Working along side a talented monitor engineer at Royal Festival Hall for Jerry Dammers The Spatial AKA Orchestra… a mixture of large and complicated music sections, many musicians and a semi theatre set up, it’s a tough gig! The woman in control of the complicated sound onstage, was doing a fantastic job, assuring and asserting the band. It also sounded fantastic, even Jerry was smiling and he’s hard pleased.
Although this took place a few years ago, I still like to learn all I can and still regularly discuss with other audio engineers their tour stories and the artists they are currently working with. I asked about her audio career and the usual how did you become successful at the craft? She mentioned 25 years back she was most definitely one of the very few female sound engineers working in the UK and indeed worldwide. “It was not an easy road even for a competent engineer” she had to excel and fight hard for the trust and a piece of the action, very much in a male dominated industry.
Starting out in Manchester and fresh from college, I too had to get out and get the experience under my belt. Manchester luckily had a thriving live music and theatre scene. I managed to get a job as a theatre usher at the famed Palace Theatre. With performances by Noel Coward, Judy Garland, Laurel and Hardy, even Rolling Stones playing a run of sold out gigs there, I felt in good company.
After selling what seems like a mountain of interval ice creams, I slowly began forging a bond with the backstage technical crew until I some how managed to fill in on a few shows for a sick assistant sound technician, cool my first ever sound job! It didn’t last, he was back on duty for the next weeks shows, but it helped me decide what I should be doing, I loved it and wanted more. I hung out around the theatre, working a bit longer there but nothing else came of more sound work and it was a huge amount of time before any did.
I was just turning 18 and expected to find a job. I remember searching for what felt like forever to get any work remotely sound related and getting fed up. I was skint, most of my friends at the time had decided to get IT jobs or to follow in their parents footsteps, which I tried but the work did not fit with me. I fell into working at Dry Bar in the Northern Quarter as a barman but on the verge of packing it in and planning to go on a long travel period. The job was fine, the gigs were cool, I got to see Oasis play, Blur, The Fall, Suede, i’d go and sneak drinks to the sound engineers just to say hello. They were mostly decent local based engineers. I must have shown my keenness to learn as I was asked by an engineer if I wanted to help assist at a gig the following week.. a female engineer and a great sound technician.
Over the course of a year she taught me so much, I literally had to start from scratch and she taught me with patience and without any hint of patronising guff. I finally got good. She was destined for bigger things and I took over her spot at the small but notable Night & Day Cafe which led to all sorts of other local sound gigs to cut my teeth on, some bad, some good, at The Ritz, Band On the Wall, The Manchester Academy, even working with Buena Vista Social Club at Manchester’s Bridge Water Hall, home to the Halle Orchestra.
When I finally made it round to university to study sound and broadcast, my incredible live sound tutor was again female. She gave me the extra confidence and well earned knowledge to prompt a move out to London to pursue my passion and for that I’ll always be grateful. Without meeting the so called unicorns of the audio industry, I guarantee I would not be doing what I love and getting paid to do it! In a nice turn of events, I’ve recently agreed to take on an intern, a passionate but slightly green trainee audio engineer from outside of the U.K, with the hope of returning some of the favour back to her.
The musician Laura Marling wrote an article Reversal Of The Muse, trying to ask the right questions to various women in the music and sound industry to which the results are available as podcasts. So far, she has spoken to Vanessa Parr in-house engineer at Village Studios in LA, Grammy winning sound engineer Trina Shoemaker and Mandy Parnell (Aphex Twin, Bjork, Brian Eno), she asked, why still are talented and experienced women often depicted as “the muse” and rarely as the creator? Marling set out to explore how female creativity works in practice: “Reversing the muse means taking away the subjugating role of being the object,”
Laura mentions many interesting observations about the idea of being a muse and what it does to you, especially as a creative artist.
Also recently the sound world lost a figure head in the audio recording field with the death of Wilma Cozart Fine, age 82. Ms. Fine recorded and produced for the infamous Mercury Records Label – the 1812 Overture, a sonic masterpiece featuring the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra featuring real cannons and huge bells, became the first classical album to sell more than one million copies.. that was in the 1950’s!
Great interview with Wilma and The Grammy Recording Academy.
Featuring British artists Martin Creed, Elizabeth Price (Turner Prize winner 2014) and American artist Rachel Rose. Curated by The Vinyl Factory.
