The music technologist as collaborator in the contemporaneous co-creation of audio artefacts

Williams, B The music technologist as collaborator in the contemporaneous co-creation of audio artefacts , PhD on publication thesis, University of Slaford.

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Abstract

This PhD portfolio of commercially available album releases exemplifies aspects of my practice as I have navigated through the roles of engineer, producer, composer and collaborator over an eight-year period. The six outputs explored are drawn from a wider catalogue of over twenty album credits. The commentary explores my technical methodology in great detail and aims to make certain aspects of my practice technically repeatable if desired.

Recordings embody knowledge, arrived at through constantly evolving methodologies which synthesise techniques spanning over one hundred years of technical and creative practice. My own practice is broad (in terms of both genre and breadth of engagement) and as a result I am able to draw from practices which often remain distinct, in order to enable creative success and contribute original knowledge.

The outputs have been reviewed in both broadsheet and specialist music press outlets, received nominations for and won national music awards and contributed significantly to the steadily building success of the artists I have collaborated with.

Central to the notion of the contemporaneous co-collaborator is a discourse centred on how music technologists shape the aesthetic of a recorded artefact in consultation with the artist(s) they work with, in light of a set of creative criteria arrived at through both formal and informal dialogues and extensive shared listening. A progression towards mutual understanding unfolds slowly through time and establishes the culture within which a record will be made. A recording captures both sound and culture, the relationships of the key collaborators are the framework on which the artefact is built.

A motivation behind the development of the submission is to demonstrate, through detailed analysis of the record-making process, how historical notions regarding the role of the music technologist have become increasingly outmoded. Constant changes in the way in which music is recorded, mixed, distributed and consumed have rendered many historical descriptors vague at best and often unrepresentative of the work undertaken by the contemporary music technologist in the realisation of an album project.

Whilst not seeking to propose a new terminology the commentary shows that the roles attributed to music technologists in the sleeve notes of records (if indeed there is a physical release) are often anachronistic. The current financial state of the music recording industry has resulted in a radically altered landscape for the music technologist. There is often simply not enough money available to employ people with distinct boundaries. We find ourselves acting as tea boy / girl, recording / mix / mastering engineer, producer, composer, performer and psychologist on a regular rotating basis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD on publication)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Depositing User: B Williams
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2018 09:32
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 09:32
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/42639

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