical basis of the new arranged-music economy. Then, I will investigate the architecture and layout of studios, particularly how they function like other Turkish semi-private social spaces. By comparing several distinct recording projects based out of one Istanbul studio (but utilizing many other sites), I will look at the moving of music and musicians between a multiplicity of spaces. In particular, I will show that a combination of economic, social and political factors contributes to the distributed nature of music production. Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate the interrelation between the nebulous nature of Istanbul’s musical “groups,” the contemporary political environment and the perceived limits of the recording studio as a creative space.
This paper is based on direct observational field research conducted in 2004-2006 in Istanbul’s recording studios, and interviews with musicians and arrangers. The profiled recordings include protest rock, Anadolu halk muzigi, and Turkish “ethnic” music.

Carl J. Boland, Paschall De Paor, David L. Adamson (Glamorgan University)

Social Expertise and Music Production


The proposed paper will present a synopsis of research findings from an exploratory
study examining the nature of Social Intelligence in music production practice. A
phenomenologically-grounded social psychological paradigm has been selected to frame a qualitative investigation of intra-group social processes operating between producers, artists and engineers. Fieldwork will be conducted across various production scenarios, and will focus on instances where Interpersonal Skills are manifest in music producer behaviours, with the intention of aligning evidence of effective Leadership, and Social Influence, to the essential qualities of a proposed Social Expertise component in music production practice.
The profile of the prototypical music producer inherits certain ‘classical’ characteristics one associates with leadership in small work groups. Discourses concerning production practice suggest that music producers endeavour to maintain a maximal grip over
recording sessions, by remaining sensitive to a complex dynamic that signposts the optimal work gestalt for the group. So, at any given time during a session, the producer adapts his practice orientation to reflect the jost effective balance between Task Coordination and Relationship Management roles. This study is primarily concerned with explicating the relationship management aspect of music producing. Specifically, the research aims at understanding what interpersonal strategies constitute relationship management expertise in music production contexts, and how this may be latterly defined in terms of music production
Social Expertise.
Producers classifiable as ‘Experts’, can be partly characterised by their extensive practical experience of producing, and their adroit social orchestrations of the recording session. These two points are connected, because accumulated practice experiences represent a repository of instructive analogies the producer can draw upon to guide current practice. In effect, stored experiences of producing form the basis of a subjective form of knowing and knowledge about music producing. This personalised music production know how, guides the intuitive appraisal of production scenarios and the selection of appropriate responses to emergent issues.
A proportion of music production know how is certainly tacit and social. Such tacit, social knowledge is encoded in practice behaviours, general studio based social interaction, and also expressed in Practice Stories told by the producer. In contrast, explicit (declarative) forms of social knowledge in music production may develop in response to various calls for knowledge qualification1, whereby the producer connects their own general abstractions regarding Practice Philosophy and Production Heuristics, with references to particular experiences of working with artists and studio co-workers.


1 Interviews in trade magazines present innumerable examples of music producers expressing personal know how in explicit terms. See also, Howard Massey’s (2000) book, Behind the Glass (Miller Freeman Books, San Francisco).

George Brock-Nannestad (Patent Tactics)

The Lacquer Disc for Immediate Playback - Professional Recording and Home Recording From the 1920s to the 1950s.

The cylinder phonograph was ab initio made as an instrument for instantaneous recording and playback, but it was not until electrical recording appeared in
the mid-1920s that disc records became available for playback without mastering and pressing. Pre-grooved aluminium came first, to be overtaken by
the lacquer recording disc from the early 1930s.

Home recording introduced the population to direct experience of the action of microphones sensitive from a distance (the well-known telephone required
you to talk into it and had a generally unnatural sound), and to sense some degree of recorded space in the form of known surroundings. This happened at
the same time broadcasting started letting the microphone be the listener's "remote" ears.

Even though the replay life of a lacquer record was generally poor due to the heavy pickups used, it was much better than aluminium. Recording occurred by
means of dedicated machines or kits for converting gramophones for recording. Wealthy amateurs acquired semi-professional equipment, and less wealthy built their own from instructions in journals. The sources of the laquer records were mainly professional, but home-grown varieties were known. For this
reason professional problem terms like "banding", "dry-cut", "flutter", "twinning", or "spoke-patterns" became household words.

All the while, professional record production at the head offices of record companies still used wax for mastering, but local recording in remote
locations more and more used lacquer. The paper discusses some of the systems, their components (lathes, amplifiers, cutterheads, and cutting
stylii) and their pitfalls, and the problems described by the above problem terms and others.

The special use of lacquer discs in broadcasting (contrasting the BBC with US practices) will be mentioned. Examples of private recordings as well as
professional lacquer discs will be played


Anne Danielsen (Oslo University)

Interaction of rhythm and sound in contemporary dance music

Rhythm and sound are commonly regarded as two separate domains in the analysis of music. In this paper the aim is to investigate micro-rhythmic features and sound design in some selected contemporary R&B hits, with a special focus on the interaction of rhythm and sound, that is, on how sound may interfere with rhythm and vice versa. Of particular interest is to discuss how this interaction influences the overall rhythmic feel of the grooves and, hence, also the music’s appeal to bodily movement.
Recent developments in music technology seem to have encouraged a way of producing dance music that makes it more difficult to distinguish between rhythm and sound.  Also recent research into the micro-rhythmic features of rhythm in grooves points in the direction of a mutually dependent relationship between rhythm and timbral and dynamic features of music.

Martha DeFrancisco (McGill University)

How does it sound - what do they hear? Reflections on recording esthetics and listeners’ reaction

Recording producers are often overheard saying that the way a musical work is recorded contributes importantly to the impact the recording will have on the listener. Is this true? Is recorded sound quality connected with the listener’s perception of the quality of the performance? Is there a link between the characteristics of the recorded sound and the listener’s preferences according to the music?

In a study realized at McGill University, four solo piano pieces of different stylistic periods were recorded using four Surround Sound microphone arrays simultaneously. These were positioned and finely tuned and balanced in order to optimize their perceived sound characteristics. Blind quality tests were subsequently conducted with musicians and audio engineers, comparing the recorded music selections using the various microphone arrays. The results show that listener preferences for multichannel microphone techniques may be connected with the musical selection presented.    