I find it hard to remember an exhibition that I’ve found more enjoyable than The Infinite Mix. A collaboration with The Store, a creative space in what seems like an unused and brutalist Berlin interrogation building. Infinite Mix showcases 10 quality sound design and audio video installations. Some of the works being hilarious and others being mesmerising and always original. The installations themselves sound and look wonderful both in design and technicality. For a free exhibition at this level, I highly recommend. Be sure to check out the top floor bar too, another great space, worthy of an expensive beer.
A fantastic new 3 part series Masters Of Pop started on the BBC4 recently, narrated by Nile Rodgers, this is a guide to the role of the music producer. Lamont Dozier, responsible for the Motown sound, features, as does my personal favourite producer Joe Meek, 60s genius and master of the overdub. A full in depth and technical demonstration by Tony Visconti into how he created, with David Bowie, “Heroes”! This shows not just Visconti’s ingenuity but Bowie’s visionary brilliance. RIP.
The Sea Organ, The Morske Orgulje – Adriatic Sea, Croatia
Zadar, a 3,000-year-old city on the coast of Croatia, was almost completely destroyed in World War II –– so many of its ancient landmarks lost forever. Years after a rebuilding that featured lots of plain, concrete structures, award-winning architect Nikola Bašić was brought in to bring some delight back to the coastline with a 230 foot long organ that turns the beating rhythmic waves into stunning music.
The Quietus Essay – The Utopia Of Records: Why Sound Archiving Is Important.
Sound is not permanent, and much of the recorded recent history of humanity is currently disintegrating. Robert Barry reports from the British Library Sound Archive and Internet Archive to find out what’s being done to preserve these audio records, and explains what you can do to help
I’m extremely proud to say that the documentary I’ve produced and been working on since July last year, “The Price Of Love”, is now finished. This documentary not only highlights the plight of families affected by the current spousal laws in the UK, sanctioned by the home office and our current elected government, but also the love, strength and determination that families like Sally Piasecki’s and Alison Tanik’s have shown despite their strife.
The Independent have picked up the doc and are currently sharing online in 3 parts, the first of which is available to view now, so please do take the time to view and share! For me filming this documentary and hearing the individual story’s has been an emotional journey, to which the whole team will also testify to this. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have been involved and who have helped to make it possible – a huge thank you!
Directed by Don McVey Produced by Ryan Jay Tweedie & David Nicholas Wilkinson
In a great new 3 part BBC4 series, Sound Of Song, Neil Brand looks at every recorded moment in the life cycle of a song and the changing ways we have listened to them. He reveals the wonderful alchemy recording elements that makes songs sound so special to us.
To open the series, Neil investigates how songs were recorded for the first time, the listening revolution in the home that followed and the birth of a new style of singing that came with the arrival of the microphone – crooning.
A technical exploration into the magical elements that come together to create great songs by recreating some of the most memorable and innovative recording sessions in music history – from Sun Studios & Elvis’s slapback echo in Memphis and the Beatles’ tape loops at Abbey Road to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and the Beach Boys’ pop symphonies at Sunset Studios. He shows that all this was made possible by the discovery of Ampex magnetic tape by an American soldier in the ruins of WWII Germany, the invention that, more than any other, drove the emergence of the music studio as a compositional tool and the rise of the producer as a new creative force shaping the sound of song.
Did you know? Brian Wilson was originally a recording assistant to Phil Spectre.. and Good Vibrations took over 90 hours to record!
British Library – Below The Lines In The Ice: The Sonic World Of Icebergs
Post by Ryan , on 2015-01-19
Irish composer Dr Karen Power spent time in the Arctic as part of the Arctic Circle Residency programme, exploring and documenting the sounds of...
British Library – Below The Lines In The Ice: The Sonic World Of Icebergs
Irish composer Dr Karen Power spent time in the Arctic as part of the Arctic Circle Residency programme, exploring and documenting the sounds of the Arctic icebergs. Power armed herself with a weaponry of drills and hydrophones in order to explore this mysterious world..
“Despite the silence, there is a tremendous pressure in the atmosphere. I wanted to get inside what I thought might be the cause of this pressure – the ice reshaping, melting – so I drilled some holes in some of the icebergs, at first on the shore and then floating in the middle of the water, and I was introduced to the most amazing sonic world”.
