THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

2 posts from December 2012

13 December 2012

Kinokophonography at the British Library

Cheryl Tipp, Natural Sounds Curator writes:

On Tuesday 13th November a mixed bunch of recordists, artists, curators, students and members of the public gathered at the British Library for the first Kinokophonograhy listening evening to be held in London. These evenings allow individuals with an interest in sound to come together, share their recordings and enjoy the experience of communal listening. The theme of this event was inspired by the Library's current exhibition Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, and recordists were invited to submit recordings that, to them, signified beauty. 13 recordings were selected and together formed the first session that included birdsong, soundscapes, a laughing baby, the sounds of a crumpled duvet and gym members trying to achieve the body beautiful.

IMG_6392

The second session featured recordings that were submitted in response to an open call and thus did not revolve around a particular theme. This session gave contributors the chance to share those special treasures that every recordist has in their personal archive and the results were wonderful.

Kinokophone collective member, Amanda Belantara, led the event perfectly and created a memorable evening for all. We would like to thank both Amanda and Michael for their efforts and hope to welcome them back for another Kinokophonography event in 2013.

10 December 2012

Editing the A.R. Gregory Kenyan bird recordings collection

Mark Peter Wright, supported by the Wildlife Sound Trust, writes about editing the A.R. Gregory Kenyan bird recordings collection:

Editing the digital transfers of A.R Gregory's vast Kenyan wildlife collection revealed not only many species of rare and indigenous birds, but a man clearly dedicated to his work. Verifying each recording from Gregory’s own meticulously kept notes, I was surprised and somewhat touched to see the first notated entry was made on Christmas Day 1967. The pages went on to cover four decades worth of recordings, made in locations such as: Kakamega Forest, Mau Forest and Lake Naivasha;  in addition to many recordings from the Masai Mara.

Gregory's type written notes were brought to life through his own announcements before, at the end, or sometimes in the middle of a recording. His knowledge and passion was always plain to hear and an additional collection of photographic slides reveal a man with a keen eye as well as ear.

Gregory-2 1_blog image

The quality of recordings (over 4,000 in total) throughout is exceptional and considering the time period, particularly the earlier years, one has to recognise Gregory's grasp on the technical and situational aspects of working in the field. Couple this with the physical size and weight of recording equipment during the time and again, it speaks of a man entirely dedicated to a particular region and its wildlife. 

Inevitably some recordings stood out during the editing process. Whether it was the fizzing tune of the Dark-backed Weaver; the mournful whistle of the Wattle-eye Flycatcher; or the languid laughter of the Black & White-casqued Hornbill, at times the results are like an aerobic workout for the ear.

The final recording is dated 21st of March 1993 and marks the culmination of a life’s work. It is now accessible for the first time through the Environment & Nature section of British Library Sounds.

To read more about the A.R. Gregory collection, please click here