Peter Doyle (MacQuarie University)

Living large: the field recording, the mug shot and the early 20th century mediascape

In the 1920s and 1930s, US record companies conducted a program of field trips to city bars, juke joints and to the rural south, seeking hitherto unrecorded talent to release on budget-priced records for local distribution. At about the same time, across the globe, police in Sydney, Australia compiled a photographic record of the city’s everyday thieves, con artists, pickpockets, thugs and cocaine sniffers. Surprisingly similar power imbalances prevailed in these very different ‘vital’ recording enterprises: in both, declasse, disdained, sometimes despised outsiders placed themselves, or were placed before apparati manned by the representatives of generally uncaring or hostile remote agencies. Yet these sound recordings and photographic images often convey a restless, idiosyncratic, vigorously-asserted and surprisingly modern-seeming selfhood.
Both products today enjoy a prestige unthinkable at the time of their manufacture: early hillbilly and race recordings are canonical items in cultural histories of the twentieth century, and the long lost Sydney police mug shot negatives have recently become, via a museum exhibition and a high production-value art book, boutique heritage artifacts.
Are the rhymes between these disparate bodies of work merely accidental? Or can they be understood as instances of a broad global demoticism, expressed across a variety of then new media (including Hollywood cinema, broadcast radio, Soviet agit-prop, Kino-Pravda, John Grierson documentary films, pulp publishing) in which vernacular subjectivities were ‘amplified’ into a kind of everyday extraordinary. Might early field recordings and the Sydney mugshots be further likened to one another for the ways in which they acoustically and visually register (and aestheticise) the dispositions of troubled, restless bodies in space, and thus simultaneously record both the broader politics and the jost intimate micro-dramas surrounding their manufacture? 


Andy East (London College of Music)

“Can You Hear Me In Your Desperate’s”?

Communication in the recording studio environment is critical if a successful tangible recording is to be achieved. Interpreting direction and instructions between the producer, the artiste and musicians, is dependent upon all parties communicating in the same language, whether this is their own tongue or a form of accepted slang.

This paper investigates the communication skills used by the workforce in U.K. studios over the period of the last fifty years, from the writer’s own thirty years studio experience and from testimony of others working in the area. The paper investigates the use of slang, the vocabulary, the origins, and whether its use is protective or deliberately insular? Do the practitioners deliberately speak in code for protection? It is important to recognise that in the majority of genres, slang is used in a humorous fashion and not as an offensive response. Comments delivered often feature sarcasm as a key ingredigrent.
The secret nature of the vocabulary demonstrates that the industry is protective about its practice and is a good illustration of what cannot be taught academically. Will the current trend of major studios closing and the rise in the popularity of ‘project studios’ see this practice disappear, or will the use fragment into much smaller groups of workers.
An examination is made of ‘Polari’ the once common, secret vocabulary, or argot in linguist’s terms, that was popular in the entertainment industry, and in particular hojosexual groups. Polari is still evident in common terms used in the studio and entertainment industry today without any necessary hojosexual reference.
The jost explicit example of a ‘private’ vocabulary is currently visible via R&B, Hip-Hop and gangster rap. However terminology in this genre is deliberately offensive, particularly to women and hojosexuals. Here the definition is “street”, constructed from slang and obscenities.
Of particular interest is the transference of this culture into other popular strands of entertainment such as reality television.

Jan Fairley and Alexandrine Fournier  (Institute of Popular Music, Liverpool University  and the University of Manchester.)

Music Studios and Aesthetics in Revolutionary Cuba 1959-2006

Cuban music has had the biggest impact in the world music scene and in the larger international/ global music scene in the last ten years. This is in part due to changes in the music business in Cuba in the 1990s during the ‘Special Period’ which allowed foreign companies to come into the country for the first time not only to licence music out of the enormous back catalogue of EGREM, the state run record company,  but to contract musicians, hire studios and   produce their own discs for sales overseas.
This resulted for the first time since the 1959 Revolution of  ‘two’ musics: one produced for consumption in Cuba, another music produced for consumption elsewhere in the world. It led to two quite different recording studio aesthetics and techniques, one emblematised by World Circuit Nick Gold and Ry Cooder’s work with the collective of musicians which became known as the Buena Vista Social Club recorded in the old poorly equipped down town studios Egrem studios Havana. The second represented by Cuban music recorded at the state of the art Abdala studios in up town Havana where many international stars record (Cesaria Evora etc). The Abdala  studios (where all the technicians have music degrees) were  put together  with various financing and function as a business within the state system under the direction of a board and Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez whohad a hand-on role in their development.  At the beginning of the 1990s Prior to building Abdala,  Rodríguez built his own small Ojala strides in Vedado.  The equipment for both studios comes from the UK and were built under the guidance of UK technicians.
Leading Cuban singer Pablo Milanés  also built studios at the Pablo Milanés  Foundation in central Havana during the same period and despite their problematic birth they are used today by many younger musicians.  ICAIC (The Cuban Cinema  Institute)  also upgraded its  Vedado studios in the late 1990s and they are used for record production.  Musicians like saxophonist Lucia Huerga built her own home studio,
The end of the  1990s saw computer and recording hard and software enter the country for the  first time not only by   professional musicians who can  officially apply  to bring in equipment but informally by a new generation of non-state registered  producers and musicians working out of  small home studios were  built. This resulted in burned CDs and home made music entering the informal street  market for the first time. This particularly benefited hip-hop, rap and reggaetón as well as compilations of Latin music hitherto unavailable on the island.
In this paper we will give a brief history of recording in Cuba, outline the work and music aesthetics of the main studios  and discuss the work of the new informal sector. The paper will be based on original fieldwork  based on research in Cuba in both Havana and Santiago by Fairley (89, 99, 00, 01, 02 05, 06) and Fournier (02-3, 05-6)

Paul Fischer (Middle Tennessee State University)

The Sooy Dynasty Of Camden, New Jersey: Victor’s First Family Of Recording

The gramophone received its first public demonstration by its Washington, D.C. based inventor Emile Berliner in 1888. His address titled “Etching The Human Voice,” delivered at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, also introduced the discs he called “records” which stored the sound. Much improvement was needed before Berliner’s machine would be a viable commercial product. He licensed the technology to a cantankerous and disorganized group of Philadelphia investors who formed the Berliner Gramophone Company. Key improvements to the machine were developed and patented by Camden, New Jersey machinist/engineer Eldridge Reeves Johnson.