The field recordings collected during the residency open a fascinating acoustic window onto the usually hidden world of Arctic ice. Pops, cracks, creaks, groans, bangs and taps are just some of the sounds encountered during this incredible journey beneath the surface of the Arctic Ocean.
The Game Of Life Foundation Curate and produce artistic programmes which showcase a diverse range of high-quality, innovative electronic music projects through Wave field synthesis (WFS)
The foundation offer composers (sound artists/artists/musicians) a unique opportunity to work with their highly specialised Wave Field Synthesis system. This system is fully mobile making it the only mobile WFS system in the world. Our WFS system comprises of 192 specially designed loudspeakers and provides listeners with an immersive sonic experience that is impossible to experience in ones own home environment. Wave Field Synthesis is the first sound reproduction technique that enables sound to be truly – that is physical instead of psycho acoustic – distributed spatially.
Picture of The Game Of Life installation and it’s 360 array of speakers.
With the WFS system a sound could appear to originate from a fixed point and remain there or it could be programmed to move in patterns within and outside the square formation of the loudspeaker arrays. This possibility of being able to move sounds ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the direct listening environment offers endless creative opportunities for the artist.
The system is currently touring UK and Europe with live works and compositions by Robert Henke (Monolake), Yota Morimoto and Funckarma.
Ted Talk – How To Listen Better: Sound Expert Julian Treasure
Recall Sound are a big fan of Ted Talks. Please enjoy this latest audio offering.
Recorded at Ted Global, Edinburgh, Scotland.
In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.
Film Screening At Film 4 Fright Fest 2014
Post by Ryan , on 2014-08-21
I’m very pleased to announce the last feature I worked on “The Mirror” as Sound Supervisor, is now screening at UK cinemas. There is...
I’m very pleased to announce the last feature I worked on “The Mirror” as Sound Supervisor, is now screening at UK cinemas. There is a premier screening at The Vue, Leicester Square, London for Film 4’s Fright Fest’14.
Directed by Ed Boase, the film I’m glad to see is receiving decent press publicity. I gained the pleasure of working along side Bafta Award winning Sound Mixer, Dean Humphreys. Dean is known mostly for his work with Roman Polanski on The Pianist (BATFA best sound nomination), The Ghost (sound supervisor) and Seven Years in Tibet (recording mixer)
It seems an appropriate time to share this wonderful article on the sound design and audio enhancement of our most loved sporting events from the current World Cup and Wimbledon to the 4000 strong microphone staged London Olympic Games.
As a theatre sound engineer, designer I know what depths and exact planning it takes to portray the right audio coverage to an audience, treading the middle ground between what’s real and what’s unreal, while staying 99% invisible. In this fantastic article, Peregrine Andrews SD/SR for the BBC reveals the tricks and techniques used to sonically enhance, excite and draw you in as close as possible to the live action. If the jobs done right, as recordists, you probably don’t notice that were doing our jobs at all… in fact you probably don’t even know that our job exists.
Pedal-Destination Moon – Solar Powered Music Festival
Fancy playing a gig on a pedal powered sound system, complete with a wind powered lighting rig? Destination Moon based in Brooklyn, NYC is dedicated to providing an immersive artistic experience with the smallest possible ecological footprint. They produce events that integrate music and the arts with sustainable energy.
The decision to create Destination Moon came after years of frequenting big summer festivals, where the infant DM Team saw an incredible amount of waste and energy misuse. DM are “big advocates” of festivals and music, so they began plotting their own, trying to reduce their carbon footprint in the process.
“We use DC Solar Solutions’ Model SCT20 portable solar generators,” We don’t have to blast music as loud (until we want to) to overpower generator motors, so it engages the audience, looks awesome and, hopefully, it instills the capabilities of solar use.” For Destination Moon, the solar generator is the most vital ingredient in keeping the festival sustainable. Larger festivals don’t even consider it as an option. Instead, they use diesel generators. “Diesel generator emissions are damaging to the environment, and in the long term are partly responsible for rising fuel costs, not to mention they need to be running constantly to avoid damaging the engines,” said Esner speaking on behalf of DM. “Last year, after 10 hours of powering our huge stage and about four hours of powering location and stage lighting, the solar trailer was only down to about 85 percent battery. Totally reliable, even on a cloudy day if we wanted to keep going.” In addition to that goal, the art and sound installations throughout the festival thoughtfully recycled materials and utilized renewable energy, set in an oasis within an urban jungle backyard of a 19th century complex on the upper west side.
