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The 9th Art of Record Production Conference:

Record Production in the Internet Age

December 4-6, 2014

University of Oslo

Below is a list of abstracts (alphabetical by author) followed by the abstracts themselves (again in alphabetical order by author)

Some of them (highlighted) are available on video - click to see the video

 

Authors

Title

Track

Achtelik, Patrick

What do we see when we hear that sound?

Recording aesthetics

Askerøi, Eirik

Transmissions: On Difference and Construction in Joy Division

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Barnat, Ons

Nomadic Recording Studio and Participatory Research-Creation: Towards an Applied Ethnomusicology?

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Bennett, Joe

The Death of the Songwriter – attribution of creative ownership in popular music production

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Bergsland, Andreas and Engum, Trond

Unheard Sounds - the aesthetics of inaudible sounds made audible

Recording aesthetics

Blier-Carruthers, Amy

From Perfection to Expression: Changing the Aesthetic of Recording Classical Music?

Recording aesthetics

Braae, Nick

The Development of Queen's 'Epic' Sonic Language

Recording aesthetics

Brennan, Matt

The disposable drummer: the marginalisation of live acoustic drum kit and drummers in contemporary record production

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Campelo, Isabel

“That extra thing”- the role of session musicians in the recording industry

Recording aesthetics

Chiriac, Dragos

Mixing and Mastering at the Same Time: A New Model for Electronic Music Production

Recording aesthetics

Côté, Gérald and Lacasse, Serge

Remixing Quebec Chanson: Singular Aesthetic Discourses through a Common Technological Process

Recording aesthetics

De Man, Brecht and Reiss, Joshua D.

Analysis of Peer Reviews in Music Production

Recording aesthetics

Egenes, John

Record Production in a Transitional Zone: Three Projects Compared

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Findlay-Walsh, Iain

Producing the Listener (as) Space: virtual spaces, reception networks and the listening subject of contemporary pop

Recording aesthetics

Gullö, Jan-Olof

Leadership in music production in the Internet age

Recording aesthetics

Hansen, Kai Arne Hansen

Fetishizing Sound: Mainstream Pop Production and the Politics of Sexuality

Recording aesthetics

Harbord, Jack and Martin, Adam

(Im)possible Performances: The Ethics and Practicalities of Posthumous Production Practices

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Harding, Phil

‘Stay Another Day’: A music composition and production formula to create a successful Boy Band

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Harkins, Paul

The Social Construction of Concepts and Theories: Towards the Development of a Framework for the Study of Digital Sampling

Recording aesthetics

Harper, Adam

'Lo-fi:' The Aestheticisation of Recording Imperfections as Distance from Commercial Production

Recording aesthetics

Howland, John

Teenage Symphonies: The Production Process of Phil Spector and Jack Nitzche, and the (Orchestral) Sound of Yong America in the Early 1960s

Recording aesthetics

Huschner, Roland

“What’s up with this ‘one’?!!!” („Was ist denn das für eine ‚eins‘?!!!”) Discrepancies between the live- and studio-performance and the consequences for musical efficiency of artists/bands.

Recording aesthetics

Kiss, Jocelyne and Lacasse, Serge

From Physical to Discretized Objects: An Arborescent Conception of the Music Album

Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Kjus, Yngvar and Danielsen, Anne

Mixing Time: The Use of Recording Technologies in Live Music Performance

Recording aesthetics

Knakkergaard, Martin

Cruising for Burgers

Recording aesthetics

Koszolko, Martin

Crowdsourcing, Remixing and Jamming: Contemporary Music Production Practices in the Cloud

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Lacasse, Serge

“A Note all her own”: A Phonostylistic Analysis of Sia’s « Chandelier » (2014)

Recording aesthetics

Lapointe, Yannick

The Art of Record Reproduction: Rethinking High-Fidelity

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Lefford, Nyssim

The Sound of Coordinated Efforts: Music Producers, Boundary Objects and Trading Zones

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Marshall, Lee

Streaming music: questions of ownership and value

Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

McNally, Kirk

Music archives in higher education: A case study

Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Meier, Leslie, Powers, Devon and Klein, Bethany

How To Record? A Comparative Analysis of Musical Licensing

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Meynell, Anthony

Capturing the sound of revolution. Differences in recording techniques between British and American recording studios in the late 1960s.

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Murchison, Gayle

“Bandy Bandy,” Baduism, and Marie Daulne’s Ancestry in Progress

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Nylund Hagen, Anja

Personal Playlist Practices in Music Streaming Services

Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

O'Malley, Matthew

The Definitive Edition (Digitally Remastered)

Recording aesthetics

Ojanen, Mikko

Mastering Kurenniemi's Rules: a role of an audio engineer in mastering process

Recording aesthetics

Papavassiliou, Anthony

Unconsented Contamination: Musical Collage As a Creative Original Work

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Pearlmutter, Gittit

Contemporary Production Techniques and Changes in Formal Structures: An Analysis of Machine Gun by Portishead

Recording aesthetics

Peres, Asaf

And Sunday Comes Afterwards: A Comparative Study of Sonic Narratives in Rebecca Black's "Friday" and Britney Spears's "Till the World Ends"

Recording aesthetics

Pestana, Maria Do Rosário and Marinho, Helena

Invisible network: The making of the Portuguese popular song

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Porcello, Tom

Joint Authorship, Works-for-Hire, and the Idea/Expression Distinction: The collision of law and practice in popular music recording

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Redhead, Tracy

INTERACTIVE MUSIC FORMATS – WILL AUDIENCES INTERACT?

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Ribac, Francois

We can't understand record production by looking only at record production or new technology; the case of The Beatles at Abbey Road.

Recording aesthetics

Seay, Toby

Record Production Practices Using a Transitional Tape-based Digital Format

Recording aesthetics

Slater, Mark

What the Project Studio Tells Us About the Aesthetics (and Poetics) of Recorded Music

Recording aesthetics

St-Laurent, Méi-Ra

Quebec's Black Metal: Analysis of a phonographic and identitary narrative of a marginal scene

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Stevenson, Alex

Authenticity and the role of live musicians in hip hop production

Recording aesthetics

Theberge, Paul

Click / Beat / Body: The role of the click track in digital music production

Recording aesthetics

Thomas, Niall

How has the development of technology influenced the recorded aesthetics of Heavy Metal Music?

Recording aesthetics

Thompson, Paul and McIntyre, Phillip

Engineering: Creativity and Collaboration in the Recording Studio

Musical Ownership and Authorship

Toulson, Rob

Future Music Formats: evaluating the ‘album app’

Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Weinstein, Gregory

Producing Intimacy: The Curious Case of "Live" Classical Recordings

Recording aesthetics

Williams, Alan

Crowdtracking: Authorship in the video composites of Playing for Change and Eric Whitacre

Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Wolfe, Paula

Between the private and the public: the artist-producer and hybrids of production practice in the digital era.

Recording aesthetics

Wong, Jamie

Unintentional Singers: Auto-tuning Everyday Speech on YouTube

Musical Ownership and Authorship

 

Patrick Achtelik, University of West London

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

What do we see when we hear that sound?

This paper deals with the association of movement and sound, more precisely performance gestures and music. Before the advent of sampling technology, musical performance and its recording represented the direct relationship between a musical performer, technique, the instrument. A certain movement would produce a certain sound and therefore the listener would be able to visualize the performance gestures, even without any visual stimuli. This can be observed when people hear songs such as for example "Smoke on the water", the intro of ZZ Top's "Gimme all your lovin'" or "Rapper's delight" - the listener will often mimic the performance gestures associated with the guitar, drums, bass etc.

Now a MIDI-keyboard or mouse click can trigger any imaginable sound from a sample database and many of the sounds of electronic music are not directly associated with a musical instrument. There is no instrument, but an interface between the musician and the sound production module.

How does our association of sound and gesture deal with the fact that sampling technology has detached the sound from its discrete gesture? What do we see and how do we dance? Are the gestures associated with electronic music, especially dance music, reduced to rhythmical impulses manifested in stomping feet, waving of the hands and nodding of the head?

In my research I plan to explore how we translate the sound of electronic music from the sonic dimension to the physical/kinetic dimension by examining performances of DJs and the audience's gestures. The presentation of the results will make use of sound recording, video footage and research will draw upon literature concerned with producer/performer relationship in the context of digital music production such as Tellef Kvifte´s contribution to Anne Danielsen´s Musical Rhythm in the Age of Digital Reproduction (2010), Virgil Moorefield´s The Producer as Composer (2005).

Eirik Askerøi, University of Oslo

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      ­Myth formation, sonic markers, production, vocal temperament

 

Transmissions: On Difference and Construction in Joy Division

For a band as influential as Joy Division has been, its actual recordings were relatively few, and its ending, tragic. On May 18, 1980, just days before the band was to begin its first tour of the United States, lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. In a matter of hours, the story of Joy Division, the promising and inventive young group from Manchester, suddenly became the story of Curtis, the troubled lead singer. Fairly or not, people immediately began to locate Curtis’s personal turmoil and untimely end in his lyrics (obviously) but also in the sound of the band.

This paper aims to explore the relationship between the sound of and the myth about Joy Division. I will argue that the documentaries, biographies and movies about the band that appeared during the 2000s supply a contextual basis for exploring Joy Division’s mythological narrative from a musicological perspective. Building on this contextual framework, I shall investigate how markers of Joy Division’s sound can be identified through close readings of their performance and production strategies. The main focus will fall on Joy Division’s vocalisation, compositional structures and studio production in a handful of their most popular songs. The overall aim of this paper, then, is to show the complexity of this particular tale and especially the ways in which sonic markers played a major role in the formation of one of pop music history’s sturdiest myths.

Ons Barnat, Université Laval

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Nomadic Recording Studio, Applied Ethnomusicology, Transcultural Spaces

 

Nomadic Recording Studio and Participatory Research-Creation: Towards an Applied Ethnomusicology?

With today’s technological miniaturization of sound recording tools, we are facing a worldwide expansion of recorded material created by people who were until recently unable to have access to these leading-edge resources. Research about these new practices in the studio thus appears as an emerging field in ethnomusicology (Guilbault 1993, Théberge 1997 and 2004, Meintjes 2003, Greene 2005, Moehn 2005 and 2012; Neuenfeldt 2005 and 2007, Bates 2008 and 2010, Bayley 2009; Scales 2012; Barnat 2013).

However, with this exponential increase of musical productions, the World Musician is facing a series of obstacles to the development of his career: lack of opportunities at the local level; difficulties to create links with the international market; resource scarcity in musical and technical training; obsolescence of local institutions dedicated to the development of musical careers; prejudices about the music profession, etc. (Frith 1991, Aubert 2005, Arom and Martin 2006, White 2012).

Through this conference, I wish to present the challenges of my postgraduate research, which is combining international cooperation with research-creation (Stévance and Lacasse, 2013) in different transcultural spaces. Having always mixed travel and music, I gradually have formed an international network of researchers, musicians, sound engineers and producers, whom I aspire to unite around a “Nomadic Recording Studio" project, initiated in 2011 with musicians in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Other recordings have since been done, in collaboration with local actors, in Ecuador, France, Tunisia, Denmark and Quebec. The main purpose of this international project is to experiment new ways of developing an Applied Ethnomusicology (Hemetec 2006, Silva et al 2008, Araujo 2009), where the researcher will not only be documenting other people’s music, by doing traditional “scholarly ethnic recordings” (Shelemay 1991, Scales 2012), but where he will take part of a mutual creative process involving different cultural actors – while focusing on the analysis of social interactions between these actors and the "machine" represented by the recording studio.

Joe Bennett, Bath Spa University

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Copyright, Creativity, Music Production, Songwriting, Authorship

 

The Death of the Songwriter – attribution of creative ownership in popular music production

The creation of recorded popular music has always been a collaborative process. Listeners enjoy an audio product that consists of a composition (usually with lyrics) that is arranged, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered. All of these activities combine in an object that creativity psychology would define as creative - that is, original and valuable (Boden 2004; Mackinnon 1963; Weisberg 1993). Sometimes creative contributions are fully demarcated but in practice there is often substantial overlap between roles, and individual creators frequently take on more than one role.

Drawing on the author’s research into creative behaviours in songwriting teams (Bennett 2012) and his experience as a forensic musicologist in copyright disputes, this paper discusses the challenges posed by collaborative popular music production, for copyright law and for the recorded music industry. The traditional binary allocation of creative activity across two objects (the ‘song’ and the ‘sound recording’) was developed many years ago and may no longer be truly representative of the way popular music is made. Creativity that is obviously derivative such as melodic quotation or audio sampling is a form of linear collaboration that makes authorial attribution particularly difficult, not least because of the complex interrelationship between moral and economic rights in copyright law.
Audio recordings of successful hits will be analysed to frame a discussion of the specific creative contributions that led to particular sonic outcomes; these will be contrasted with the Intellectual Property that subsists in the finished work. The paper proposes mechanisms by which the disparity between the extent of creative contribution and ownership of song copyright might be addressed.


