Sean Williams Research Blog

The site is being redesigned so the recording and mastering pages are temporarily unavailable.

See below for all the research and performance activity.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The end of the Tape Rooms

25th of April marked the closing of the Tape rooms, an analogue studio that I set up with a colleague in Bristol two years previously. It had a good run and we learned an awful lot about tape machine maintenance and picked up some valuable skills regarding studio techniques of the 60s and 70s.

Drezz has since gone on to set up another studio in the Stoke's Croft area of Bristol and I have been refurbishing the equipment and carrying out some modifications to the mixing desk with a view to setting up another studio once the PhD is submitted.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chris Watson workshop

Chris Watson was in Edinburgh from the 20th to the 22nd of April 2011 and gave a wonderful workshop in which he was amazingly generous with sharing his tips tricks and techniques on field recording. Having worked for the BBC for years he had brilliant stories and he has been able to develop some really useful and unusual techniques for recording all sorts of things.

I made some parabolic reflectors specially for this workshop and all three were used to excellent effect.

The focus of our activities was to record the dawn chorus in George Square in the centre of Edinburgh, and after a bit of editing we presented our recordings as part of an evenings concert for Martin Parker's Dialogues festival in Inspace.

Chris played a selection of sound recordings and soundscapes through a quadraphonic sound system and I lent him my homemade quadraphonic panner for the gig. He was able to pan the echo-location sounds of Orcas around the audience to create a thrilling underwater soundscape, and the whole range of sounds was absolutely fascinating.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Edison Cylinder Recording Session

Aleks Kolkowski, hardcore phonographer, invited me to his studio on the 6th of April to record two Edison Cylinders as a contribution to his Phonographies project.

For the session I used a homemade circuit based on the STEIM Cracklebox but with three similar circuits all joined together. The 9V battery powers a 12" Celestion G12 speaker and the sound is projected from there straight into the recording horn of the Edison Phonograph.

We recorded two pieces both lasting two minutes (the maximum length for a brown wax cylinder at 160rpm).  The first was fairly straightforward but for the second Aleks experimented with a sound-on-sound technique, actually cutting the groove in two passes.
You can hear the results here.

Photos by Aleks Kolkowski.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Research Seminar - Liverpool Hope

Robin Hartwell very kindly invited me to give a music research seminar on 2nd of March 2011 at Liverpool Hope University.

The seminar was based on the research presented at the ICMPC in Seattle in 2010 and was entitled:
Noise and Fidelity: Poles Apart? or What we might have lost by getting computers to do things for us.

Robin is an excellent host and  had a great setup of a decent record player and some lovely old speakers - B&W or Altec (I can't quote remember), which sounded lovely and allowed me to play lots of records in an appropriate setting.