By 1901, Johnson was in a superior financial position and absorbed the Berliner company and its patents into his Victor Talking Machine Company (VTMC). VTMC and Victor Records became the industry leader in the United States, famous for its “His Master’s Voice” trademark. VTMC also supplied parts, manpower, manufacturing and recording know-how to the Gramophone Company Ltd. in the UK. VTMC was sold to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in early 1929, creating RCA-Victor. From the start, Victor was in both the hardware and software ends of the business. This paper focuses on the process of recording at Victor in the acoustic era.

Brothers Harry and Raymond Sooy served successively as Victor’s Director of Recording through jost of this period. A third brother, Charles was also a member of the Department. Using Harry and Raymond’s diaries and other primary accounts (by Alfred Clarke, Fred Gaisberg, etc.) the paper will detail and
discuss Victor’s recording practices in Camden, New York, Oakland, Hayes-Middlesex, and internationally “in the field.” The place of recording in the larger
corporation will be elucidated by discussion of the Sooys’ relationships with Mr. Johnson, the company’s Musical Directors, and their roles on a range of Victor’s management committees. The company’s transition to electric recording
will also be mentioned.

Philippe le Guern and Hugh Dauncey (Universities of Angers and Newcastle)

Independent record labels and the local sphere : a comparative study of two cities, Angers (France) and Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)

The record market can be understood as an oligopoly with marginal competitive elements, in which 4 major recording companies account for roughly three-quarters of world record sales, the remaining quarter being taken by numerous independent record labels. More precisely, worldwide, 28.3% of world record sales are currently made by independent record labels. The co-existence of the four major companies and thousands of independent record labels is mainly to be explained by the strategy of the independent labels of occupying niche markets, and of playing the role of discoverers of new talents. Independent labels also benefit from lower fixed costs for recording and promotion of records. However, this presentation of the record market as neatly divided into two separate entities – the majors and the independents – is too schematic, negelecting to fully describe a market which in reality should be understood as a continuum. Within the category of ‘independents’, for example, are to be found considerable differences in terms of funding, distribution and promotion between associative non-profit-making independents and the ‘big’ independents working under licence from a major label or using their distribution networks. In this paper, we propose to present a study of ‘small independent record labels’ based on ethnographic studies of labels located in the cities of Angers (France) and Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). Firstly, the study will provide a typology of independent labels ; secondly it will describe and analyse the motivations which lead to the creation of such companies ; thirdly it will describe and analyse the legal and financial workings of these structures ; fourthly it will assess the kinds of contracts and interaction etsablished between these labels and their artists ; fifthly, the study will assess the modes of distribution and promotion of albums prevalent in these independent labels. In conclusion, the paper will examine in what ways the development of the internet-based music industry will impact upon these companies, discussing whether the ‘digital turn’ may facilitate the deconcentration of the record market, thus encouraging musical diversity and the survival of ‘small labels’.


Mike Hajimichael (Intercollege)

THE DESK, THE GLASS AND THE MIC:  the layers of communication, culture and music production.

Having worked in studios for two decades – on both sides of the glass, desk and microphone, I have always been amazed with the role of language and more generally communication in the recording environment. The issue of communication in the studio/recording/artistic process has everything to do with how culture is produced – and it is an area which, has often been overlooked. Technically, record production has its own discourse, its own operational ‘knowledge’ which is only understood by producers, sound engineers, programmers. Some artists choose to take on or understand the aforementioned roles. Knowing how for example music software actually works is a form of empowerment both in and out of the studio for an artist. Simultaneously, communication also has aesthetics and peculiarities associated more with the creative process itself. Song lyrics on paper have a completely different level of meaning when recorded in a studio. The roles of both music producer and recording artist are quiet distinct in this respect. An artist who writes and sings lyrics may demand nothing beyond technical production from a music producer. They may on the other hand seek guidance or seasoned experiential feedback on each ‘take’.  Some artists demand no one else should be in the studio when they record, but the producer. Others will not do anything unless the producers says so – which can lead to forms of artistic servitude i.e. ‘when I say jump, you say how high’.  Technology has also become both more accessible and affordable, that conventional studio set ups are becoming like dinosaurs. Simultaneously, the awareness of technical knowledge has become much more intricate.  Music producers take on the role of audio micro and plastic surgeons – salvaging what they can salvage – and fine tuning even the jost out of tune.

Tommy Harrison (Jacksonville University)

The role of Artist/Producer: Hendrix and Electric Ladyland

Electric Ladyland (1968), one of the highlights in Jimi Hendrix’s short career, received critical acclaim and strengthened Hendrix’s importance as one of the jost influential guitarists of the 1960s and arguably one of the jost influential electric guitarists of all time.  Often neglected in Hendrix’s biography is his impact as a record producer and details about changes in his career when he began to produce his own recordings midway through the recording process of Electric Ladyland. Hendrix was the only one who could produce an album that displayed his psychedelic approach to his creativity.
 Traditionally in charge of the record project and the budget, the producer is hired by a record company to ensure a commercially viable product.  Hendrix received his first production credit, “Directed and Produced by Jimi Hendrix,.”  by telling the musicians how  to play.  The producer often directs musicians in how to perform songs in a particular style, and Hendrix employed this ability by engaging an American rhythm section familiar the stylistic qualities he was aiming to incorporate.  His management of the musicians resulted in a specific musical statement.
 Hendrix’s use of recording technology for his guitar tracks gains less attention from fans who focus on his guitar equipment and performance techniques; however his use of recording techniques is important to his contributions as a producer.  In addition, Hendrix was aware how well his voice was mixed into the final mix, a spot where the voice was not an overtly prominent factor.
In 1968, Hendrix differed from other producers because he was an artist too.  His creative input as a producer cemented his position as an important recording artist in addition to his reputation is a dynamic live performer.