Bennett, J., 2012. Constraint, collaboration and creativity in popular songwriting teams. In D. Collins, ed. The Act of Musical Composition: Studies in the Creative Process. Ashgate, pp. 139–169.
Boden, M., 2004. The creative mind : myths and mechanisms 2nd ed., London ;;New York: Routledge.
Mackinnon, D.W., 1963. The Identification Of Creativity. Applied Psychology, 12(1), pp.25–46.
Weisberg, R., 1993. Creativity : beyond the myth of genius, New York: W.H. Freeman.

Andreas Bergsland and Trond Engum

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Ultra-sound, sampling rate, recording, concrete sounds, composition, aesthetics, processing

Unheard Sounds - the aesthetics of inaudible sounds made audible

In the recording industry, the quest for the ultimate high fidelity sound reproduction has spurred the use of digital formats with ultra-high definition, in particular with bit resolution and sampling frequencies well above the CD-standards of 16-bit/44.1kHz. While the benefits of ultra-high sampling frequencies are debated, we will demonstrate how recording in the ultra-sonic range can have aesthetic potential.

In the project Unheard Sounds we have recorded a range of concrete sound sources using a microphone sensitive up to 100kHz sampling the signal at192kHz. The same signal has also been sampled at 48kHz for comparison. With these recordings as our basis, our presentation will focus on our investigations of:

a) the differences between using 48KHz and 192KHz for different processes and applications. For which processing strategies and perception modes does ultra-high sampling rates achieve results that industry standard won’t achieve? At this point, we have shown how a simple technique as downward transposition by re-sampling, where transpositions of one octave or more, results in clearly audible differences between the two.

b) transpositions of ultrasound as compositional material. Which sonic structures and qualities are found above the human hearing threshold for different sound sources? Filtering out all audible frequencies and then transposing the ultra-sonic frequencies down to the audible range has opened up for exploration of musical potential in an unconventional manner.

c) recording strategies for sounds above our hearing threshold. Is it possible to navigate microphone placement without monitoring the sounds, and do the sound sources we choose even represent information in the ultra-sonic range?

d) composing/producing a musical piece based on the findings. The recordings of different concrete sounds and findings related to transposition will be categorized in a sample library. This sample library will be used for further processing and as building blocks in a short composition/production.

Amy Blier-Carruthers, Royal College of Music

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Performance, Perfection, Expression, Live, Recorded, Aesthetics, Technology

           

From Perfection to Expression: Changing the Aesthetic of Recording Classical Music?

There is a crisis in the classical music recording industry - companies are struggling and being dismantled, and the traditional sales mechanisms are collapsing - but there is another, hidden crisis. Many musicians working today have a negative attitude towards recordings, in which they perceive a prioritisation of perfection over expression, and over which they feel they have a lack of control in regards to both the process and final product. Perfection seems tacitly to have become the norm expected in classical music performance. Editing makes perfection possible on a recording, but this aesthetic has also invaded the concert hall. The expectation of perfection can be detrimental to in-the-moment communication with the audience, which may sometimes put at risk technical accuracy but often delivers more expressive and convincing artistic expressions. Our tastes have therefore been influenced by what technology makes possible. I would like to explore how the practices of classical music recording shapes the dominant tradition (one focused on perfection). I will propose some new ways forward: by training conservatoire students for the studio so that they enter the profession prepared; by experimenting with changing the aesthetic of classical music recording from perfection to expression, which would necessitate a change of attitude in performers, teachers, audition panels, producers, record companies, critics and listeners. This addresses the conference theme of Recording Aesthetics (A) in that it examines the relationship between recording technology and the finished product, and issues arising out of comparing live and recorded formats. This is currently an aesthetic argument which is informed by ethnographic fieldwork and the development of future experiments. Points of discussion will include: Do we want perfection in performance? Are we conflicted in our aesthetic preferences? What or who are the main barriers to more expressive, less perfection-centric performances? What could we try instead?

 

Andrew Bourbon, University of West London

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

Multibus Mixing In the DAW Environment

Mixing using multiple parallel busses is a well-documented feature of contemporary mixing practice in the analogue domain made famous by mix engineers such as Michael Brauer. In this specific case there are 4 core busses to which audio can be routed, allowing the control over the interaction of dynamic processing on elements within the mix. Further processing is achieved through the multichannel mix busses and aux busses on the console, with these outputs feeding processing tools.

The analogue console provides an excellent routing matrix, allowing the development of an ergonomic workflow and access to the multiple processing paths and busses prevalent in multibus mixing. Aside from the benefits of routing flexibility and workflow there are documented sonic benefits expressed by engineers such as Michael Brauer. It is the intention of this paper to explore the benefits of the multibus approach, looking at the interaction between elements and the control of those interactions afforded by multibus mixing. Further to exploring the analogue multibus process, this paper will also investigate the potential for affording the engineer the benefits of the analogue multibus process within a digital audio workstation (DAW).

This paper will look specifically at the development of a system for multibus mixing within the DAW, and evaluate the results of mixing in the DAW against the results achieved in the analogue domain. Finally a hybrid approach will be considered, where the final analogue summing and bus processing takes place in the analogue domain, but with all channel and non-mixbus processing taking place in the DAW.

Nick Braae, University of Waikato

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Style, Production Techniques, Environment

The Development of Queen’s ‘Epic’ Sonic Language

A defining trait of Queen’s songs from the mid-1970s was a sense of sonic magnitude. From close listening and analysis of 90 Queen tracks (from 1973-80), and with reference to secondary sources (documentaries, print interviews, etc.), this paper considers three primary techniques through which Queen created the impression of size in their songs.

First, Brian May juxtaposed overdriven guitar chords with riff-based guitar parts, or the absence of guitar, thereby maximizing the contrasts in sonic density. Second, May’s guitar parts were mostly doubled; their impact was then enhanced by the addition of backing vocals, which were multitracked to create choirs of fifteen-plus voices. The guitars and vocals were spread evenly across the stereo image (guitars on the outer perimeter), thus filling up a significant area of the sound-box. Third, and most importantly, the performance environments of Queen’s mid-1970s tracks were often small, the lack of reverb a consequence of the group’s predilection for overdubs (see Mynett 2012). The presence of the guitars and vocals was thus magnified because of the small perceptual space in which these sounds resided (Zagorski-Thomas 2010; Moylan 2012).

It is argued that these techniques were evident partially on the group’s early albums, before being conflated consistently from A Night at the Opera (1975) onwards. Various reasons are offered for this observation, including wider production trends (Zagorski-Thomas 2012), and an increased understanding on the group’s behalf of how to realize best their stylistic qualities in sound. Zak uses the adjective ‘epic’ to describe 1970s rock songs that exceeded conventional formal boundaries (Zak 2008); in Queen’s case, the group developed an ‘epic’ sonic language that matched and enacted their own aesthetic ambitions.

Matt Brennan, University of Edinburgh

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Drum Kit, Drum Software, Authorship, Recording Aesthetics, Musical Labour

 

The disposable drummer: the marginalisation of live acoustic drum kit and drummers in contemporary record production

This paper explores how software packs and add-ons such as Drummer (Apple), BFD (FXpansion), and similar products may contribute to the marginalisation of the live acoustic drum kit and drummers in contemporary record production – a trend which ironically comes despite the drum kit’s move from the margins to the centre to the aesthetics of pop record production in the last several decades, and the marketing of the aforementioned products in part as providing ‘Big F*cking Drum’ (BFD) sounds. Sound synthesis and sample packs are clearly available for most musical instruments, not just the drum kit, so what makes drum kit software packs different from those for other instruments? And how do they affect the authorial status of drummers (or writers and programmers of sampled or synthesised drum parts) in contemporary songwriting?

My analysis is theoretically underpinned by work from Zagorski-Thomas (2010) on the interaction of recording technology and drum kit performance, theories of ‘phonographic orality’ and authorship (Toynbee 2006), and the social construction of technology (Pinch and Bijsterveld 2003) to focus on how value judgments are made about the drum kit on record. I address the questions above by employing social research methods including interviews with drummers, recording engineers, and producers, archival research from consumer and trade publications - and, where applicable, my own experience in the studio as a practicing drummer. This paper would be equally suited to the ‘Recording Aesthetics’ or ‘Musical Ownership and Authorship’ themes of the conference.

Isabel Campelo, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­Musicians, Session Musician, Singer, Recording, Recording Industry, Recording Studio

 

“That extra thing”- the role of session musicians in the recording industry

During the golden years of the recording industry, music production justified the emergence of professional musicians whose expertise was performing in the studio-the session musicians. The Wrecking Crew, the Funk Brothers, or the Muscle Shoals are examples of such musicians, who added “that extra thing" (Hartman) to the songs they played, to the point of actually replacing members of famous bands in the studio.

Recently, documentary films like Muscle Shoals– The Incredible True Story of a Small Town with a Big Sound, The Wrecking Crew– The Untold Story of Rock & Roll Heroes (still unreleased, but shown in private sessions) and Twenty Feet from Stardom (focused on the work of back-up singers, usually session singers themselves) have drawn the public`s attention to these often overlooked actors in the music scene.

With the digital revolution and the use of new platforms for music consumption, different models for record production outside the recording industry emerged and budgets available by labels to release new acts decreased. Within the industry's new framework, are session musicians still needed??

This paper aims to reflect upon the work of session musicians in the recording industry. Drawing from my own experience as session singer, questions of musicianship, authorship, and listening experience will be highlighted. On what circumstances does a producer choose a session musician over a band member, eventually sacrificing the band's "feel" and how does this decision impact on the live performance? Can we consider some session musicians/singers’ participations in a song as part of the composition? How is the listening experience in the studio relevant for the performance? My methodology will involve ethnographic interviews with studio musicians, together with information displayed in the above- mentioned documentaries and research based on the work of producers and other actors in the recording studio setting.

 

 

Dragos Chiriac, Laval University

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Mixing, Mastering, Loudness, Compression, Electronic Music Production

Mixing and Mastering at the Same Time: A New Model for Electronic Music Production

This paper will present the encouraging results of a music project based on a controversial approach: mixing and mastering at the same time. This method, developed in the context of a master’s project and pursued at the Ph.D. level, aims at obtaining loud mixes, particularly in musical genres where such practices are pertinent (electronic music and hip-hop, in my case), while avoiding the usual disadvantages of loud mixes. In other words, I am seeking for ways to achieve loud masters without loosing dynamic range or encountering distortions, usually associated with the heavy usage of compressors and limiters near 0 dBFS, prior to the file format compression (typically mp3).

Contrary to many authors (e.g. Tischmeyer), I believe that mixing and mastering at the same time can be an efficient method that deserves serious attention. The technique involves the use of peak level control at every stage of the production process on each separate track (sound design, microphone placement, compression) as well as some light compression on the whole mix’s master bus. This technique allows for a precise control of the peak level of each instrument within the mix, without getting to close to the digital limit of 0 dBFS: near this limit, consumer quality audio gear tends to distort even if the true peak level is below 0 dBFS, especially so with compressed file formats such as mp3. Finally, this method (used on my last album Something about being a man and on two other albums I am currently producing) allowed for the preservation of perceived dynamics and depth while sounding as large and as loud as albums released by artists in musical genres similar to mine.

Kathryn Coduto, Kent State University

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      ­Virtual platforms, Tangibility, Materiality, Streaming services, Internet radio, Consumer preferences, Consumer interactions, Music and psychology, Cloud computing

 

Tangibility and Immateriality: Understanding Consumers’ Changing Sense of Touch in the Music Industry

This paper analyzes consumers’ interactions with virtual music playback platforms as these platforms change and evolve, using theories of dematerialization that emerged from the fine arts in the 1960s. The purpose of this paper is to understand how consumers feel toward the variety of virtual platforms available to them. The primary goal is to develop an understanding of the recording industry’s current state and to help the industry better anticipate changes in technology and adapt in more efficient manners to consumers’ changing attitudes toward technology in relation to experiencing music. The research problem is first discussed, as well as the relevant research questions and hypotheses pertaining to the core questions, related in the context of dematerialization theory. A discussion of existing literature follows, analyzing the current music industry as well as its short but tumultuous history. Consumers’ purchasing habits are also analyzed, including an in-depth discussion of consumers interacting with digital technology and the willingness of consumers to adopt new technology.

The methodology is then discussed. Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted for this paper. This research was accomplished with a sample of respondents who identified as avid music consumers. Three different age groups were used for this research; those age groups included respondents aged 18 to 25, 26 to 35, and 36 and older. Respondents were chosen using a nonprobability, purposive sample.

The findings and associated discussion demonstrate that the most significant aspect of this research is the development of music-consuming personality types, which are also not confined to generational boundaries. Based on subjects’ interview responses, consumers are categorized into two kinds of listeners: those who are listening as analyzers and those who are listening as engagers. Analyzers care about the content of the music itself; these respondents were most likely to adapt to new archives and to embrace every kind of virtual platform available. Those who were engagers tended to still purchase physical products, including compact discs and vinyl records, while seeing technological innovations as important in interacting with music in situations where physical products were not convenient or were unavailable for consumption.

