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Title: How recording studios used technology to invoke the psychedelic experience : the difference in staging techniques in British and American recordings in the late 1960s
Author: Meynell, Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 9889
Awarding Body: University of West London
Current Institution: University of West London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis focuses on a time in the mid-1960s where practice in the studio changed from a formal arena where previously rehearsed songs were recorded, to a playground where sonic possibilities were explored and sound manipulation became normal practice. This abuse of technology and manipulation of reality became part of the creative process in the studio, providing soundscapes that resonated with the counter-cultural ethos of upsetting the established order, and were adopted by the mainstream during the 1967 ‘Summer of Love”. Following a discussion of current literature, practice as research is applied to demonstrate how interaction with historical technology reveals the performative nature of the tacit knowledge that created many of the aural effects under consideration. The research then focuses through the prism of two case studies, “Eight Miles High” recorded by The Byrds in Los Angeles in January 1966, and “Rain”, recorded by The Beatles in London in April 1966. Through re-enactment of these historical recording sessions, I recreate the closed envirnment of the 1960’s recording studio. By interacting with historical technology and following a similar structure to the original sessions, I investigate how the methodology was influenced by collaborative actions, situational awareness and the demarcation of roles. Post session video analysis reveals the flow of decision making as the sessions unfold, and how interaction with the technological constraints recreates ‘forgotten’ techniques that were deemed everyday practice at the time and were vital to the outcome of the soundscapes. The thesis combines theory and practice to develop an understanding of how the engineers interacted with technology (Polanyi, 1966), often abusing the equipment to create manipulated soundscapes (Akrich and Latour, 1992), and how the sessions responded to musicians demanding innovation and experimentation, circumventing the constraints of established networks of practice (Law and Callon, 1986) during the flow of the recording session (Ingold, 2013).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Music ; Music/audio technology ; Record production