Mark Irwin (London College of Music)

‘Brown shoes don’t make it’…

Frank Zappa is renowned as a composer, filmmaker, guitarist, singer, social/political commentator, satirist, free speech campaigner and scatological humorist.
His work as a music producer and technological pioneer is less widely known.
Zappa’s prolific creative output plots a journey that has defined the art of the musician/producer.
Zappa is quoted as saying “A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians” for musician we could equally substitute engineer. His work blended live and studio recordings alongside outtakes and found audio. Zappa’s legendary photographic memory and technical ability (particularly in editing and compiling) allowed him to constantly re-work his massive back catalogue of recordings.
 This paper will draw on interviews with his engineers alongside examples of the audio output. I will look at the way Frank Zappa broke all the rules in inimitable style and re-invented the paradigm of music production and ask; was Frank Zappa truly the mother of invention?

Michael Jarrett (Pennsylvania State University)

Plato in Nashville: Record Production and Ethics  

In 1999, while conducting research for a magazine article, I interviewed a number of record producers associated with Nashville and country music: Chet Atkins, Blake Mevis, Buddy Miller, Bob Ferguson, Tony Brown, Don Cook, Tompall Glaser, Scott Hendricks, Jerry Kennedy, Buddy Killen, Shelby Singleton, Marty Stuart, Allen Reynolds, Jim Ed Norman, Ken Nelson, Paul Worley, Blake Chancy, James Stroud, and a few others.  I also interviewed several country music producers located in Austin, Los Angeles, and New York.  This latter group of producers inevitably contrasted their work with Nashville-based cohorts.  At the time, I was interested in using all of the interviews I gathered_an ethnography of production_to identify and describe a Nashville aesthetic and method of production.  More recently, I have noticed that my approach maps the standard route to Nashville production: what sounds good and what works in Music City, USA.  Returning to the transcripts of my interviews, I am struck that producers speak as frequently of ethics as they speak of aesthetics.  Instead of letting what can be done with technology guide their work, producers seem especially intent on asking (and answering) lots of “should” questions about recording technology.  They seem duty bound to determine good and bad uses of, say, ProTools.  For example, when does comping a vocal_the practice of compositing a vocal track from multiple takes_become dishonest_a falsification of “reality”?  Producers have not only wrestled with this question; they feel that it is a question they must engage.  While actual productions might respond to the question of comping in radically different ways, it appears that Nashville producers understand audio recording as an apparatus that raises ethical questions, much as Plato understood the technology of writing (artificial memory) as ethically fraught. Using audio clips from interviews that I have gathered, I offer a theory of Nashville’s ethics of record production.

Tellef Kvifte (Oslo University)

Analog revolution in digital technology

In the context of music and music production, the distinction between analog and digital sound recording, and instruments, is fundamental. The development from the analog to the digital technologies is (rightly) seen as a major revolution affecting all aspects of music making and production.
Though mainly used to characterize the technological base, the concepts of analog and digital are also useful to discuss more general issues of communication. One example is the opening of Davies (1996) paper on the history of sampling: ” Most people are unaware that our current transition from analogue to digital technology is the second stage in a development that began around the middle of the last century, culminating in the mid-1870s. Up to then all communications had been digital... for example the electric telegraph and Morse code...” (Davies 1996:3; my emphasis).
Starting from the basic meanings of digital-discrete and analog-continuous, it may be argued that musical parameters are experienced both as digital (like pitch in the steps of a scale, or duration categories like half-notes and quarter-notes) and analog entities (like pitch in glissandi, bends, out-of-tune playing, or the small timing variations in various grooves) (See e.g. Clarke 2000, Desain and Honing 2003,  Kvifte 1989). In my paper, I will extend this view also to the parameters of timbre and loudness, and show that the concepts of analog and digital may be used to understand connections across domains like recording technology, the experience of the musical parameters, as well as the control of musical instruments.
The main conclusion is, that while the recent changes in music production are largely built on digital technology, the artistic drive and motivating factor in this development is the control over analog aspects of music, affecting all the mentioned parameters. The paper will provide an outline of how the development of music technology has given musicians and producers an extremely detailed control over analog parameters, first timbre,  more recently also of timing and intonation.


Kyrre Tromm Lindvig (Oslo University)

The pop song: Sound, ontology and text

What constitutes the nature of a pop song? How many times can it be covered, re-mixed and re-mastered and at the same time retain a sense of coherent identity? When does a re-mix of a song not have anything to do with the original song?

The main question that arises in this context is that of the popular music text: While there is a seemingly consensus that pop texts must be understood inter-textually, the sounding object itself – a result of a multitude of recording and production processes in the studio – is often left in the dark. Since there is no standard nomenclature that can grasp the complexities of sound production prevailing in jost pop songs, I will attempt to use the term “ontology” – with apologies to Heidegger- in trying to establish as well as to problematize the borders of what constitutes a pop song.

As a case study, I will use the German band Kraftwerk. It is a telling example in this case, since it has released several versions of many of their jost famous songs, each re-release becoming a audible document of the technological development of the studio.  This paper will examine three different versions of the song “The Robots”, from 1978, 1991 and 2005. Hereby it is possible to track the development of studio technology over several decades by pointing to which features of the song that have been re-worked and what implications this has for the song as a sounding object.

Based on this example, I will attempt to bridge the gap between a metaphysical definition of the song qua song and a purely inter-subjective hermeneutic position. Special emphasis will be laid on both the possibilities and the limitations of adopting an ontological standpoint.

Gerard Moorey (Bath Spa University)

‘See hear: the Aesthetic Spectacle of Record Production’

Paul McCartney’s performance late last year at Studio 2, Abbey Road, represented something of a high-water mark in the aestheticisation of record production. The select audience gathered in the room where, some forty years earlier, the Beatles had recorded their albums, were privy to a concert in which the utilisation of production techniques was elevated to the status of an art form in its own right. The former Beatle used a primitive four-track mixing desk to ‘bounce down’ sounds in order to produce – in ‘real time’ – the kind of innovative multi-layered compositions that had represented such a step forward all those years ago. The incorporation of this technical process into the performance as a whole owed much to the advent of a more recent piece of technology, the loop-sampler.
    Loop-sampling takes the multi-tracking procedures of the recording studio and applies them to a live setting. As such, it represents a curious re-appropriation of the music industry’s stock-in-trade on behalf of live performance. The construction of a piece of music via the addition of extra layers of sound and their being equalised or tweaked transforms the recording process into an aesthetic spectacle. The spectator-listener is dazzled by the apparent spontaneity of the process, as various instruments are picked up, used – frequently in novel ways – and discarded. Eventually, the whole process is dissolved and then begun again. Thus, recording, which once froze musical time, is now being used to restore it to its original state of evanescence and intangibility.

