NEWS

  • Early Recording Technologies: Transnational Practices, History and Heritage

    I will be presenting Gramophonography: Reinvention, transculturalism and the everyday at Early Recording Technologies: Transnational Practices, History and Heritage in Glasgow on 15 June:

    About the symposium:

    The first fifty years of the record industry, from the invention of the phonograph by T.A. Edison in 1877 to the advent of electrical recording in 1925, changed in dramatic and irreversible ways how people performed, listened to and thought about music and sound; archiving and transmission of musical culture was also greatly challenged. At the turn of the twentieth century, the record industry constituted one of the earliest and most vibrant global industries, relying on a complex yet often little-known infrastructure. 

    Against a homogenising or flattening history of the industry, we would like to retrace and interrogate the persisting heterogeneity of practices, interpretations and discourses accompanying the rise of phonography. By bringing together scholars from across Europe, as well as sound archivists and sound artists, this one-day symposium intends to uncover these multi-layered processes in a culturally and contextually sensitive way. With contributions focusing on the development of the recording industry at the local, national and transnational levels, the nascent aesthetics of recorded sound and the changes it brought to listening, the repertoires registered in early recordings and the changing role of recording technologies in memory practices, the symposium will ask the following questions:

    • How were the early reception and uses of sound recording technologies informed by local practices and cultural specificities across Europe? 

    • How did the advent of phonography, reciprocally, challenge regional identities and modes of cultural production? 

    • What can we learn from the study of such practices and specificities in order to build the foundations of a differential transnational history of phonography that contextualizes the listening and creative remediation of such recordings, increasingly available nowadays through online collections and repositories? 

    • How can we navigate and productively theorise the phonographic archive without succumbing to its overwhelming vastness?

     

    Venues:

    All sessions will take place in the James Arnott Theatre (Gilmorehill Centre), 9 University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8NN. 

     

    The evening performances will take place in the Concert Hall, Gilbert Scott Building (Main Building), University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ.

     

    Programme at a glance: 

     

    9:00-9:30

    Registration & welcome

    9:30-11:00

    Panel 1. Commodification, circulation and consumption of early recordings

    11:00-11:30

    Tea & coffee 

    11:30-12:30

    Keynote lecture

    12:30-1:30

    Lunch break

    1:30-2:30

    Listening session

    2:30-4:00

    Panel 2. Materiality, mediatisation and spatiality

    4:00-4:30

    Tea & coffee

    4:30-5:30

    Panel 3. Between memory and playback: Phonography and the archive

    5:30-6:30

    Extended break

    6:30-7:30

    Creative works (in Concert Hall)

     

    Detailed programme:

     

    Panel 1. Commodification, circulation and consumption of recorded sound

    João Silva: “Commodifying sound in Portugal in the early phonographic era”

    Henri Chamoux: “The broadcasting and distribution of sound recordings during the Belle Époque in France (1893-1914)”

    Benedetta Zucconi: ““Phonographic awareness”: discussions around recorded sound in early twentieth-century Italy between aesthetic questions and economic struggles”

     

    Thomas Y. Levin

    Professor Levin will talk about phono-postcards in France, ca. 1905.

     

    Listening session.

    Thomas Y. Levin

    Following from his keynote lecture, Professor Levin will play and discuss examples of phono-postcards in France, ca. 1905. (N.B. Contrary to what was initially advertised, this session will be open to all participants)

     

    Panel 2. Materiality, mediatisation and spatiality

    Ulrik Volgsten: "Utilitarian vs. solipsistic phonography in early 20th-century Sweden - mediatization of music and musicalization of the media"

    Thomas Henry: "From the birth of the first record shops to the development of a record collecting culture in early 20th century Paris: using a map to trace the history of recorded sound"Elodie A. Roy: “For a natural history of the gramophone record: Origins and politics of shellac”

     

    Panel 3. Between memory and playback: Phonography and the archive

    Richard Ranft: “The dawn of sound recording and sound archiving in Britain”

    Alistair Bell: tbc

     

    Creative works. 

    Naomi Kashiwagi: “Gramophonography: Reinvention, transculturalism and the everyday”

    Marie Guérin: “Même morts nous chantons”

  • BBC Radio 3: Between the Ears: In Praise of Shadows

    Tonight at 9:30pm, I will be contributing to the BBC Radio 3 programme, Between the Ears: In Praise of Shadows, part of Night Blossoms, late-evening programmes exploring the counter-culture in Japanese music and art.

    Between the Ears: In Praise of Shadows

    Published in 1933, In Praise of Shadows, remains a cornerstone of design thinking; a classic description of the collision between the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors and the dazzling light of the modern age. DJ Nick Luscombe retraces the journey of author Junichiro Tanizaki from the neon lights of Tokyo in the West to the very heart of traditional Japan in Eastern Kyoto.
    In the upside down world of Tanizaki everything might have been different if science had been invented in the East. He explains that the radio and the gramophone are Western inventions, intended to convey the pomp and splendour of Western instruments and compositions. The Japanese love of silence or 'Ma' could never perhaps be best conveyed by loudspeaker. Today Naomi Kashiwagi explores this idea through the conceptual art piece 'Gramophonica', replaying old sounds and even traditional materials like Japanese tissue paper on a wind up gramophone with her own DIY stylus to capture otherworldly inherent sounds, sounds that might have been.
    To understand how the concept of 'Ma' influences all of Japanese culture Nick talks to design guru Kenya Hara of Muji and Japan House and architect Kengo Kuma who recently designed the V&A in Dundee and the new Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. Finally in Kyoto Nick explores what we might all gain from the ancient traditions of Eastern thinking with Noh Theatre expert Diego Pellachia and curator of space Robert Yellin. (Text from: Between the Ears: In Praise of Shadows)



    Fever (Gramophonica Remix), The Soap Room, Premierentage, Innsbruck, Austria (2015). Commissioned by Innsbruck International: Biennale of the Arts.