The conclusion discusses ways in which this research can be used to improve targeting virtual platforms to consumers with diverse needs and habits. By understanding that nearly all consumers are willing to adapt and the nuances of their adaptation, the recording industry as a whole can be better suited to produce products for the best user experience and to make those products available to users who will engage with them effectively and willingly. Questions for further research on this topic are also discussed, both as it relates to the music industry and to similar industries who are also facing rapid advancements in technology.

 

 

Gérald Côte and Serge Lacasse, Université Laval

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

Remixing Quebec Chanson: Singular Aesthetic Discourses through a Common Technological Process

In 2011, musicologist Serge Lacasse and ethnomusicologist Gérald Côté (2011) initiated an art-based research project involving a dozen of musicians who were asked to create remixes of songs from Quebec artists recorded before 1950. The project had two main objectives: First, the production of an album of 20 remixes based on historical recordings from Quebec; second, a better understanding of the remixers’ creative process through an ethnographic study. Now that the project has been completed, it is time to present its scientific and artistic results.

After a contextualization of the project by Serge Lacasse and a brief presentation of some of the remixes featuring on the album, Gérald Côté will summarize some of the ethnographic findings: Results suggest that although the participant musicians were invited to use similar digital technologies (including sampling, sound synthesis, filtering, stretching, etc.) in the context of a postmodern (Kramer 1999) and hypermodern world (Lipovetsky 2005), their music seems to reflect aesthetic proposals in accordance with very singular ideals. The new technological tools tend to favour individual (almost secret) pieces of work, in a world in which collide multiple musical spaces that open the way for a personal semantic exploration that nevertheless refers to movements of polarity capable of generating sets of consistent meanings. Following an ethnographic investigation that has produced hundreds of pages of comments from the participants about their own creative process, the paper will illustrate the creative quality of the individual-musician that flourishes when in contact with technological through tools that have become more powerful and flexible.

References:

Kramer, Jonathan. 1999. “The Nature and Origins of Musical Postmodernism.” Current Musicology 66 (Spring): 7-­20.

Lacasse, Serge and Gérald Côté. 2011. “Revisiting La Bolduc: Remixing as Phonographic Performance”. 7th Art of Record Production Conference, San Francisco, 2-­4 December.

Lipovetsky, Gilles. 2005. Hypermodern Times. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gérald Côté, invited professor, Faculté de Music, Université Laval Serge Lacasse, Professor, Faculté de musique, Université laval

 

 

Brecht De Man and Joshua D. Reiss, Queen Mary University of London

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Music Production, Mixing, Perceptual Evaluation

 

Analysis of Peer Reviews in Music Production

Perceptual evaluation of mixes is essential when investigating music production practices, as it provides insight into which processing corresponds with a generally favoured effect. In this work, we study the comments of mixing engineers on each other’s anonymised mixes of different songs.

The experiment consisted of two groups of 8 mixing engineers, each mixing four songs and reviewing the mixes of the other group. This resulted in 8 versions for each of the 8 songs, with 8 mini-reviews per version. The mixing engineers in this study are master students from a sound recording master. The perceptual evaluation also featured a professional mix of the same song, as well as a completely autonomous mix by an algorithmic mixing system.

We analyse the comments in terms of focus on different instruments and processing, and the ratio between positive and negative comments. We also investigate the relations between the comments given by a certain mixing engineer, and the comments received. For instance, a mixing engineer noting that the drums were too loud on most of the mixes he reviewed may be more likely to mix drums relatively quiet himself.

In a second part of the study, we examine the ratings attributed to every song along with each minireview. The correlation between comments and ratings reveals whether mixing engineers would for example notice the small imperfections or the pleasing features of a mix they rate highly.

Furthermore, we discuss the implications of the unconstrained feedback format and their use in research contexts for analysis of mixes. Because the format is free, some interpretation is necessary to determine which parameters, processes and instruments led to the reviewer to give a certain comment. As mixing multitrack music is a highly complex process with many subtle relations between elements and individual processes, this is a non-trivial problem.

John Egenes, University of Otago

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Olk Process, Digital Culture, Music, Print Culture, Remix, Mashup, Stone Soup, Tyre Tracks, Pluck Harp

 

Record Production in a Transitional Zone: Three Projects Compared

Digital technology and the culture it has engendered are causing a rapid transformation of long-held views about the value of content, our notions of authority, and our perceptions of how we as producers fit into the means of production of intellectual property. While record production is still largely viewed as an industry pursuit carried out by professionalized experts, its practical application is now part of the transcultural environments of digital networks and social media.

This paper discusses my role as producer for three albums, and the contrasts within their respective cultural environments. The albums are “Pluck”, a CD of original classical music performed by harpist Helen Webby; “Tyre Tracks & Broken Hearts”, a CD of country music by singer/songwriter Donna Dean; and “The Stone Soup Sessions”, an Americana album. Comparisons of recording methodologies and production philosophies are made, starting with the “conventional” production model of “Pluck”, and exploring the “hybrid” production methods used in “Tyre Tracks” along with the influence of digital culture upon the production of “Stone Soup”.

“Pluck” was recorded in a conventional manner that would be familiar to most producers of classical (Western Art) music. “Stone Soup” involved musicians recording at a distance, from around the world, without a hierarchy of authority, and receiving very little artistic instruction. “Tyre Tracks” was a composite of these two methods, employing some top-down hierarchical structure locally, with “distance” musicians contributing their tracks without oversight or instruction. As production changed from conventional to hybrid, and on to digital, roles shifted and the hierarchical structure of authority evolved within each project. Measured against the recognizable “top-down” structure used in the production of classical music recordings, the hybrid model used what has been called an “adhocracy”, wherein leadership roles shifted as tasks changed. “Stone Soup” assigned authority to the musicians who performed on it, and its content evolved in a “bottom-up” fashion, characteristic of the transcultural nature of digital network ecology, within the model of a modern “folk process”.

This networked ecology has both isolated and standardized certain regional influences in music. They play a significant role in record production, most especially in providing for an expanded artistic pallette to be used by the producer. This paper examines the shifting roles of the producer, and the evolution of the historical folk process works within this context.

Iain Findlay-Walsh, University of Glasgow

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Popular Music, Production of Space, Record Production, Listening, New Media

Producing the Listener (as) Space: virtual spaces, reception networks and the listening subject of contemporary pop

This paper develops a theoretical analysis of pop music, listening and the listener, building on the work of Tia DeNora and Michael Bull, and explores its practical implications for the production and study of pop music. It begins by building on the concept of 'functional staging' developed by Simon Zagorski-Thomas, and draws on Henri Lefebvre's 'social space' to propose a concept of the listener as representational space. This listener-as-space, I will suggest, is constantly engaged in a process of self-realisation (within the 'social morphology' of, for example, the urban city) and develops listening habits and practices as a central strategy in this effort.

Furthermore, I will argue that music production – and specifically that of contemporary pop music – not only participates in, but directly engages with the subject's (spatial) self-production to the extent that this can be seen to form a clear part of popular music language, aesthetics, materials and circulatory systems. I argue that the spatial language of pop extends beyond the production of the recorded music artefact and through the multi-medial networks of present-day transmission and reception.

This paper will build upon recent discourse on virtual spaces within popular music studies by focusing on the nature of the listening space as a consequence or product of the (mediated) listening encounter. By drawing on recent writings in popular music studies, as well as in cultural and media theory, I will propose a framework for developing an understanding of listening in the context of post-millennial media. Ultimately, the focus here is on the phenomenological and ontological consequences for the listener, and on understanding and extending the practices of pop music in an era of mediatised everyday experience and ontological precarity.

Jan-Olof Gullö, Södertörns University & Royal College of Music in Stockholm

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Leadership, Music Production, Internet, Virtual Music, Media Convergence, Music Producer Role

 

Leadership in music production in the Internet age

The purpose of the paper is to present results from an on-going research project and to discuss aesthetic and ethical aspects in the art of record production focussing the leadership in music production. The theoretical framework is based on a socio-cultural and dialogical perspective, which proposes that learning and understanding develop in context through interaction and dialogue. In this perspective literacies are seen as social practices where epistemologies and identities are crucial when it comes to constructing knowledge. The concept of leadership in music production, or record production, in the Internet age is clearly understudied. Also studies concerning leadership in music production in general are few. Previous research shows that different cultures have radically different leadership styles. And such variations may be an obstacle for those who are in charge of, for example, recording sessions. Previous research and literature concerning the music producer role often can be described as anecdotal portraits of the recording industry and may not in all respect be valid in in the art of record production in the Internet age. But even if frozen ideologies are challenged by technological and economic development several traditions last as sediments from the past. The results comprise different aspects such as copyright issues, ethical and artistic aspects, questions about what skills music producers needs to have in order to achieve set production objectives and how the technology used for the recording and processing of the recorded music may influence the final result. Further more new virtual musical arenas, on the Internet, has contributed to new recording aesthetics as a result of altered divergent as well as convergent media habits among the listeners. Such changes in the way music is received has resulted in, for example, less interest in issues concerning whether the music is virtual or real.

Anja Nylund Hagen, University of Oslo

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      Playlists, Music Streaming Services, Media Technologies, Spotify, WiMP, User Practices

 

The Playlist Experience: Personal Playlists in Music Streaming Services

Practices related to music streaming services have yet to occupy researchers to any extent, yet music listening with this technology increases rapidly, especially in the Western world. In Norway, music streaming has become mainstream with seven out of 10 Internet users accessing either of the two major services, Spotify and WiMP. They offer vast music catalogues and features that enable personal music organization in playlists. This paper enquires how streaming users describe and make sense of their practices and experiences of creating, maintaining, and using personal playlists in music streaming services.

The analysis relies on a mixed-method qualitative study including music diary self-reports, online observations of last.fm and Facebook, and in-depth interviews with 12 heavy users of Spotify or/and WiMP Music in Norway.

The findings show heterogeneous playlist practices in managements of static and dynamic playlists. The playlists are based on structural and contextual schemes and narratives in the music aggregating.

User control motivates the different practices that also demonstrate new ways in which music collecting via streaming services takes place, but also derives from traditional physical collecting.

The paper further discusses the multiple potential in the services, affording different uses to different users. For example, music streaming services afford music hoarding in static playlists to some, while they invite practices of immediacy and fluidity to others.

Media technologies are in this perspective understood as complex socio-material phenomena and products of distinct human and institutional efforts. Hence tensions between for example determination and contingency in personal practices can play out differently in different contexts (Gillespie et al 2014: 7). This includes embracing the complexity of new media technologies to fruitfully extend contemporary inquiries into media, technology and society, and to provide ways to pin a social consequence to a dynamic, rather than to a particular tool or “new media” in their entirety (Gillespie et al 2014: 6-7).

This paper is part of a PhD project with objective to understand the experience of music listening through streaming services encompassing the research project Clouds & Concerts, University of Oslo.

References:
Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot (2014). Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society. The MIT Press. Boston, USA

Kai Arne Hansen, University of Oslo

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Technologies of Music Production, Hyperembodiment, Musical Fetishization, Gender Politics and Sexuality

 

Fetishizing Sound: Mainstream Pop Production and the Politics of Sexuality

Recordings in pop music denote a range of styles that prompt perceptions of identity in a variety of ways, not least through musical fetishization. In a contemporary mainstream pop climate, where digitalized bodies are placed under strict control by processes of editing and manipulation, production techniques that stage the gendered and sexualized body through music are of paramount importance for excavating the politics of sexuality within a pop music context.

In my paper I will turn to Beyoncé`s self-titled album (2013) as a point of entry for considering how gendered and sexualized displays are mediated through the technologies of music production. Taking the song “Partition” as an example I will explore the notion of hyperembodiment against the backdrop of an increasingly sexualized Western culture that draws on pornographic imagery as part of our everyday lives. In problematizing hyperembodiment in pop music I will build upon Steve Dixon`s research into digital performance, seeking to contribute with new perspectives on the idea of the contemporary body beautiful as an increasingly evident example of how the mind transcends the body. By emphasizing the ways in which music plays a prominent role in this development, I seek to problematize how music production contributes to the eroticization and sexualization of sound. My problematizations will offer a perspective that focuses on recording aesthetics and representation. This involves a hermeneutic approach to examining the strategies of sound production that fetishize and stylize the body sonically. In this paper my music analysis centers around timbre, use of effects, and sound production, and to a lesser extent vocal qualities and instrumentation. My emphasis thus falls on digital immediacy, the use of compression, spatiality, and notions of excess and decadence.

Jack Harbord and Adam Martin, Leeds College of Music

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Posthumous, Music Production, Holograms, Morality, Technological

Affordance, Liveness, Deadness, Music Technology

(Im)possible Performances: The Ethics and Practicalities of Posthumous Production Practices
As the 2012 ‘performance’ of Tupac Shakur at the Coachella festival showed, death need not be an impediment to a long and fruitful career in the music industry. With the recent emergence of viable holographic and projection technologies, Tupac’s career as a performer can now be added back onto his roster of revenue streams. A holographic performance of Michael Jackson has already been produced with Cirque du Soleil and an Elvis Presley production has been confirmed whilst rumours surrounding an Amy Winehouse tour have been rejected by the late singer’s father. This paper seeks to uncover the ethical considerations of reviving dead performers through holographic technologies and the industrial practicalities of using existing recorded music to facilitate such displays. The increasing manipulability of recorded sound, as afforded by music production software, has been central in enabling the resurrection of dead musicians and their sonic identities. Philip Auslander’s theories of ‘liveness’ (2002) and Jason Stanyek and Benjamin Piekut’s theories of ‘deadness’ (2010) help structure an understanding of similar practices across popular music history such as the existing and fruitful practice of ‘necromarketing’.