Saeed Niakowsari (Saba Institute)

Forgotten attempts at recording of sound: a Persian perspective.

The desire to record sound and preserve it has been one of humankind’s long-standing dreams. In the post-industrial era, the first elementary equipment for recording and play back of sound was invented approximately 130 years ago, begun by the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison. Thus it became possible to record a lifetime of artistic pursuit onto ridges of a phonograph three minutes long. Today, well-equipped and sophisticated studios have brought under control many factors which affect recording of sound, and in the past prevented the exact capture of the feelings and emotions of the performing artist. Due to the invention of modern equipment and ever-changing listening tastes of the public, many of the past undertakings in the field of recorded sound have fallen silent. It is unjust that such early experiences as well as the development and evolution of sound recording be ignored. Knowing there is lack of public access to the history of the evolution of recording and playback of sound, I have passionately studied the history of this evolution. My research includes attempts at recording of sound mentioned in the archives of Persian history, as well as the modern history of the first phonograph machine patented by Thomas Edison.

Richard Osborne (London Consortium)

The Cylinder vs. The Disk

The early pioneers of sound recording – Thomas Edison (the phonograph), Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter (the graphophone), Emile Berliner (the gramophone) – all vacillated between using the cylinder or disc formats for their devices. Berliner ultimately selected the disc; the others chose cylinders. Despite being the latecomer, the gramophone triumphed over the other machines.

Why? - the apparent advantage lies in Berliner’s recording and duplication processes. The phonograph and graphophone were home-recording devices for which, initially at least, mass duplication was not possible. Berliner’s more complicated method used a combination of master and copy recordings; multiple duplication was inherent in this technique. In addition, his discs could only be recorded by professionals. Combined, these two factors facilitated the economic expansion of the recording industry. This has led commentators such as Jacques Attali and Stephen Struthers to depict the ascendancy of the disc as being a capitalist ploy: recording was deliberately taken from the individual and placed in the hands of centralized corporations.
    However, the facts do not necessarily bear this out. In the UK discs only superseded cylinders in popularity in about 1908, seven years after Edison had developed a mass-duplication process for the cylinder (the phonograph continued to offer the ability to record at home). The evidence suggests that it was the public who turned their backs on home recording. In my paper I will contemplate why this happened. Moreover, using early recording journals I wish to take a closer look at the reasons why the disc triumphed over the cylinder: recording; duplication; sound quality; handling; repertoire; advertising; cost; and image. I believe that the information uncovered helps to shed light on a crucial period in recording history. In addition, it illuminates the format wars of today.


Justin Paterson (London College of Music)

Killing Spillage

Since the earliest days of multi-microphone live recording, the problem of spillage has dogged the sound engineer. Numerous strategies have evolved including microphone placement, acoustic screening, gating and phase inversion. The acoustic content of spillage can vary from a near direct signal in the case of adjacent mics on a drum kit to aljost pure reverb in the case of a live recording with acoustically significant spacing between the performers. In certain physical setups, the problem is unavoidable and inevitably compromises the degree of control that can be exercised when mixing. It is principally for this reason that it is considered ‘a problem’.
If spillage could be tamed, then the impact on all production would indeed be profound. Classical recordings might afford the producer radical new “Rock’n’Roll” interventionist techniques. Rock producers might be tempted to allow bands to play live in a room, even when a highly “separated’ sound is the ultimate goal, and jazz musicians might avoid having to wear the headphones they so often dread. That is only the beginning.
This paper will present a radical new working methodology that can dramatically reduce spillage in a way never before possible by utilising convolution technology that could be coupled with aljost any “traditional” recording technique, but will focus on time-delayed and ambient problems.  A unique Max/MSP patch will be demonstrated and audio examples will be played to illustrate the effectiveness of the approach. It will delve into commonly understood theory yet demonstrate for the first time, one of tomorrow’s “traditional” recording techniques.


Thomas Porcello (Vasser College)

“So what kind of sound are you after here?”: Speech-about-sound in the recording studio context

In the contemporary world of musical production, the perfecting of sonic timbres and textures is as important—if not more important—than is the achievement of perfect musical performances.  As a result, timbre is increasingly the subject of detailed, technical discourse in contemporary musical production practices.  Musicians, producers, and sound engineers regularly talk about “sound” as a auditory category separable and discrete from “music” per se; professionalizing oneself for a recording or production-related profession therefore necessitates developing familiarity and facility with ways of talking about timbre.
This paper, which emerges at the intersection of theories and methodologies drawn from linguistics (particularly phonetics and sound symbolism), anthropology (the ethnography of speaking and conversational analysis), ethnomusicology (ethnographic approaches to the study of popular music), and media studies (theories of technology and the production of culture), delineates findings about verbal descriptors of musical timbre from recording studio speech.  Based on my field recordings of hundreds of hours of control room conversations among producers, engineers, and musicians during tracking and mixing sessions in the United States, it provides an outline of  English-language vocalic and verbal resources used to describe musical timbres in the studio production context, across a wide range of musical styles.  Contrary to the common idea that talk-about-timbre rarely transcends being an unsystematic hodge-podge of subjective metaphors, this conversational data shows clear and patterned approaches to the creation and deployment of verbal descriptors of sound.  The paper highlights features of verbal/vocal iconicity, the structuring of (predominantly synaesthetic) metaphoric fields, and, jost intriguingly, verbal practices in which iconicity and metaphor are intermingled.  The paper will include audio examples of musical sounds, analysis of the verbal and vocal strategies that musicians, engineers, and producers use to discuss those sounds, and an excerpt of a discussion about “good” drum sounds in a rock recording session.