I recently came across this great short: Portrait of a Sound Design Artist a film produced by Storm+Shelter, is about Ali Lacey an eccentric sound design artist. This portrait allows us a closer look into the world of sound design. Filmed at Stylee Studios in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. Is beautifully recorded and shot, allowing an awesome personal insight into sound design work.
Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for anyone that watches this video and subsequently smashes several household items in the name of art!
The World’s Only Festival Of Ice Music, Geilo, Norway
Post by Ryan , on 2014-05-06
Every year on a frozen fjord in Norway, musicians gather under the full moon, and a canopy of Northern Lights, to perform ice music...
The World’s Only Festival Of Ice Music, Geilo, Norway
Every year on a frozen fjord in Norway, musicians gather under the full moon, and a canopy of Northern Lights, to perform ice music at the Ice festival.
Filmed and directed – Mark Whatmore and Mitch Turnbull for Yoho Media Productions. Sound Recordist – Tor Magne Hallibakken
Over a weekend, instruments are carved from blocks of ice, and music played in an arena of carved ice blocks to a well wrapped audience, who arrive on cross country skis.
Sometimes standing in flurries of snow, sometimes in the light of flame torches, under the northern lights, they listen spellbound (and a bit chilly) to the magical sounds produced by instruments with a short life span – Incredible!
Guinness World Records has certified the findings made by Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford. A gun shot fired inside the tunnel resonates for a full record 112 seconds.
Typical reverberation times at mid-frequency: Living room: 0.4 seconds Opera house: 1.2 seconds Concert hall for classical music: 2 seconds St. Paul’s Cathedral: 9.2 seconds
I love his music sure, but it’s his ideas in production and sound recording that inspire the most. In his personal website where he delves into the technicalities of audio, he often has interesting links to interviews and new music projects he’s been involved with. It’s the most recent TED Talk with David that has got me thinking again about how much a recording space has not only a big effect on the way the music is captured and recorded but also the way the music is perceived and altered in the space.. how does the recording room effect the way the originally composition was written, the mind set of the musicians playing the space to the way the audience receives the music as a final product in the concert space… Enjoy.
Particles In Acoustic Levitation
Post by Ryan , on 2014-02-14
A team of researchers in Switzerland and Japan have developed a way of levitating and transporting small objects using nothing but sound. It is...
A team of researchers in Switzerland and Japan have developed a way of levitating and transporting small objects using nothing but sound. It is the first time that scientists have been able to use sound to simultaneously levitate several objects next to each other and move them around. Scientists Yoichi Ochiai, Jun Rekimoto and Takayuki Hoshi have released footage of their new series of acoustic levitation experiments that demonstrate the new found power of sound..See more
Post by Ryan , on 2014-02-02
Immersive Audio: BBC Research & Development BBC R&D are developing new tools for creation and delivery of binaural audio. By studying the perceived sound...
BBC R&D are developing new tools for creation and delivery of binaural audio. By studying the perceived sound quality of binaural systems and fundamentals of auditory perception, we are working to improve the state-of-the-art. We are also working on practicable methods for delivering binaural audio to our audiences whilst still achieving high quality.
Binaural recording is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments. Binaural literally means “having or relating to two ears.” Binaural hearing, along with frequency cues, lets humans and other animals determine direction of origin of sounds.
Binaural recorded music is found to be more exciting, alive and Immersive audio with space and great definition. BBC R&D worked with the band Elbow recently to record a live performance in Binaural as a 3D music experiment. Thru BBC R&D link below you can discover a Binaural broadcast for your self. Must be listened to over headphones to work. Binaural recordings will not work on typical hifi stereo speakers.
A fascinating article on U.K and European Sound Mirrors and their uses. Mirror image, very much looking like a set piece from an Andrei Tarkovsky feature.
“Sound Mirrors are A forerunner of radar, acoustic mirrors were built on the south and northeast coasts of England between about 1916 and the 1930s. The ‘listening ears’ were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aircraft”.
Alexander Graham Bell’s Restored Voice, Speaking From 1885
National Geographic Article: How Genius Carl Haber fully restores Long-Lost Sounds is the story of Carl Haber, an experimental audio physicist who built some quite amazing solutions to preserve and archive, important sound recordings which are in a state of heavy inaccessibility and deterioration.