Much like the existing market for dead entertainers, this use of new technologies encourages questions of authorship, legacy, and posthumous agency posed by practices that are ‘less about preservation than...about complex forms of rearticulating’ (Stanyek and Piekut, 2010, p. 15). Will holographic and projection technologies allow for an almost tangible extension of a condition of virtual immortality? Will we observe a moral hierarchy of acceptable and unacceptable performances after death? This work looks to extend the scope of scholarship in the area to account for the affordances and limitations of new technologies and the changing demands for, and reception of, posthumous production practices.

Phil Harding, PJ Music Ltd

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Production, Culture, Composition Formula

 

‘Stay Another Day’: A music composition and production formula to create a successful Boy Band

Is there a music composition and production formula for a Boy Band? This question is rooted in the trans-cultural context of the 1990s, and it is important for musicologists, entrepreneurs, composers and producers to research this. My study is based on the phenomena of Boy Band success of the 1990s and I am looking at an empirically and theoretically grounded formula proposal that started then and could be contextualized today with ethnographic reflection. In this paper, I will use my own knowledge and experience in the Boy Band genre; I had success as a producer and composer in the 1990s with ‘East 17’ and ‘Boyzone’. I will then contrast this with the views of the managers of those bands – Tom Watkins and Louis Walsh. This will raise some questions around the compositional techniques and the music production technology used today both in professional studios and home recording facilities. What interactive media do composers and musicians in both regional and international contexts use for the collaboration process? Do composition and even recording sessions need to take place in the same room any longer? Pop act ‘The KLF’ (Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond) wrote ‘The Manual (How To Have a Number One The Easy Way)’ 1. This presented the idea of a formula to have a guaranteed No.1 hit single in the UK charts in the 1980s/90s. This will be explored alongside an analysis of data towards my proposed formula for a successful manufactured Boy Band.

Paul Harkins, University of Edinburgh

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Digital Sampling, Recording, Concepts, Theories, Fairlight CMI

 

Following the Instruments, Designers, and Users: A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Digital Sampling Technologies

This paper will address the question about what concepts and theories are useful for understanding the historical and contemporary uses of digital music instruments in studios, on stages, and other sites of musical production. To develop a conceptual framework for the technological practices of musicians and producers, it may be useful to enter the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and engage with the work of scholars such as Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch. Their focus on the ‘user-technology nexus’ initiates a shift in the writing of histories of technologies from a focus on the designers of technologies towards the contexts of use and ‘the co-construction’ or ‘mutual shaping’ of technologies and their users. The focus of this paper will be the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument (CMI), which is generally regarded as the first commercially available digital sampler. However, its designers, Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, were primarily interested in the use of digital synthesis to replicate the sounds of acoustic instruments; sampling was a secondary concern. Users of the Fairlight would begin to use it to sample the sounds of everyday life (Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush) and experiment with the pre-set sounds of the sample library (Afrika Bambaataa, Arthur Baker). As an example of how musicians use instruments in ways unimagined by their designers, my argument is that writing a history of music technologies such as digital sampling instruments needs to also be the writing of a history of the designers and the users of these music technologies.

Adam Harper, University of Oxford

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Lo-Fi, DIY, Imperfection, Technocracy, Counterculture, Indie, Nostalgia, Realism, Primitivism, Amateur

'Lo-fi:' The Aestheticisation of Recording Imperfections as Distance from Commercial Production

During the mid-twentieth century, a certain recording aesthetics emerged from an ideology of resistance to the commercial popular-music industry and its norms of studio production and it survives today: lo-fi. Beginning as a rhetoric of primitivism hinging on constructions of the 'amateur,' the discourse of lo-fi soon adopted a term associated with inferior sound quality and sonic effects unique to the recording medium in order to champion the greater authenticity of production outside of the industry's studios. Lo-fi became an aesthetics of recording defined by its regression and distance from the technocratic norms of these studios, yet it was just as technologically mediated. Indirectly or directly, the value of lo-fi lies in audible recording imperfections both more phonographic in nature (electrical noise, distortion, signal dropouts) and more related to traditional live performance (cracking voices, unconventional tuning, wrong notes). Drawing on several decades of the reception of poor sound quality in popular music recordings, I will show how lo-fi was constructed as a unique site of realism and historicity in being the inverse of technocracy, and how conventional musical material and its lo-fi technological frame were positioned in meaningful antagonisms. In many cases, especially in more recent music, the often quite deliberate inclusion of recording imperfections played a crucial role in how musical works were heard and interpreted.

John Howland, NTNU

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Phil Spector, Jack Nitzsche, Arranging

Teenage Symphonies: The Production Process of Phil Spector and Jack Nitzsche, and the (Orchestral) Sound of Young America in the Early 1960s

Through the study of manuscript and notebook materials from Phil Spector’s arranger, Jack Nitzsche, this paper considers how the lush, adult-pop production ideals of the 1950s entered the early 1960s teen music market. 1950s rock ’n’ roll and R&B typically involved pared-down, “roots” instrumentation in contrast to the comparatively “luxe,” orchestral aesthetics of mainstream, adult pop. Beginning in the early 1960s though, one finds a conspicuous “teenage symphony” trend spreading across the pop charts. Spector, the “tycoon of teen,” was at the center of this trend, which imparted a new urban sophistication and mass marketability on youth pop idioms. Spector’s productions further extend the creative legacy of those 1950s producers who, as Albin Zak notes, shifted production from an emphasis on “music writing to sound recording.” With Spector and Nitzsche, scores became material to be manipulated in production. This process is seen in the 1963 Ronettes hit, “Be My Baby,” which arguably represents the first full flowering of the “Wall of Sound.” The track’s chart reveals much about the Spector studio production process. Through similar comparative studies of various recordings and manuscripts, this paper provides new insights into the process of building the Wall of Sound across 1960 to 1964.

 

Roland Huschner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­Recording Practice, Bourdieu, Foucault, Ethnography

 

“What’s up with this ‘one’?!!!” („Was ist denn das für eine ‚eins‘?!!!”) Discrepancies between live- and studio-performance and the consequences for musical efficiency of artists/bands in the recording studio.

Usually the recording studio is being thought of as an environment which enables artistic performance of the highest standard. Several of the disrupting factors of live-performance are successively removed during recording sessions or the architecture of the studio does not allow certain aspects to appear in the first place. Therefore the artist should be able to achieve individual performance of the highest level but for several reasons this is often not the case. The proposed paper deals with the question why despite all the advantages of the recording studio in comparison to live-performance the musical efficiency of artists still seems to be limited by several aspects that are the result of this specific environment. The technological, sociocultural or simply musical provenance of these aspects will be described and analyzed:

Why do even accomplished musicians for example suffer from the so called „red-light fear“ once the recording process begins? What effect does the idea of the highest possible transparency of the audio-material have on the playing technique and what does that mean for the agents? Are there specific reasons why certain studio-situations are more strained or affected by higher expectations than others and in what way do discursive formations from internal and external provenance shape these configurations between agents?

The paper draws from data that was collected from 2011 to 2014 in several Berlin recording facilities and rehearsal rooms. The data will be reflected in my PhD-thesis in musicology that deals with the role and function of the producer in popular music. The manner of collecting information consisted of participant observation and non-structured interviews. The analysis of the data is carried out with a specific model which seeks to combine elements of Pierre Bourdieu’s analysis of the field of cultural production as well as Michel Foucault’s analysis of power-relations, their origins and the technologies to sustain them.

Jocelyne Kiss and Serge Lacasse, Université Laval

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      ­Internet music distribution, Arborescence, Reuse

 

From Physical to Discretized Objects: An Arborescent Conception of the Music Album

Traditionally, the public in general considers musical recordings as fixed and definitive music performance products (Moore 2013). When albums were primarily distributed as physical objects (CD, vinyl, etc.), they were the main space of mediation between artists and fans: the fan could get access to the artist’s imaginary world and, to a certain extent, the artist’s identity (Hennion, Maisonneuve et Gomart 2001). Nowadays, of course, a great proportion of music is disseminated in electronic formats mostly via the Internet. Consequently, the notion of the album “as object” gets dissolved within the web while at the same time appear new types of physical interfaces that give rise to new ways of interacting with the music world. These new interfaces allow innovative modes of prehension, notably through manipulation, association and/or superposition of musical material and other elements (Brown and Volgsten 2006). Thus, new potential patterns of interaction emerge, allowing fans to rearrange artists’ material in order to reintegrate it within their own universe: through varying strategies similar to open data reusing (mashups, remixes, spoof videos, etc.), fans become more and more a part of the interactive artistic production network (Brøvig-­Hanssen and Danielsen 2013). Conversely, they momentarily take part to the artwork destiny. These strategies could be seen as analogous to practices of collecting: rare records, bootlegs, unique photographs, autographs, etc. (Straw 2011) Furthermore, these reusing and intertextual strategies expand exponentially when taken over by more and more fans within the network (Miranda 2002). Far from being a fad, this arborescent (tree-­theory) conception of a discretized artwork fits well with the constitutive nature of computers themselves (Pinto and Haus 2007). This paper will explore how this conception is, from the start, formatting practices themselves. Consequently, if offers new epistemological and methodological windows to objects such as the music album as an arborescent construct.

 

 

Yngvar Kjus and Anne Danielsen, University of Oslo

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Recording Techniques, Live Performance, Creativity, Communication

Mixing Time: The Use of Recording Technologies in Live Music Performance
Along with the rise of computer-based music technologies, artists are bringing studio-related practices on stage. This allows different forms of composing, recording and sound processing to become integral elements of live music. In this paper, we study the considerations, efforts and skills involved with using these studio-related techniques in live settings, and ask how artists’ sense of creativity and communication are affected. The paper assesses existing research on the use of technologies in live music performance and attempts to establish a theoretical framework for studying evolving creative and communicative challenges of contemporary musicianship. We then present an interview-study with six artists in Norway, engaged in genres ranging from electronic dance music and electro-pop to improvisation-based live electronics. The analysis is organized in the same manner as concerts, starting with the preparations and then addressing the execution and the encounter with the audience. We identify substantial differences in the use of technology, particularly depending on whether performances are based on a studio work or are improvised live. The first requires transforming a record into a live performance, whereas the second entails the creation and manipulation of recordings on the spot. These endeavours demand different practical, creative and expressive efforts, which might fuel artists' awareness of creative and communicative actions in live performance.

Yngvar Kjus, University of Oslo

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      Communication, Technology, Vinyl, Streaming, Music Experience

Understanding the middleman: Transformations of vinyl record stores and online streaming services
The use of new technologies have opened new opportunities but also caused new uncertainties in their connection, aesthetically as well as economically. This has, not least, challenged the intermediaries who have made a living delivering music from artists to the hands of consumers. As CD-sales have plummeted many record shops have gone out business, and, instead, a handful of online companies, like Apple and Spotify, are distributing music files to consumers worldwide.

This paper studies the efforts of established music merchants in regaining the position as favored sources of music. It focuses on how music retailers facilitate and frame communication between artists and audience, and how different technologies are employed in doing so. The exploration of this theme will combine perspectives from musicology, media studies and psychology, elucidating three dimensions of music communication: sensory perception, psychological interpretation and social interaction.

The paper presents a case study from Norway, which is a vanguard market for digital music distribution. It presents the development of two record stores that in the face of increasing online competition have moved in different directions: one has morphed into an online streaming service with a local profile, the other has become a vinyl record store that also sells turntables.

Martin Knakkergaard, University of Aalborg

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

Cruising for Burgers

Frank Zappa’s concept album Uncle Meat from 1969 can in many ways be seen as a key to his art, his view of society and his understanding of life.

Even the title seems to cover a simultaneously humorous and odd, almost macabre and somewhat vulgar dramatic universe, and the long program note - Preamble - supports this impression with its semblance of mythology and caricatured science fiction.
In its concrete material Uncle Meat appears both textually and musically as a close-voiced pastiche - a multi-faced stretto, kaleidoscopically put together from a unique debris of mainly rock, jazz, musique concrète, pop, electronic and Neoclassical idioms, which, together with texts, is based on an occasionally absurd imagery, picturing human alienation, degradation and reification.

The paper is a rendering of Uncle Meat as a phonographic universe of its own, pieced together by descriptive analyses of a variety of the piece’ key elements, their phonographic realisation and implicit acoustical idealisations, in order to identify correlations and clashes between production, music, text and ideology. It is also a reflection on the relevance of Zappa's collected works as a prophetic dystopia.