Larson Powell (Texas A&M University)

Media-Meta-Music: Technological Contexts of Stockhausen’s Mikorophonie II 

Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie II was written for West German Radio, and broadcast live in June 1965.  The score is less a text than a blueprint for improvisation.  Singers’ voices are ring-modulated through electronic loudspeakers with a Hammond organ, giving the piece a ‘popular’ (or even ‘rock’) historical signature.  The listener frequently cannot understand the text, hearing only performance independent of hermeneutics of text or melody. 
This may be tied to the mediatization of art at this time, the effects of which Kittler has described as a de-symbolizing of the Real. Production technology made Stockhausen’s piece a metamusical reflection on the effects of radio, building live broadcast noise into the composition, realizing a mechanizing tendency Adorno had heard in Wagner and jazz - and found later in electric guitar feedback. 
    Mikrophonie II swallows the listener in a flood of electronic modulation, a transforming machine at once pleasurably de-sublimating and anxious with the loosening of the ego.  One of the markings Stockhausen gives his singers is to perform with Angst.
    In Seminar 17, Lacan termed the earth’s enclosure in a sphere of electromagnetic radiation or Hertzian radio waves, the alethosphere (a pun on Heidegger).  Anyone with a microphone can switch on or tune in to this sphere of broadcasts. It is this sphere of noise and signals that Stockhausen exploited as metaphor for collective consciousness.   The same sphere also suggests the ‘sound bath’ in which infants are immersed in their first months.
The deployment of electronic microphone technology in Stockhausen’s piece, de-signifying the voice into its internal spectral overtone structure, renders audible Lacan’s “alethosphere” and places the listener in a ‘sound-bath.’ My talk will, finally, link these de-signifying and performative effects of electronic studio production technology to the disciplinary dispositif of post-1945 managerial society, following Jon McKenzie in Perform or Else.

Nick Prior (University of Edinburgh)

Ok Computer: Mobility, Performance and the Laptop Producer

"I became obsessed with my laptop and my laptop speakers: I was trying to make a bubble you could exist in, a paradise" (Bjork)

The advent of the personal computer and the all-in-one software studio has radically transformed the way music is produced and performed. As the power and availability of computers has grown, it has become possible to create, mix, master and distribute music using a single meta-instrument. The laptop computer intensifies and radicalises these transformations by making music production portable, flexible and mobile. The following paper assesses the impact of the laptop computer on 'musicking'. It identifies three areas of transformation, 1) the bypassing of mainstream industry channels and the (re)rise of amateur production capabilities, 2) the movement of music and its production towards a logic of flow, mobility and liquidity, 3) the production of a series of anxieties around automation and authenticity once the laptop is taken out to perform 'live'. In all three cases, the laptop inserts a moment of uncertainty, unpredictability and ambiguity into music fields, forcing us to re-assess the grounds on which music is produced.

Helen Reddington (University of Westminster)

Creation and re-creation: a sense of place versus ‘being there’

In the late 1970s there were two major pop music cultures in Britain- punk rock, the oppositional and political, and disco, the hegemonic and hedonistic.
Each of them had distinctive production features. Punk music was about anger, and primarily live performance. Recordings of punk bands often had an aljost ethnographic quality, existing purely as a record of a song/band’s existence. Partly because of low budgets, partly because of amateurism, and partly intentional, this uncomfortable sonic space matched the volatile local punk audience it  spoke for. In contrast, disco music was big-budget and used the latest technology to create dancescapes that the clubbers could literally dance inside- studio polish was all-important, and good sound quality was at the heart of the recordings made for this international market.
This paper explores these two contrasting cultures, focusing in particular on the way that sonic space matched the aspirations and purposes of the users, and links them to the political context of the UK at the time. Writings on philosophy, geography, architecture and sociology will be applied to aural examples from the era, to examine the relative impact of recorded music on the two different cultures, and its importance the identity of each.

Francois Ribac (University Paul Verlaine of Metz and Stirling)

From the Scientific Revolution to Popular Music. A sociological approach to the origins of  recording technology.

In this paper, I would like to pose the following question : Why did the recording studio come from the USA and why dit it become an essential part in the making of popular music, both in the USA and the UK ?
To find an answer we have to return to the seventeenth century -  the golden age of the Scientific Revolution -  and consider the English and Scottish scientists. And, what do we find ? Despite the reticence of many of their continental colleagues, who thought that mathematics and geometry were sufficient to understand the world and that observations had to be done outdoors, the members of the Royal Society, and in particular Robert Boyle, tried to establish “matter of facts“ in laboratories equipped with machines (e.g. the famous air-pump), surrounded by witnesses and colleagues. In fact, rather than “reproducing nature“, Boyle concentrated on the performance of his machines and the ease of reproducing the experiments. The developement of this method (still used in today’s science labs ), aided by the studies of local Newtonian societies, enabled the mechanical principles to be gradually translated into practical applications. Precision instruments, steam engines, feedback devices (e.g. to regulate the movement of mill machinery) became the hallmark of British manufacturing. Of course, these techniques coincided with new capabilities and a new social structure. In political terms, England adopted an institutional system founded on a more even balance of power than on the continent.
     Exported to North America, the alliance of these scientists, engineers and political principles gave birth to the electric industry. Directly resulting from this industrial culture, broadcasting applications (vacuum tubes, control rooms) and gramophones formed the basis of the music industry which is not only an economic system, but also a method of organising work and space. No more than nature had been in Boyle’s lab, music was not reproduced but produced in the studio. Recording became the home of  popular music and feedback  became a sound-effect and a way to play music together: the rock band.

Becky Shepherd (University of New South Wales)

Representations of sound: The role of production in the artistic formation of sound in popular musical forms

This paper aims to canvas research currently being undertaken wtihin the discipline of Popular Music Studies. It attempts to facilitate a particular understanding of how production is understood and represented within the domain of popular music.  The paper will discuss the  extent to which the producer can be considered a intergral component of the way in which recorded sound is used to create ‘landscapes’ that facilitate, inform and codify expression of artistry, subsequently creating unity in expressions of popular musical forms.

Approaching the topic of production in reference to popular music is at best arduous and certainly elusive. It is not yet clear how production is to be defined. Even in the broadest sense of the term, across the broadest scope of artistic domains, production remains an elusive, and at best multifaceted concept. The role of the producer/s provides a tangible vehicle for beginning to understand the ways in which ‘soundscaping’ within the recording studio can be understood and the extent to which this contributes to both artistic expression and the validity of music and/or recorded sound as art.

