Sound and vision blog

3 posts from February 2009

24 February 2009

Recording of the month

This month’s Recording of the Month prize goes to Paul Capewell, who is studying information management and librarianship at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

His favourite recording is George Martin from the Oral History of Recorded Sound

Paul says “This is a wonderful cohesion of three things I'm incredibly interested in - the British Library's sound archive, recording studios, and of course, George Martin and the Beatles.

Martin's soft voice and carefully-worded answers offer a wonderful listening experience, along with truly enlightening detail.  He’s a wonderful storyteller, and his genius and expertise just shines through. Plus the interview stretches right from the early 1950s with him recording classical music, then comedy, the Beatles, and ends with a really interesting discussion about the emerging (in 1983) technologies with digital sound recording and synthesisers.

It just shows how well sound recordings can capture the vitality and character of the speaker in a way no other medium can.”

19 February 2009

Voices of Past and Present

The United Reform Church in Keld, a remote corner of the Yorkshire Dales was brought to life with a sound installation by Kingsley Ash for the 2008 Swaledale Festival.

Kingsley, a lecturer in electronic music at Leeds Metropolitan University,  used old recordings of regional Dales accents from as far back as the 1950’s from Accents and Dialects, melded with more recent recordings made locally by the artist and folk song recordings from the Yorkshire Dales Countryside Museum and the composer’s own field recordings from the area.  The resulting audio sculpture integrated recognisable words with fragments, phonemes, inflections and tones extracted from speech.

“Some of the recordings I made were made with locals whose families had been there a long time, particularly in the remote villages in the top of the Dale.  These people still sounded very much like the old recordings from the British Library.  Generally, though, people are no longer so isolated and their accents are less extreme today.”

The installation was well received, especially in the remote village where it ran for two weeks through the festival.  “People in the village were very interested – it’s not the sort of thing they usually have access to.”

“The idea of juxtaposing old and new recordings came from finding the Accents and Dialects collection on Archival Sound Recordings.  The resource is very good – it’s easy to access and there’s all kinds of material there.  It’s useful not just for this kind of artistic use, but for social research, exploring the changing times we live in, and also for music technology, allowing researchers to compare old and new recordings.”

14 February 2009

Unlocking Audio 2: Connecting With Listeners

We invite you to join us at this exciting event. There are only a few places left!

Here are the details of how to join.

Registration deadline -12:00 hours GMT on 16 February 2009

Register now to secure your place at 16-17 March 2009, The British Library Conference Centre, London NW1

Full programme of papers, speakers and workshops:

Keynote speakers:

  • Charles Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and creativity in organisations
  • Andy Powell, Head of Development at the Eduserv Foundation

Supported by the Joint Information Systems Committee and celebrating the successful end of the Archival Sound Recordings project, this conference is a key event exploring the use of sound recordings online, focussing on ways that researchers and other audiences expect to discover, browse, audition and analyse archival audio resources. It will be of interest to:

  • content owners
  • academics & students
  • service providers
  • user groups
  • resource managers
  • system integrators
  • designers and implementers of search & content analysis tools

How to register

Visit the conference website:

Contact details

Alison Faraday,
“Unlocking Audio”
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB
United Kingdom
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7441

(hashtag: #unlockingaudio)