Martin Koszolko, RMIT University          

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Cloud-based, Music Production, Crowdsourcing, Transnational, Remixing, Jamming, Internet Music, Audiotool, Blend, Ohm Studio

Crowdsourcing, Remixing and Jamming: Contemporary Music Production Practices in the Cloud


In 2014, music creation in the cloud is defined by access to sophisticated production tools aided by a number of social networking options. This enables interaction between global communities of musicians across transcultural and transnational spaces. As noted by Howlett (2012), the roles that a music producer undertakes vary from an arranger and engineer, through project manager, to psychologist and mediator. This variety of roles and their associated challenges are also reflected in the communal modes of work afforded by new forms of networking. Examining these practices within contemporary music production in the Internet Age enables a new perspective on remixing and studio jamming filtered though the lens of crowdsourcing. The latter has been compared to outsourcing (Howe 2006, 2009) and as having a negative impact on the commercial aspects of creative practice. There are multiple challenges associated with this mode of work, and while acknowledging them, this paper also argues that if studio-based creative activity is discussed in isolation from financial pressures there can be numerous benefits in engaging in crowdsourcing within the context of Internet-based music production. Drawing on my creative practice and work with three online systems (Audiotool, Blend, Ohm Studio), I analyse the various characteristics of production practices in the cloud engaging international collaborators in a transcultural, transnational space. By examining the engagement of global communities in music production, this paper traces how shifts away from traditional studio settings have redefined notions of remixing and jamming, and how new technologies have impacted on creative processes and interaction. In doing so, it makes broader points about how social networking combined with cloud-based music production technologies can lead to new and alternative approaches to music production in international contexts.

 

Serge Lacasse, Université Laval

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Phonostylitic analysis, Vocal performance, Phonographic Staging, Sia Furler

“A Note all her own”: A Phonostylistic Analysis of Sia’s «Chandelier» (2014)

In his review of Sia’s “Chandelier” in the online magazine Time, Jamieson Cox (2014) compares the characteristics of the singer’s performance with Rihanna’s:

There are echoes of Sia’s work with Rihanna — she co-wrote the singer’s titanic 2012 hit “Diamonds” — in the verses of “Chandelier,” where she adopts a set of vocal affectations reminiscent of the Barbadian singer’s patois […]. But she strikes a note all her own during the song’s bombastic chorus: the palpable, doom-struck desperation she conjures differs from the vein of party-specific nihilism her contemporaries like to access.

What, exactly, is the reviewer referring to in his assessment of the recorded song? What is similar between Sia’s and Rihanna’s “vocal affectations”? and what is, exactly, the “note” that Sia makes “all her own” in her performance during the chorus? In short, how can we characterise Sia’s singing style? Moreover, Cox ascribes clear feelings to Sia’s performance. How does Sia’s recorded singing convey these feelings?

This paper will propose an analysis of Sia’s recorded singing style by taking into account two interrelated sets of sonic elements: 1) the singer’s performance characteristics, and 2) the way her vocal performance is phonographically “staged” through recording technology. In previous work I have proposed a model for the analysis of recorded vocal performance (Lacasse 2010, 2011) based on models by Poyatos (1993), Middleton (2000), and Léon (2005). Similarly, and along the work of other scholars (e.g. Moylan 1995; Zak 2001; Doyle 2005), I have developed a model for the study of phonographic staging (Lacasse 1995; 2000). Rather than taking these two sets of parameters in isolation, the paper will argue for a conception of recorded singing as the intermingling of both performance and phonographic parameters, that is, as constituents of a singer’s “phonostyle,” as the etymology of the prefix “phono-” already suggests.

Yannick Lapointe, Université Laval

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      ­

 

The Art of Record Reproduction: Rethinking High-Fidelity

In the mediating process from musical ideas to fully realized sound, music takes a lot of different forms and is shaped by a wide variety of actors. With recorded music, the somewhat logical or typical process consists in the following: the composers and arrangers write the musical ideas (sometimes), the performers and programmers make these ideas into sounds, the record producers and sound engineers capture and organize the sound into phonograms, and finally the record consumers (usually the listeners) reproduce these phonograms back to sound, or, in cases of remediation, the DJ or remixers use these phonograms to produce new ones. Of all these actors, only one is not commonly regarded as an artist: the record consumer. This begs the question: as the one usually responsible for record reproduction, and given that his role in the recorded music mediation process is not that remote from the one played by the other actors, could the record consumer be considered a fully fledged artist in the same way as his peers?

Although the answer to this question is certainly not the same for every record consumers, this paper will argue that a particular group amongst them, the hi-fi enthusiasts, has indeed elevated record reproduction to an art form. It will explain, by drawing on a comparison between the record production and reproduction processes (and more specifically between the roles of record producers, sound engineers, and hi-fi enthusiasts), how and why high-fidelity can be considered an “art of record reproduction”.

Nyssim Lefford, Luleå University of Technology

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      ­

 

The Sound of Coordinated Efforts: Music Producers, Boundary Objects and Trading Zones

In music production, the producer’s decisions influence the creation of attributes that are audible in recordings. This influence on musical and technical performances/performers can operate indirectly. Nevertheless, to understand how the producer’s influence leads to a recording aesthetic, the connection between the producer’s actions and resulting impacts needs to be further explored. In this, concepts borrowed from cognitive science and the sociology of science, boundary objects and trading zones, shed light on producing music recordings.

Producers facilitate performances by and interactions among recording engineers and musicians playing different instruments, possibly representing different traditions/genres. In this diverse setting, to realize individual work, each contributor utilizes and shares music and sounds as they are being produced. Meanwhile producers, to enable this same work, flexibly adapt their communications to meet the needs of each specialized contributor. Sharing and producing both lead to the different, although not arbitrary, contributions that constitute the recording.

Relatedly, studies of communication and coordination in multidisciplinary research communities have identified mechanisms through which scientific data is shared. “Boundary objects” allow shareable materials to be interpreted according to individual researchers’ needs. In this way, they enable the production of different scientific artifacts. (Star and Griesemer 1989).

Subsequently, Galison observed that groups of scientists with similar expertise are bound together by common practices, languages, values, goals, etc. Each area of specialization has a distinctive “culture”. Within disciplines, researchers share concepts, terms and methods. (Similarly, in music, techniques and jargon link guitarists.) However, “trade” happens between different cultures. Coordination or sharing occurs in “zones” that bridge cultural difference. (Galison 1999)

A review of literature on boundary objects and trading zones provides perspectives on sharing and contributions by individuals in music production. The study investigates how producers facilitate contributors, and how producing may lead to characteristic qualities heard on recordings.

References
Galison, Peter (1999) Reflections on Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. Perspectives on Science 7.2, pp. 255-284
Star, Susan Leigh and Griesemer, James. (1989) Institutional Ecology, 'Translations' and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Aug., 1989), pp. 387-420

Kirk McNally, University of Victoria

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      Archives, Higher Education, Case Study

Music archives in higher education: A case study

In September 2014, the School of Music at the University of Victoria launched a digital archive of all student, faculty and guest concert recordings presented at the university. A case study of this archive, its design, implementation and subsequent use, adds to the dialogue (Saey 2011, Strauss & Gregg 2008) surrounding audio archives in an institutional setting. If we are to see more institutions develop this resource and more industry collaborations with institutions for the purpose of “provide[ing] primary sources while preserving culturally significant recording collections” (Saey 2011) then a better understanding of how users and contributors interact with the archives is essential. What are the attitudes towards who can have access to the archive? What are the file sharing habits of the users? What is the level of copyright knowledge? This paper will use interviews, user surveys and usage data to explore these questions.

References:

Seay, Toby. "Primary Sources in Music Production Research and Education: Using the Drexel University Audio Archives as an Institutional Model." Journal on the Art of Record Production, Issue 5, July 2011.
Gregg, Travis, and Konrad Strauss. "High Resolution Audio Recording, Preservation and Delivery at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music."Audio Engineering Society Convention 124. Audio Engineering Society, 2008.

Lee Marshall, University of Bristol

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      Streaming Music, Cloud, Value, Music Industry, Collecting, Ownership

Streaming music: questions of ownership and value

The popular acceptance of streaming services such as Spotify and Wimp may significantly alter the ways in which people relate to and value recorded music. There are many different dimensions to the subject but, briefly, the shift from ownership to access based has the potential to alter the nature of popular music’s key commodity and affect individuals’ sense of personal investment in their music collections. These social and cultural transformations (if that is what they are) are occurring alongside public, often bitter, debates about the financial viability of producing recorded music if streaming services are the main generator of revenue for labels and musicians.

Drawing on literature on musical consumption (especially collecting) and public debates about the artist remuneration from streaming services, this paper attempts to unite two separate discussions concerning the value of music in a cloud context, ultimately seeking to establish what connection, if any, exists between them.

Leslie Meier, Devon Powers and Bethany Klein, University of Leeds/ Drexel University

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      ­

 

Selling Music and Selling Out

The history of popular music has been marked by shifting boundaries surrounding the concept of “selling out,” a phrase that describes tensions regarding the maintenance of “authenticity” and “autonomy” in the face of pressures to make a living as a recording artist. Contemporary musicians are contending with a rapidly shifting musical environment, including developments such as: diminishing returns on the sale of physical recordings and downloads; a complicated system of music streaming services that has to yet bear significant income even for the most popular artists; labels and concert agencies demanding restructured “360” deals that emphasize a cohesive musical “brand”; pressure to reach an increasingly global audience; and attractive if sometimes questionable opportunities to license their music to TV shows, film, or advertising. Given these realities, the values bound up in the notion of “selling out” can seem by turns quaint, outmoded, or impossible to maintain. Yet because people invested in music (such as fans, journalists, and musicians themselves) often concern themselves with values such as artistic integrity, honest self expression, and community, “selling out” continues to resonate, albeit in ways that differ significantly from earlier articulations.

Taking account of these dynamics, this paper seeks to consider the significance, utility, and expectations of “selling out” in the contemporary musical environment. Specifically, we will explore how digitization, globalization, and the demands presented by endemic promotional culture have influenced how musicians make choices in an attempt to balance making music and making a living.

Anthony Meynell, London College of Music UWL

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Recording Techniques, 1960's, Antiprogram, Manipulation, Tacit knowledge, Independent Producer

 

Capturing the sound of revolution. Differences in recording techniques between British and American recording studios in the late 1960s.

By the mid 1960’s sound manipulation, once the domain of novelty, sound effects and avant-garde soundscapes, had entered mainstream pop record production, adding colour to arrangements that were previously relying on instrumental performance. Akrich & Latour's notion of the antiprogram helps us to understand how the unorthodox demands of the artists resulted in engineers circumventing prescribed studio equipment working practices to discover new techniques, used to create the aural equivalents of the distorted and warped sensory encounters enjoyed during a psychedelic experience following ingestion of LSD. By experimenting beyond the manufacturers intended operating design, and using the tape machine and other studio equipment as performance instruments, they created new ‘cutting edge’ sounds that became psychedelic signifiers (P. Tagg) and metaphors (G. Lakoff & M. Johnson), and were adopted as cultural frames of reference by other performers in their field (E. F. Clarke).

This paper considers differences in approach by British and American studios to capture the cultural message, and why British corporate studios were more open to embrace a ‘post fidelity’ approach of distortion and tape manipulation, whereas their American counterparts emphasised a performance lead interpretation. By examining the social, economic, environmental, technological, corporate and artistic constraints, and employing Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital and Csikszentmihalyi’s systems approach to creativity, I will explain how musicians and record companies alike employed novel methods to circumvent traditional hierarchical interference, which heralded the eventual demise of the ‘in house’ staff A&R / producer.

Using various musical examples to underscore the development of techniques and new modes of working, I will illustrate how the tacit knowledge of long standing traditional production techniques were eventually abandoned in favour of following the technology towards a new world of bespoke studios and the rise of the independent producer.

 

Guy Morrow, Denis Crowdy, Diane Hughes, Sarah Keith and Mark Evans, Macquarie University

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      ­

 

Addressing extreme uncertainty: Band startups, minimum viable recordings, and emergent career development strategies

This paper puts the argument that new original music producing bands can be considered to be startups. Such bands meet the definitions of startups given the extreme uncertainty caused by the fact that whether or not their recorded output will be considered to be artistically creative is open ended. Using this argument, this paper will present case studies of the startup phases of the following bands and artists: Mumford & Sons, Enter Shikari and Ben Howard. Through doing so, it will present the notion of minimum viable recordings. This paper fits within stream C because it will draw from the literature pertaining to startups in order to present new ways of conceptualizing career development within the new environments for the distribution and reception of music that have arisen due to the advent of digital technologies. In terms of methodology, in addition to the case study approach, this paper will draw from a collaborative research project for which seven focus groups were conducted with a range of participants including artists, artist managers, digital/online strategists, music publishers and representatives of Government agencies. Focus group transcripts have been analysed and coded. In addition, a number of qualitative research interviews that were conducted for this project will also be drawn upon here, as will a keynote presentation given at the Big Sound conference in Brisbane, Australia in 2013. This paper will contribute to our understanding of emergent career development strategies and how new user patterns, music delivery platforms, distribution and business models have informed these strategies over the last decade.