The fluidity of factors such as advancements in technology, the wider more rapid dissemination of the global media, changes in the critical discourses of popular culture, and the global commodification of popular music, have all contributed to the changing role of the producer in the manifestation of the popular musical work.

The work of Theodore Adorno will provide a theoretical canvas for an analysis of the way in which popular music struggles for a place within the domain of valuable art, and how production facilitates artistry in the arrangement of popular musical works as a ‘whole’.

This paper contributes to burgeoning research within the field of popular music and attempts to further justify the inclusion of popular music within the academic domain, while highlighting the significance of often overlooked aspects of the artistic process of popular music as recorded sound.

Paul Theberge (Carleton University, Ottowa)

Glenn Gould Remixed: The Engineer as Archaeologist

At last year’s Art of Record Production Conference (2005), I presented a paper that discussed a recording technique used by Glenn Gould on a number of occasions during the 1970s: sometimes referred to as “acoustic choreography,” Gould’s technique mobilized acoustic perspective as an integral part of his interpretive practice.  Ironically, the largest and jost ambitious recording made by Gould utilizing this technique – a recording of Scriabin’s 5th piano sonata -- was never mixed nor released during his lifetime (producers involved in a posthumous release of the work refrained from using Gould’s choreographic mixing technique).  During the past year, I obtained from Sony-BMG access to the original multitrack recordings of the Scriabin sonata made by Gould in 1970 and am preparing a new edit and mix of the work that will be, as far as possible, in keeping with Gould’s original intentions. 

However, the task of reconstructing the recording, on the one hand, and the research required in coming to a detailed understanding of Gould’s possible intentions, on the other, are both formidable in their own right.  Indeed, as is perhaps not surprising to anyone who has worked in the industry, there is an aljost total lack of any kind of documentation of the original 1970 sessions in which the Scriabin was recorded and, furthermore, because the 30th Street studio in New York where the recordings were made no longer exists, there is no way of exploring the acoustic aspects of the recording except through the information contained in the tapes themselves.  Gould’s intentions are equally enigmatic: while he spoke of his technique of “acoustic choreography” in interviews and while television footage of him engaging in a mock mix of a brief recording exists, there is insufficient evidence in either with which one could reconstruct the specifics of Gould’s decision-making process.  Indeed, the very idea of getting “inside,” as it were, Gould’s artistic practice requires that one attempt to understand him, his approach to music and to the recording medium, at a number of levels. 

In the paper proposed here, I will outline the process – both theoretical and practical -- used in reconstructing the Scriabin recording.  I will describe this process as a kind of “archeology” of the work, an attempt to piece together, from disparate sources, past bits of evidence, artifacts, and information.  Finally, I will briefly outline plans to make some of this recorded material available to the public in a form that would allow them to also create their own “mix,” thus realizing, to some degree, Gould’s vision of the “participatory listener.”

Rupert Till (University of Huddersfield)

Mixing experimental and popular musics.

This paper will describe the production and compositional work of electronic music group Chillage People. Chillage People are a 'chillout' band that perform live, record and produce original music using electronic and acoustic materials. They have achieved some success in a niche market as can be seen by a brief internet search of their name. They are a collection of musicians with interests that include avante-garde, experimental and popular elements. The group have an overtly postmodern agenda, influenced by theorists such as Suzi Gablik and Zygmunt Baumann.

The paper will firstly set out the aims and objectives of the group, the questions they ask, and the agendas they are interested in exploring. It will examine the backgrounds and histories of those involved, to see how such disparate elements came to be integrated, exploring the influence of Shaffeur, Cage, Stockhausen, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Pink FLoyd, Lee Scratch Perry and others. It will go on to describe examples of the group's music, the techniques and methodiologies used, and how these elements came to be included. This will include looking at a nuber of areas including: improvisation, minimalist techniques, sound design,  ethnomusicology, electro-acoustic composition, multimedia, indeterminacy, electronic dance music production techniques, dub techniques, live electronics, digital and analogue technologies, and performance modes.

Finally there will be an exploration of the boundaries between popular and art musics, of the effect and repercussions of such musics and the issues and questions that are raised.

Rob Toulson (Anglia Ruskin Unikversity)

A need for universal definitions of audio terminologies and improved knowledge transfer to the consumer

It is widely regarded that many music producers, engineers and other audio industry professionals are generally employed for their ears, and their ability to articulate what they hear into dialogue and scientific terms. This scenario has generated an element of expertise associated with the language of the music industry professional – but has this in turn created a barrier which impedes the development of audio devices for consumer use?
Modern consumer listening trends have moved towards the use of more functional and convenient electronic devices, often at the expense of audio quality. For example, portable MP3 reproduction devices have enabled consumers to listen to hundreds of audio tracks in any particular order, as well as in random, undefined order. This trend plays fully against the role of the mastering process of record production, where a mastering engineer will meticulously adjust and align audio tracks so that they play on a record in an audibly accurate and artistically pleasing manner.
It could be envisaged that future advances in consumer audio technology will be in high-level control devices that allow consumers to integrate studio production processes into their listening chain. Unfortunately, for these equipment to be commercially viable, the consumer will be required to have an improved understanding of the language and terminology associated with such audio processing. This highlights a knock-on issue in that much audio terminology is metaphoric and only loosely defined scientifically.
In conclusion, to allow the development of advanced devices to enhance audio quality within current consumer listening trends, we should first attempt to develop more universal definitions of audio terminologies. Once this has been done, we can expect consumers to become better educated towards audio processing, thus allowing the development of advanced high-level consumer devices to become more commercially viable.
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Kent Walker (McGill University)

Breaking Through the Glass: Communication Scenarios in Music Production

Standard modern recording practice implements a technique whereby performers and producers of music are spatially separated: producers are placed in a control room; performers are placed in a booth, studio space, or concert hall. A massive technical literature has evolved which largely justifies this practice and has attempted to establish a connection between sound quality and the control room and its design.  However, there are some modern (post-modern?) producers who under certain circumstances eschew the control room and prefer to record in the same space as the performer for musical reasons. Indeed, an analysis of communication between performers and producers indicates that there are several scenarios in current use, each with its own advantages, each affecting records in its own unique way. Scenarios may be:

-    voyeuristic: producers are located in a control room and monitor a different signal at the ears than the musicians (a practice common to live recording)
-    telephonic: musicians and producers hear the same signals (as reproduced at the ears) but at a distance and their own respective environments (a practice incorporating headphones or earphones)
-    shared: the control room is completely eliminated and producers operate in the same acoustic space as the musicians  -    other/reactive: musicians listen to a signal for musical inspiration which is not included as part of the final mix (this signal may or may-not be monitored by the producer)

This paper will discuss the categories presented above using illustrations of music from a variety of traditions.  Special emphasis will be placed on the psychology of performance.