I really enjoy the use of DIY technology and for this small village Talea de Castro in remote Mexico, the towns people decided communication was vital. After being refused a telephone mast for mobile connection, they built there own.
I was fortunate enough to spend two days at Oxford University working with the Rhodes Scholarship Trust. In short, Rhodes Scholarship selection committees seek out young women and men of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. The Rhodes Scholarships support students who demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as ‘leaders for the world’s future’. – See more at:
When British businessman Cecil Rhodes died in 1902, his fortune was used to establish the Rhodes scholarship, which brings outstanding students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England, generally for two years. Students from any academic discipline are selected on the basis of intellectual distinction, as well as the promise of future leadership and service to the world. Around 90 scholarships are given annually with former President Bill Clinton, famous astronomer Edwin Hubble, Grammy musician Kris Kristofferson and director Terrence Malik being past Rhodes Scholars.
It was the 110th Rhodes Scholars Meet and I was lucky enough to mix the sound for Kris Kristofferson at the evening celebrations.
It’s Sounds of cinema month
Post by Ryan , on 2013-11-20
BBC both radio and television are celebrating this event by broadcasting a number of fantastic documentary’s and feature films. I managed to catch Sound...
BBC both radio and television are celebrating this event by broadcasting a number of fantastic documentary’s and feature films. I managed to catch Sound Of Cinema The Music That Made The Movies..
Martin Scorsese, arguably the most musically literate of all directors gives a great account of the effect two Hitchcock film scores had on him as a child, as well as his two classic 1970s films – Taxi Driver, scored by perhaps the greatest ever American film composer, Bernard Herrmann, and Mean Streets, which had no composer at all, just Scorsese’s favourite tracks from his own record collection.
Also worth checking out is BBC 6 Music who are running The Sound Of Cinema Series where you can listen to 20 of the best film scores ever written. BBC – Sound of cinema season
Y.A.M.M Festival… Young African Art Market
Post by Ryan , on 2013-10-01
After spending an awesome week in Berlin,which I really recommend doing! Great city… I got invited to the YAMM Festival on behalf of Super...
After spending an awesome week in Berlin,which I really recommend doing! Great city… I got invited to the YAMM Festival on behalf of Super Sonic Sound Berlin, lovely atmosphere, music and food By The River Spree and even a huge man made beach! YAMM is a publicly supported and temporary space housing all the fields of African and Caribean art and cuisine, helping to bring many different nationalities together to meet and experience new urban African culture.
I am back into a musical swing working with a wonderful and talented bunch of touring musicians form the Congo and Senegal called Kasai Masai. The performance was part of the National Geographic and EIA International who are U.K based charity, documentary makers dealing with environmental crimes and issues … please take a look www.eia-international.org
Kasai Masai currently on world tour with Femi Kuti..
Perfect sounds for the perfect weather.
I’m also creating music and exploring the possibilities of Ableton Live for sound Design, Collaborating with another sound designer who is also the founder of a great sound archive site Sonospace. If you don’t know of Sonospace yet please check out the great work the archivers are doing sourcing and distributing found sounds and natural audio recordings. Any how more to come on that as Sonospace have kindly asked me for an article along the lines of a reflection on the industry as a sound recordist which will be a good chance to get kit technical.
So It has been an inspiring month which I wrapped up with the Atoms For Peace concert at Roundhouse! Big respect for Thom Yorke who pulled of a fantastic show with incredible sound/lighting and Flea for being a bass player possessed.
So starting with this past month… very busy!
Post by Ryan , on 2013-09-15
The beginning of the month was spent on the set of a new Brit horror feature directed by Edward Boase. The shoot was 11...
The beginning of the month was spent on the set of a new Brit horror feature directed by Edward Boase. The shoot was 11 days in total and was shot in the similar documentary style as say think Blair Witch or Paranomal Activity. The cast were responsible for shooting all the scenes with direction from a great D.O.P, which led to a really interesting shoot and I learnt a lot from the crew. Should be out on general release around Christmas this year, looking forward to seeing that.
I also got to run F.O.H sound for a bunch of great music makers that have continued to inspire me over the passed years at the Tectonic 3 day Showcase!
Luke Vibert Shakleton Pantha Du Prince
We got to sit down and chat after the show about new music, kit and the type of audience they favour playing to, which I’m glad I could play a part in. With enough time to fit in a recording session at LBC Radio!
Studio 1 LBC Radio Station, Leicester Square.
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