Gayle Murchison, College of William and Mary

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      African, African-American, Afropean, Music, Sound Recording, Technology, Identity

 

“Bandy Bandy,” Baduism, and Marie Daulne’s Ancestry in Progress

In 2004 Marie Daulne released the album Ancestry in Progress, which included the single “Bandy Bandy.” A collaboration between Daulne and Erika Badu, musically “Bandy Bandy” features Badu’s neosoul style and Daulne’s Central African-based vocal techniques. Yet, this recording serves as more than a meeting of musical minds. “Bandy Bandy” brings together the acknowledged founders of musical and culture movements: one—Badu, the first major neosoul musician—who is credited with having started her own movement and one whose movement—like the title of her album—is still a work in progress. Daulne’s music, along with her portmanteau and ideas as articulated in the documentary Mizike Mama, provides a cultural template for probing the processes and theorizing the making of a post-colonial, post-modern African/African-diasporic identity for Europeans. In Ancestry in Progress Daulne—as songwriter, producer, and singer—combines the African polyphonic style found on her early acapella recordings with African American urban contemporary and hip-hop, wedding the latter’s technology-unfused approach to music-making (sampling, loops, and other digital computer-based compositional and recording processes) to her now-updated adaptation and interpretation of Central African polyphony. This results not just in a new musical style and genre. Daulne uses African American urban contemporary and hip-hop music as powerful signifiers of black European, or Afropean, identity that is at once fixed in its references to African and African American music, yet fluid, as technology can both locate and dislocate. As applied in “Bandy Bandy” and Ancestry in Progress, Daulne’s use of music technology allows her both to assert her identity as a black European by crossing national and political boundaries of musical style, genre, and geography and to resist any rigid definition of Afropean identity.

 

Mikko Ojanen, University of Helsinki

Track:                          Recording Aesthetics

Author keywords:      Audio Mastering, Electroacoustic Music, Role of the Mastering Engineer

Mastering Kurenniemi's Rules (2012): the role of an audio engineer in the mastering process

In this presentation, I describe the relationship between a work of electroacoustic tape music and its medium, the magnetic tape. A musical work realised on a physical medium, has a certain relation to this medium. Although, this physicality is secondary and the primary attention should be paid to the sonic output, the medium has features which can significantly affect the interpretation of the work on several different levels.

The examples presented here were encountered during the mastering process of the recordings by Finnish electroacoustic music pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi. As a result of this process ten works recorded between 1963 and 1975 were released on an album Rules (2012, Ektro / Full Contact Records, KRYPT-022). A case study based on few examples is, of course, trivial, but it aims to open viewpoints to the mastering process even on a more general level as well as hopefully have wider relevancy.

In certain cases the mastering process, including digitising, restoring and sound processing in general, has directed even the analysis of the electroacoustic work. That is, the audio engineer responsible for the mastering process has altered the sonic identity of the work and thus realised a new version which the later analysis is based on.

Some of the examples presented here are obvious errors due to a careless sound processing during the restoration. However, these examples show how the mastering engineer can (un)knowingly step in the realm of interpretation. In such cases, a processed version can be seen as the mastering engineer’s rendition of the work reflecting the quality of the used technology as well as the aesthetical ideals of the era.When comparing the tasks executed by the original composer of the work in the first place and by the mastering engineer later, we can see how technology can be used on two seemingly independent but tightly intertwined levels.

Central questions posed here include for example; how to restore and analyse musical works realised on the physical medium? Should we consider the question of authenticity when analysing, reproducing, performing and remastering these works? Is it relevant to study the authenticity of these works or could the later processing be seen as the new rendition of the original work?

 

 

Matthew O’Malley, Birmingham Conservatoire

Track:                          Recording Aesthetics

Author keywords:      Definitive Edition, Digital Remaster, David Bowie, Jeff Lynne, Ken Scott

The Definitive Edition (Digitally Remastered)

Digital recording technologies have not only transformed the sonic quality with which studio engineers can capture and reproduce music but we, the listener, have also benefitted from an audio clarity and dynamic range never before accessible from previous (pre-CD) deliverable media formats.

With this in mind I explore the motives behind delivering a reissue whether there be genuine sonic improvements of the many anniversary re-releases, remasters and remixes of artists’ back-catalogues claiming to be the ‘definitive edition’.

However, I also pose the question of what factors determine a ‘definitive edition’ of a recording? The study is made with reference to specific album tracks from various remastered and/or remixed editions of works by David Bowie and Jeff Lynne’s ELO which are considered objectively by spectral analysis tools, as well as drawing on subjective issues and direct interviews with Jeff Lynne about his rerecording of ELO hits and Ken Scott about his remastering of Ziggy Stardust.

Further contextual references are made with recordings from artists ranging from The Beatles, Genesis, Yes, Kate Bush and Rush.

I propose possible rationales for the changes made, whether they are regarded an improvement or a deterioration of the original productions.

I hope to inspire a debate about recordings that possess a sonic fingerprint that strongly anchor the music to a particular time in history, and whether they should be altered to suit any requirements beyond the preservation and archiving of such works.
One may also consider through historical context and drawing parallels with other art forms, that revisions of production sound is merely an extension of practice inherent in the creative art forms.

Anthony Papavassiliou, Université Laval

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Copyrights, Fair Use, Sampling, Remix, Controllerism, Transphonography, Hyperphonography, Interphonography, Transformation, Contamination

 

Unconsented Contamination: Musical Collage As a Creative Original Work

Sampling is a practice based on autosonic manipulations which involves the use of recording fragments within a new work. When the borrowing refers explicitly enough to the work of another author, the new work becomes a “derivative” or transformed work. For example, remix, a practice based on recontextualization of autosonic fragments taken from a particular work, means in principle the use of one or multiples clear references to the hypotext it derives from. In the debate on copyright and fair use rules, which tend to produce different degrees of legitimacy according to the nature of the applied transformation, the remix work is sometimes compared to textual quoting (Lessig 2008, Lacasse 2008). However, quotes, as a type of intertextual link (Genette, 1982), do not commit transformation (hypertextual link) on the eidetic level, although recontextualization can transform part of the borrowing’s meaning.
How, then, to qualify remix and all practices based on sampling from the standpoint of transformation ? The goal of this presentation will be to provide a mean to organize derivative works based on their degree of transformation. By doing so, we wish to bring as much attention to transtextual links as structural characteristics of the newly created work. In order to achieve our goal, we use the well known concept of collage music, by analogy to the concept of “contamination” (Genette, 2008). In the first part, we present our hyper- and interphonographic analysis model for which we detail the various components (degree of transformation, degree of contamination, degree of allusion). The second part is dedicated to the analysis of the most common types of sample organization (mix, remix, mashup, etc.). We especially focus on controllerism, a gesture based practice that involves samples triggering and performed alterations. Finally, we propose a discussion on the results of our analysis and their relevance to copyright laws.

Gittit Pearlmutter,Bar Ilan University

Track:                          Recording Aesthetics

Author keywords:      Electronic Music Production, Technological Creative Practice, Form and Popular Music, Trip Hop

Contemporary Production Techniques and Changes in Formal Structures: An Analysis of Machine Gun by Portishead

This paper is about how particular developments in desktop technology and electronic music production techniques changed not only the way that people make music but the way that it sounds as well. I am focusing on Trip Hop and this paper will look at Machine Gun by Portishead and how the technology influenced them to create different formal structures. It will also include a discussion of the affordances of electronic sound production techniques such as repetitiveness and non-linearity.

Portishead’s technique in assembling this track involved sequencing, sampling and several aspects of sound manipulation. Additionally the creative space has been divided; the band members refer to exchanging tracks and ideas between the band members’ studios (Gibbons, Utley and Barrow). I shall look into this mode of production as a hybrid between recording studio and desktop production techniques.

I shall analyse the song’s attributes in light of this creative process and will point at some ideas the song articulates by the following key aspects:
1. A more equal approach toward vocals and instruments.
2. Loop based sections which suggest non-conventional or incoherent tonal content (modulations that occur in these sections are generated by sound manipulation).
3. Changes in the narrative mechanism; the song is not strophic based although verse and chorus do exist.

In addition to presenting the analysis I shall briefly discuss how the interaction between technology and the band members using it may have affected this. I intend to relate to both Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory and Rosi Braidotti's concept of Cyberfeminism. The two theories’ critique of power relations’ role in assembling technological systems could help contextualize a new approach towards such a system, less hierarchical in nature, which is presented in both the compositional process and its musical outcome.

Bibliography
Braidotti, R. 'Cyberfeminism with a difference' in Kemp, S., & Squires, J. (eds) Feminisms. (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998), pp 520 – 529.
Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the social-an introduction to actor-network-theory. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2005).
Discography
Portishead. Machine Gun, Island, 2008.

Asaf Peres, University of Michigan

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

And Sunday Comes Afterwards: A Comparative Study of Sonic Narratives in Rebecca Black's "Friday" and Britney Spears's "Till the World Ends"

Aaron Liu-Rosenbaum (2012) alludes to a relationship between the sonic narrative and the literary narrative. While the lack of verbal cue and past tense limits the parallels between the musical narrative and the literary narrative, as Carolyn Abbate (1989) points out, Liu-Rosenbaum’s framing of the sounds as characters strengthens the ability to establish relationships (of proximity or contrast in character) between different sounds. In essence, what is explored in a sonic narrative are the poetics of sonic features such as timbre, gesture, and spatialization that serve as dramatic actors. If these sonic features are treated as part of a musical language, their poetics can be explored through the linguistic criteria suggested by Jakobson (1981). A dense sound can be contrasted with a hollow one. A filter buildup is equivalent to a rhythmic buildup by virtue of both serving the function of gradually intensifying the musical energy, despite the fact that they are audibly different. Out of these principles, a hierarchy of timbres, gestures, and spatial events, which is essential to the formation of sonic drama, can emerge.

In this paper, I will conduct a comparative study of two songs that were released in early 2011, and whose public reception differed wildly - Britney Spears's "Till the World Ends" and Rebecca Black's "Friday." While Spears's song was favorably received by both critics and the public, the reaction to "Friday" was overwhelmingly negative, as evidenced by the record-breaking amount of "dislikes" it received on YouTube. However, it is important to note that "Friday" was not ignored, and became a viral hit, amassing 167 million views on YouTube before its video was taken down. Although there are certainly differences in the makeup of these two songs in terms of pitch, rhythm, and lyrics, I argue that exploring the sonic drama present in these songs may provide more salient insight into the disparate reaction they have received.

 

Maria Do Rosário Pestana and Helena Marinho, Universidade de Aveiro

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Popular Songs in Portugal, Cultural Industries, Frederico de Freitas

 

Invisible network: The making of the Portuguese popular song

Recent research on the cultural industries in Portugal has addressed popular songs within a framework of nationalistic production that comprehended, in particular, composers and cultural policies related with the military regime and the autocratic regime of the Estado Novo (1926-1974). Only a few studies (Pestana 2012, Moreira 2013) have focused on the role of the cultural industries - such as music printing, the phonographic and film industry, and radio broadcasting - and music marketing in the construction of an imagined repertoire, nowadays labeled as “Portuguese songs”.

Our research has focused on the Portuguese composer Frederico de Freitas (1902-80) who was the artistic director of the Portuguese branch of His Master’s Voice company in the late 1920s and early 1930s, one of the musical producers and conductors hired by the National Radio (Emissora Nacional de Radiodifusão), and the first author to compose music for sound films in Portugal. Our aim is to contribute to the understanding of the agents, technologies and industries involved in the construction of the concept of popular song during the transition between the 1920s and 1930s. We have undertaken extensive research in the archives of Frederico de Freitas, complemented by documental search at HMV’s archives in England. Actual recordings were also listed and categorized, and this mapping was supported by a complementary research of the period’s general and specialized press in Portugal.

Findings point out a network of agents and technologies that are often overlooked by, and ‘invisible’ to current research, revealing a close and convergent relationship between the different cultural industries – music printing, stage productions, recordings, sound film and radio broadcasting – and the emergent nationalist policies assumed by the Portuguese state in the construction and dissemination of “Portuguese songs”.

Tom Porcello, Vassar College

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Authorship, Work-for-hire, Author's Rights, Idea/Expression, US Copyright Law

 

Joint Authorship, Works-for-Hire, and the Idea/Expression Distinction: The collision of law and practice in popular music recording

This paper examines some of the specific provisions in the US Copyright Law that hinder ascribing joint authorship (and therefore authors’ rights) and performance rights to all parties—performers, producers, songwriters, engineers—in contemporary popular music practices. Taking as its starting point studio practices that might be described as “composition-in-recording,” two areas of US copyright law are considered. The first concerns the particularly strong role of the “work for hire doctrine,” which in effect has the power to appropriate the creative output of individuals, as well as a specific provision in the definition of joint authorship—that the contributions of each author must be independently copyrightable for a work to be considered jointly authored. These two provisions, it is argued, disproportionately hinder broad attribution of authorship in music production. Second, the paper examines the uncomfortable tension between the idea/expression distinction that undergirds US copyright law on the one hand, and the composition/performance distinction that provides different legal rights to composers and performers of musical recordings. Here it is argued that “composition-in-recording” considerably problematizes the validity of assigning different rights to “composers” and “performers” (which is further problematized by the narrow, quotidian definition of what acts constitute studio “performance”). The paper concludes by suggesting some specific changes to the US Copyright Law that could better bring into alignment studio practice and a broader ascription of authorship, as well as some justifications within legal theory for doing so.