‘I …remember… up this endless stairway was the control room.  It was like heaven, where the great gods lived, and we were down below.  Oh God, the nerves!’  - Paul McCartney (Interview with Mark Lewisohn 1990)

Timothy Warner (Salford University)

Listening for Phi: Representations of Temporal Proportion in Recordings of Mozart's Piano Sonatas

Digital recording, editing and signal processing offer performers and producers of Western European art music unprecedented levels of control over every sonic facet of the recorded artefact. Yet it is often the case that the ways in which these levels of control are exercised in the recording studio seem to contradict or at least partially go against the findings of musicologists, and specifically analysts of classical music. This paper will suggest that this situation is the result of differing approaches: musicologists usually look at scores while performers and producers listen to music in the recording studio. Hence, while scores may contain structural elements that are visually evident to music analysts (and perhaps also composers), some of these elements may not necessarily be easily perceptible aurally to studio performers, producers, and indeed the general record listening public. The paper will illustrate this point with the example of the use of the golden mean in the temporal proportions of the sonata form movements of Mozart's piano sonatas. Although these proportions are clearly visible in the scores, jost studio performers and producers choose to produce recorded performances that only very rarely contain temporal proportions that are based on the golden mean. This paper will conclude with the suggestion that the very process of recording, by dealing specifically with the art of manipulating sound in time, provides musicologists with, in some circumstances, more appropriate ways to approach the structural analysis of classical music.


Michael Worthington (Southern Cross University)

Contemporary Trends in 5.1 Music Mixing  

This paper considers the aesthetics of mixing contemporary music in surround. It will explore certain mixing trends, which focus on:
 
∑ Mixing and re-mixing music (originally designed for stereo) in 5.1-surround
∑ The ‘sweet spot’, common practices, attitudes and rules of mixing in 5.1-surround
 
Mixing music and re-mixing music (previous released in stereo) in 5.1 is a relatively new field of analysis for contemporary music research. A sample of DVDA/SACD releases studied demonstrated mixing practices displaying common styles in the surround mix. Predominantly occurring in the transition from stereo to surround, these practices resulted in the projection of 2 stereo images (front and back) with the intention of a surround image. At the best the mixes give a good presentation of the recorded instruments and a demonstration of the surround technology.
 
Standard practices in 5.1 mixing rely on the sweet spot to fully appreciate the art of the mix the arrangement and at times the composition of the music. If the listener were next to either of the rear speakers they would for the jost part experience reverb, embellishments, backing vocals/instruments. This practice is problematic as jost domestic systems are set-up with the main seating area situated closest to the rear speakers, mainly due to the size of the room.
 
The paper proposes that the mixing process can reorganise and manipulate the recorded elements to design the sweet spot giving the listener freedom to listen from any location inside or out 5.1-monitoring circle and still be able to appreciate the total musical experience without relying heavily on the ‘sweet spot’.
 
Drawing on the author’s professional experience as a 5.1 mixing engineer and also upon research being conducted into this field, the paper will offer aesthetically-based alternatives to existing mixing paradigms.


Simon Zagorski-Thomas (London College of Music)

Functional Staging Through the Use of Production Techniques in late 20th Century African and Cuban Popular Music Recordings.

This paper uses the concept of ‘functional staging’ that I have developed as an extension of William Moylan’s ideas on spatial staging in the production process. Functional staging refers to production techniques that focus attention on particular characteristics in a recording to facilitate a particular use for the recording e.g. mixing and recording dance music in a particular way for clubs. 
I shall be using examples from African and Cuban popular music recordings in the latter part of the 20th century to discuss ways that functional staging developed over time and how these are related to the availability and development of technology and to audience aesthetics. Certain forms of mediation highlight percussive and gestural aspects of performance and others simulate particular facets of concert hall acoustics whilst inhibiting others. The former can be related to recorded music that functions as dance music whilst the latter simulates a live ambience. This relationship between audience aesthetics and functional staging involves complex interactions that work as part of the process of creating and recognising style.
The changing patterns of music consumption (both live and recorded) in the various markets under discussion will be related to the changing sound of the recordings. Did the availability of cassette and ghetto blaster technology in South and West Africa affect the adoption of drum machines in record production? Why did percussion recording in Cuban son adopt close microphone placement techniques whilst the rest of the recording maintained a live approach to the sound? How do perceptions of authenticity in the western world music market relate to preferred methods of technological mediation and production aesthetics?


Hans Zeiner-Henriksen (Oslo University)

The Most Significant Beat - A comparative study of changes in bass drum sounds in dance music from 70s disco to electronic dance music of the 1980s and 1990s.

The process of making dance music has to a large extent shifted from musicians in an analogue studio in the 1970s to DJs and musicians/producers in a computer-based digital studio in the 1990s. This transition has influenced the way of producing immensely. The live band with its energy and vitality has more or less vanished from the production of dance music. As a replacement new abilities provided by the digital technology give the producers/composers improved control of the specific sounds in the mix and new possibilities for shaping the music in order to fulfil the intention of the production.

In focus of this paper are the following two questions: Will the transference of a rhythmic pattern from one time period to another entail transference of ideals regarding the sound? How do various ways of attaining the sound influence the result?

In order to address these questions three examples of the bass drum sound from three different decades will be discussed, more precisely Donna Summer: ”Love to Love You Baby” (1975, produced by Georgio Moroder), Steve ”Silk” Hurley: ”Jack Your Body” (1985), and Basement Jaxx: ”Samba Magic”  (1995). These three examples represent three different ways of attaining the bass drum sound; the recording of an acoustic bass drum, the drum-machine and a sampler triggered from a MIDI-sequencer computer program. All three examples represent the same rhythmic pattern (four-to-the-floor).