 

Tracy Redhead, University of Newcastle

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      Audience Behaviours, Co-creation, Context Music, Digital Music, Emerging Music, Recording Formats, Fan Behaviour, Fluid Media, IM AF, Interactive Album, Interactive Music Application Format, Multi-track Application, Music Distribution, Music Release, Online Participation, Recording Industry, Remix Culture, Transmutability

Interactive Music Formats – Will Audiences Interact?

This paper contributes to knowledge by examining a new model for recorded music to determine the viability and potential uptake of a release format that invites user participation.

The Music industry media has suggested the idea of an ‘interactive album’ could help save the recording music industry (Buskirk, 2009) but has provided little evidence as to how exactly this might work.

The purpose of this proof of concept was to design and create a new interactive music release format that is tested on a sample of users to understand what factors might be critical to audience engagement. The idea for an interactive music release format proposes that instead of releasing a song on a CD or as an MP3, the artist arranges a song for a multi–track application (like a mobile app). This app then allows the audience to create their own versions of the song. This will allow the audience to co-create with musicians and participate instead of passively consuming music.

In order to achieve this purpose the study firstly identifies the principles that have emerged through the remix traditions of dub, electronic and hip-hop genres and, secondly, examines whether audiences will interact with these principles. Finally, the study investigates the potential implications this new mode of production might have for artists.

The results of this pilot study show that the audiences tested would interact with applications that implement remix principles as part of a music listening tool. It also showed that 95% of participants enjoyed using the app. Participants also valued this format and would pay an average of $2.55 for an application containing one track or single.

The paper argues that recorded formats of music are emerging into fluid forms and that future music products could include participation as a basis. It calls for further studies into effects on artists and music production as well as cultural business models based on participation.

Francois Ribac, Universisté de Bourgogne

Track:                          Recording Aesthetics

Author keywords:      Beatles, Science and Technology Studies, Cinema

We can't understand record production by looking only at record production or new technology; the case of The Beatles at Abbey Road.

It has been generally accepted that The Beatles and their team invented a new way of producing music at Abbey Road. In the mid-sixties, the group started to compose music in the studio instead of recording songs that had been rehearsed previously. Within this context, their sound engineers developed a series of techniques and items (by bringing microphones closer to the source, for example) and to augment their tracks as well (by synchronising tape recorders). Moreover, George Martin drew upon instruments and sounds that the Beatles -as a band- did not have. As we know, these innovations (overdubbing in particular) deeply changed the functioning of the music industry and the making of music. With the home studio, the Beatles’ technique spread a little more again.

However, whatever its veracity, this analysis has the disadvantage to explain these
metamorphoses by the genius of a team and the possibilities allowed by new technologies. In this paper, I would rather highlight a social fact that culturally promoted the innovations at Abbey Road: the cinema. This influence is shown in at least two ways: On one hand, the methods and the temporality of the cinema (recording-editing-mixing), its conventions (for example, layering various sounds or adding non-diegetic music and voices), its experts (engineers, film editors and producers) and even its working area (the studio!) inspired the method, and the organisation, of work at Abbey Road. On the other hand, cinema also caught the attention of the generation of British teenagers born in the Forties. Movies such as The Girl Can’t Help It (Tashlin, 1957) showed them how to dress and play rock 'n' roll, whereas Jailhouse Rock (Thorpe, 1957) taught them how to work in the recording studio. If we take into account that the cinema introduced The Beatles and their young sound engineers to a non naturalistic use of sound and to rock ’n’ roll, then we can understand how this team managed to, in a way, invent “a cinema for the ears” in the mid-Sixties, and above all, how the records and the films found their audience. In other words, the Beatles gave substance to a technical and social organization that the cinema (which is as much a technique as a way of organizing the world) made culturally possible. Of course, other factors such as the radio, the distribution of Dansette turntables and the generational gap made the advent of The Beatles possible. But the most important here is to express that we can't understand record production by looking only at record production or new technology, even at in the Internet age.

 

John Richardson, University of Turku

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Glitch, Mum, Icelandic Music, Silly Culture, Queer Theory, Naivism, Gender Politics, Reparative Aesthetics

The Glitch Aesthetic and its Cultural Extensions in the Music of Múm

In this presentation I will explore the cultural significance of glitch aesthetics in recent Icelandic popular music, focusing especially on music by the band Múm. Like Nick Prior (2008), I understand glitch aesthetics as representing an experimental sub-field within the broader field of cultural production (Bourdieu) that is designed to comment critically on the mainstream. This is ostensibly a position of agency, independence and outsiderness. However, closer examination reveals how each of these categories is complicated through sonic and well as social actions and interactions, not least the question of agency, which technological mediation and a collective approach to musicking distill into something that hardly resembles heroic narratives of creative agents. I will additionally explore an aspect of naivism in the music, which prioritizes first-hand experience (bright tones, playfulness, childlike voices, optimism, an interest in sonic objects over song narrative, the prioritizing of background detail over the ursatz of song etc,), and consider how this is related to the concepts of cultural and collective memory. Naivism does not in this case imply a traditional dialectical relationship to technology by reaffirming the Nature/Culture divide (Dibben 2009). Rather, glitch itself becomes an aspect of this innocent exploration of materials that is of its essence childlike, a form of play in the Gadamerian sense that is reparative more than critical in tone (Sedgwick 2003). I will additionally explore the relation of glitch to gender politics. While glitch has previously been thought of as the exclusive realm of male specialists, there is evidence to support an alternative reading in which the glitch (or mistake) can be understood as a means of queering conventions, “the queer art of failure” (Halberstam 2001; also Jarman 2011), while partaking shamelessly through naivisit praxis and the sentimentality in the music of what Jack Halberstam calls “silly culture” (Halberstam 2012; also Morris 2013).

Toby Seay, Drexel University

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

Record Production Practices Using a Transitional Tape-based Digital Format

Before non-linear computer based digital recording, there was tape. Digital recorders that stored data on linear magnetic tape spanned a transitional period of record production from the early 1980’s to the middle of the 1990’s. Before digital delivery was available to consumers via the compact disc, these early digital recorders were making their way into professional recording facilities promising to be “better sounding, more reliable, and more tolerant to tape abuse” (Mitsubishi advertisement. c.1983).

What exactly did these digital recorders offer recording facilities and record producers? The 32-track ProDigi machine designed by Mitsubishi became a multitrack standard in recording studios before its demise due to the adoption of non-linear digital recording systems and was touted as having “full use of 32 digital audio channels in addition to extra channels for SMPTE, analog audio, and future data channels” (Mitsubishi advertisement. c.1981). This paper will look specifically at the ProDigi 32-track format and discuss how it was used in music production and how recording procedures evolved during this transitional period. Using materials from the Drexel University Audio Archives’ Sigma Sound Studios Collection, the author will present multitrack recordings by The Trammps, Daryl Hall, Teddy Pendergrass, and others to show new opportunities and workflows that this transitional format facilitated.

Mark Slater, University of Hull

Track:                          Recording Aesthetics

Author keywords:      Project Studio, Aesthetics, Poetics, Collaboration, Creative Practice

What the Project Studio Tells Us About the Poetics of Recorded Music

Reciprocal innovations between music technology and computer industries throughout the 1970s delivered cheaper, more flexible devices which, when combined with the emerging socio-cultural impetus to make music with technologies, set out the necessary conditions for the emergence of project studios in the 1980s. Project studios became serious commercial contenders and they challenged established practices. The focus of this research is the domestic project studio, accessed through a longitudinal case study of a collaborative studio project producing a form of popular music between 2004 and 2012. The findings of this substantial research project provide a detailed insight into how a particular project studio functioned, but they also suggest something more fundamental in the way we might think about the poetics (rather than aesthetics) of recorded music.

The main assertion of this paper is that recorded music represents a fragmented, non-linear engagement with the past, other music and technologies, which includes how we might conceive of creative practices. For example, while the experience of music gives an illusion of smooth chronological time, the processes through which that music was made are unlikely to be just so. Technologies, such as those deployed in the project studio (and, of course, all studios), amplify the interrupted and non-linear nature of creativity, dispersed over many times and across many places, by allowing the capture, storage and retrieval of music, information, ideas and identities. This paper will explore the implications of such a view by suggesting ways of thinking about the times and locations of creative practices as revealed by the project studio case study. In particular, the paper will motivate an argument to address two points: 1) that the relationship between recording technologies and the finished sound recording is smooth, linear and indisputable; 2) that the use of the term ‘aesthetics’ to describe recorded music is perhaps misapplied when we might use ‘poetics’ instead.

Alex Stevenson, Leeds Metropolitan University

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­Hip hop, Authenticity, Live, Sampling

 

Authenticity and the role of live musicians in hip hop production

Despite hip hop music’s origins as a live performance-based art form, utilising turntables and sound systems, the incorporation of digital sampling technologies gave rise to a sample-based aesthetic within hip hop production which traditionally rejected the use of live musicians. In his ethnographical study of hip hop production, Schloss goes as far as stating that as a hip hop producer ‘…it is the lack of samples – the use of live instrumentation – that must be justified’ (Schloss, 2004, p.67).

This sample-based aesthetic is strongly linked to the notion of authenticity within hip hop production (Schloss, 2004; Williams, 2010), however use of live musicians has been evident throughout the history of hip hop; from live hip hop band The Roots , the use of session musicians to re-play samples in Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001 (1999) to the self-sampling approach of Portishead’s self titled album (1997). More recently in the UK, the formation of bands such as Introducing Live whose debut project in 2009 was to recreate note for note the entirety of DJ Shadow’s exclusively sample-based album Endtroducing (1996) with a 10-piece live band and the Abstract Hip Hop Orchestra who, inspired by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson orchestral tribute to J-Dilla (2010), perform live versions of classic hip hop tracks with a 16 piece ensemble, demonstrate the integral role that live musicians can occupy within hip hop performances that were once the reserve of the DJ and MC.

The role of live musicians in the field of hip hop production has often been ignored by scholars and these apparent contradictions in the pursuit hip hop authenticity are explored in this paper through analysis of interviews with musicians and producers active in the field, adding to the discourse around the role live musicians can play in an art-form and culture so engrained within a sampling-aesthetic.

Bibliography
Schloss, J.G. (2004) Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop. Wesleyan University Press.
Williams, J.A. (2010) Musical borrowing in hip-hop music: theoretical frameworks and case studies. PhD Thesis. Nottingham, University of Nottingham. Available from: <http://etheses.nottingham.ac.uk/1081/> [Accessed 25 June 2013].

Discography
DJ Shadow, Endtroducing [CD] FFRR, 1996
Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001 [CD] Interscope Records, 1999
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mochilla Presents Timeless: Suite For Ma Dukes - The Music Of James ‘J Dilla’ Yancey [CD] Mochilla, 2010
Portishead, Portishead [CD] Go! Beat, 1997

 

 

Méi-Ra St-Laurent, Université Laval

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Black Metal in Québec, Phonographic Narrative, Identitary Narrative

Quebec's Black Metal: Analysis of a phonographic and identitary narrative of a marginal scene

Since its inception around 1990 in Norway, black metal is considered to be the most transgressive subgenre of extreme metal music: it is characterized by harshness and coldness in vocal and instrumental timbres, by lo-fi recordings and by topics mostly linked with satanism, paganism and local traditions. In Quebec, black metal is being developped more extensively for about 10 years (Forteresse, Neige et Noirceur) and is based on the Norwegian black metal’s characteristics: nationalism is up front, lyrics are in French, the recordings are lo-fi and elements drawn from traditional music are present. By doing so, these groups build a phonographic narrative and an identitary narrative that is taking root in their own community. The purpose of this communication will be to understand how, in the Quebec context, these groups manage to build this phonographic and identitary narratives in their music. First, I will depict the esthetic and ideology of the Norwegian scene and draw comparison with Quebec’s one. Then, I will analyze the historical references and the phonographic narrative of the song "Ancien Folklore Québécois" (2010) from Neige et Noirceur by using musiconarratology. Originating from literary studies and musicology, this double methodology targets textual narrative elements (time, modality and voice of the narrative) and links them with the musicological parameters of popular music (melody, harmony, vocal timbre, recording technology). Finally, I will focus on the construction of identitary narrative by applying it to the Ricoeurian narrative concept in which our identity, personal and collective, is understood by being structured in the form of a story. By doing so I will demonstrate how historical references and musical elements in Quebec’s black metal are used to build an alternative narrative of the past and how they are conflicting with the hegemonic narrative of nationalism in Quebec.

Paul Théberge, Carleton University

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Click Track, Multitrack Production, Embodied Practices, "Live" Performance, Digital Technology

 

Click / Beat / Body: The role of the click track in digital music production

This paper began as an online discussion between several individuals, including myself, during the Performance in the Studio Conference organized by ARP in the spring of 2013. The discussion revolved around the role of click tracks and rhythm sections in recorded music. In this paper, I want to revisit the idea of the click track as an organizing principle in contemporary music production. From MIDI sequencing in the 1980s to its incorporation into multitrack DAW production in the ‘90s and beyond, the click track has become a common component and facilitator in studios from New York to Istanbul to Mumbai. Furthermore, the use of click tracks is not confined to the studio nor to any one genre of music: in addition to the studio production of dance music, clicks are now central to live Gospel and Church music, where bands regularly play to elaborate backing tracks (the Internet serving as a source for prerecorded stems and YouTube as a forum for coaching young musicians on the intricacies of playing to clicks).

Given its ubiquitous presence, the click track needs to be theorized at a number of levels: including its effects on music (in terms of the structuring and perception of rhythm, and in the variety of ways in which musicians in different contexts choose to respond to it), its role as sonic interface between the human and non-human (Latour), and its impact on older notions of making (and listening to) music “together” (Schutz), among others. Making use of recent work on digital rhythm as found in the work of Danielsen, Savage, and Butler, I will argue that some of our understanding of the microtimings and “participatory discrepancies” of performance may itself be an expression of a cultured sensibility engendered by the grid-like structures of click tracks and digital production practices.

Niall Thomas, UK

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­Music, Production, Record, Heavy Metal, Musicology

 

How has the development of technology influenced the recorded aesthetics of Heavy Metal Music?

The studies surrounding the production of Heavy Metal (HM) music details the precision required for producing the genre, in turn highlighting the technological dependency of the genre. This technological dependency, for which the genre relies upon for its sound and its conception, is also evident in the clear divide in current academic literature between the technological and socio-cultural. The study aims to place itself between these two strands of HM musicology by deconstructing the heavy aesthetic, contextually appropriating this with technological process and the reason behind these choices, whether they are cultural, historical or social. The study brings together the views of a number of influential HM producers to provide an understanding of the decisions made within the production of HM. The relevance of socio-cultural influence and the impact that the way in which contemporary HM music is produced has on the production process is also explored. This paper outlines a theoretical framework for investigating HM production techniques relevant to the aesthetics of the genre. It provides the key themes to emerge from interviews with industry experts and signpost future directions for research.

Paul Thompson and Phillip McIntyre, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK / University of Newcastle

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      ­

 

Engineering: Creativity and Collaboration in the Recording Studio

Sound engineering has historically been viewed as a technical rather than creative endeavour (Kealy, 1979), particularly within the commercial recording industry where the sound engineer, the record producer and the musician have an identifiable history of delineated unionised roles within the domain of record production.

There is general agreement in the literature that creativity may be best thought of as the bringing into being of ‘an idea or product that is original, valued and implemented’ (Wolff, 2000: 81) and there is growing evidence that creativity occurs through the convergence of multiple elements; an agent, a knowledge system (the domain) and a social organisation that holds the domain knowledge (the field), through a dynamic system of interaction (Csikszentmihalyi: 1988, 1997, 1999 & 2004).

Drawing upon current literature, interviews, case studies and data gathered from an extended ethnographic study in the recording studio, this paper explores the systems model of creativity where sound engineering is identified as a creative endeavour within the broader creative and collaborative system of record production.

Rob Toulson and Jonathan Shakhovskoy, Anglia Ruskin University

Track:                          Virtual archives and new platforms for distribution

Author keywords:      ­Digital music, Music formats, Album apps, User experience

 

Future Music Formats: evaluating the ‘album app’

Analogue and digital music formats each bring unique benefits for the consumer, the artist and the commercial record industry. Digital formats allow rapid and mobile access to an unlimited database of music, and bring valuable marketing opportunities on a global scale. Analogue formats, such as vinyl, are more representative of an art piece, which may include cover art, photographs, descriptive texts, song lyrics and production details. There is however no current format for music delivery that maximises the experience for all of the stakeholders involved.

The emerging ‘album app’ format is a rich multi-media artefact that can be downloaded to a digital device. In 2011 Bjork released the first album app, Biophilia, which included a new unique interface for music listening as well as custom visual animations. Bjork’s cutting-edge approach however brought a number of unresolved challenges with respect to consumer adoption, design costs and chart eligibility.

The research presented in this paper evaluates the album app format and resolves some of the previous functional issues. Working with the band Francois and the Atlas Mountains, this project has realised the first ever chart eligible album app, Piano Ombre, which includes detailed artwork, song lyrics, guitar chord charts, production credits and access to exclusive bonus music material. The app has been evaluated with a number of focus groups and industry representatives; in particular it has been observed that prior to seeing the app, only 34% of focus group participants saw the format as having future potential, whereas, after seeing a demonstration of the app, 77% of participants said they would purchase music in this way. This paper therefore discusses the limitations of existing music formats, provides a case study overview of the developed album app material, and evaluates the consumer, artist and industry response to the proposed new format.

Gregory Weinstein, Columbia College Chicago

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Liveness, Concert Recording, Classical Music

Producing Intimacy: The Curious Case of "Live" Classical Recordings

In recent years, the classical music recording industry has increasingly relied on concert recordings to sustain itself. Concert recordings are much cheaper to produce than studio recordings, and they have provided record companies an opportunity to redefine their brands. These recordings offer (as the London Symphony Orchestra claims) “the experience you only get live.” But the “liveness” of classical concert recordings is hardly straightforward. These projects feature at least as much technological craft as their studio counterparts, as recordists are concerned with the construction of a performance and an ambience that will be perceived as “live” by listeners. In fact, the “live” classical recording bears strikingly little resemblance to the sound of the concert hall.

In this presentation, I will draw on my ethnographic experiences in Britain’s classical music recording industry to argue that the “live” aesthetics of concert recordings are the result of a particular set of recording techniques and musical ideologies within the classical music world. The practices of creating concert recordings derives from recordists’ awareness that these recordings must produce an intimacy between the performer and the listener—the sense that the recording medium falls away and the listener experiences the concert event without mediation. To produce this sense of intimacy and immediacy, recordists must balance the hegemony of the musical “work” (long dominant in classical music practice) with the vast range of technological possibilities in the modern studio. They use microphone techniques, artificial ambience, splicing, and a number of other tools to simulate the impression that the listener was at the concert and the concert was an ideal-type performance. “Live” recordings thus refigure the traditional aesthetics of classical music recording for the contemporary late capitalist environment in which they participate.

Alan Williams, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Track:                          Music Production in a Transcultural Space

Author keywords:      Authorship, Internet, Collaboration, Video, Crowdsourcing, Playing For Change, Eric Whitacre

Crowdtracking: Authorship in the video composites of Playing for Change and Eric Whitacre

In recent years, two ongoing projects - Playing For Change and the choral works of Eric Whitacre have utilized video/audio compositing technology to create musical works that depend upon the contributions of numerous professional and amateur musicians throughout the world. By incorporating visual images of the contributors into the multitracked audio program, the participants appear to exert some measure of authorship over the results. But the unseen hand of the video editors exerts tremendous control over the final product, and the resulting vignettes of musical “collaboration” bear little resemblance to the process by which the performances are documented, collated, and constructed.

For much of the 20th century, the role of recording engineer and producer were little understood or acknowledged by most music fan, though in recent decades, their contributions are far more commonly recognized and appreciated, swinging the balance from shadowy unknowns to high profile auteurs. As Paul Théberge has described multitrack audio recording as a “rationalized process,” these video programs amplify two distinct forms of rationalization – the after-the-fact assemblage of arrangements by the producers of the Playing For Change series, and the fill-in-the-blanks design of the video submissions that result in Whitacre’s thousand voice chorales. This presentation will explore the creative conceptions and technological processes employed in these audio/video works, and through careful reading of the videos themselves, attempt to ascertain how notions of authorship are present in, or transformed by the emergent “crowdtracking” phenomenon.       

I envision this presentation as relevant to several conference themes, though I believe this presentation is most directly related to path D – Music Production in Transcultural Space, with paths B (authorship) and C (distribution platforms) clearly informing the research, though in a secondary position.

 

Katherine Williams, Plymouth University

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      ­

 

From Personal to Public: A Sound-box and Proxemic Interpretation of Rufus Wainwright’s Vocal Style

Canadian-American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright comes from a long family tradition of publicly expressing emotion and anxiety through song. While Wainwright does not explicitly continue the overtly self-referential pattern established by his mother (folk singer Kate McGarrigle) and father (folk singer Loudon Wainwright III), the majority of his songs use the first-person singular pronoun. A growing confidence in his sense of self is suggested by the combination of autobiography and the increasing prominence of his voice in the production of subsequent albums. This exaggerated sense of self (or ‘ego’) is emphasized by the visual and musical flamboyance of Wainwright’s musical performances and output.

This paper presents the hypothesis that the increasing prominence of Wainwright’s voice in the produced mix through his seven studio albums can be attributed to his ego (in the popular sense) and his growing comfort with his place in celebrity culture and music. A song from each of his albums (‘Danny Boy’, ‘Poses’, ‘Old Whore’s Diet’, ‘Do I Disappoint You’, ‘Martha’ and Montauk’) provides a representative sample of his commercial output 1998–2012. By combining ‘sound-box’ analysis (Moore and Dockwray 2010) of these songs with the philosophical perspectives of Barthes (1977) and Freud (1927) and the sociological study of Kenneth G. Gergen (1991), this paper relates Wainwright’s sense of self to his music, providing a new perspective on the role of autobiography in indie rock. This argument is nuanced by an analysis of the personal space and interpersonal distance of recording techniques used on Wainwright’s vocal. His negotiation of the intimate, personal, social and public proxemic zones suggested by Moore, Schmidt and Dockwray (2009, after Edward Hall 1963) reinforces the overarching argument that Wainwright’s recorded career to date suggests a transference from the ego to the id.

Paula Wolfe, Sib Records     

Track:                          Recording aesthetics

Author keywords:      Self-Production, Creative Dynamic, Sonic Collaboration, Practice Hybrids.

 

Between the private and the public: the artist-producer and hybrids of production practice in the digital era.

In the independent sector of the UK music industry emerging and established artists alike now work in a context where the expectation that a project will ‘arrive fully formed’ before a label gets involved (Tony Morley, The Leaf Label, 2011) is a given. A culture of choice has enveloped the broader industry context whereby, ‘You may end up on a label or you may not – you may not want to’ (Una Johnstone, SXSW representative, 2010) throwing into a state of flux ‘The signed and unsigned thing’, which, ‘is so murky and vague now’ (Hew Stevens, BBC Radio 1 DJ, 2012). That choice extends to the music production practice utilised as part of an individual’s elected career path. Self-production is no longer a marginalised activity and can be seen to address ‘new industry’ expectation as well as providing a challenge to residual historic and gendered barriers to entry.

Analysis of musical output by a self-producing artist, however, invites a number of questions. How does she negotiate the acoustic and the electronic when everything takes place in the same space(s) as her laptop? What recording aesthetics guide the marriage of artistic vision and technical proficiency to ensure professional quality to take to market? Are any of those aesthetic choices gendered? How does the artist-producer negotiate her role as producer, director and engineer when bringing in musicians to perform on a project she has built from scratch on her digital audio workstation?

Drawing on case study data and practice as research, this paper explores the creative dynamic and sonic collaborations that emerge when the recorded performance enacted in public merges with the virtual compositional sketch-pad created in private.

 

Jamie Wong, University of Oxford

Track:                          Musical Ownership and Authorship

Author keywords:      Auto-Tune, Gregory Brothers, Ownership, Authorship, Creativity, Songification, Leoš Janáček, Steve Reich, YouTube, Speech, Post-colonialism, Othering, Borrowing, Appropriation, Internet, Technology, Viral

Unintentional Singers: Auto-tuning Everyday Speech on YouTube

Since the late 90s, Auto-tune has penetrated mass consciousness through its ubiquitous use in the music industry both as a pitch correction tool, and as a medium to create an alternative musical and stylistic idiom. More recently, it has pervaded the Internet when various YouTube users such as the Gregory Brothers have utilized the technology to manipulate the pitch of speech utterances in news footage, political debate broadcasts, online dating video profiles, and home videos to create songs for comedic consumption. Such auto-tuned YouTube videos have each garnered millions of views, often propelling unsuspecting protagonists of original videos into the Internet stratosphere, creating a constellation of viral video stars.

This paper addresses the phenomenon of using Auto-Tune to ‘songify’ speech. Positing it along a lineage of melodic derivation from speech in Western art music such as that of Leoš Janáček and Steve Reich, I examine how the practice of ‘songification’ negotiates with existing copyright legislation and perceptions of authorship, and the implications such practice in regard to ownership, borrowing, and appropriation of music. Through drawing on post-colonial theory, this paper also seeks to enhance our understanding of the asymmetric power dynamics of cultural production on the Internet, while documenting the changing nature of collaboration in an increasingly technologically mediated world.