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Occasional posts on subjects like field recording, London sounds past and present, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

Kinokophonography evening at the British Library, 13 November

Posted by IMR on 03 November 2012

KINOKOPHONOGRAPHY SOUND LISTENING events have around for a couple of years at least. Now us Londoners have a chance to hear and take part as Kinokophonography will be visiting the British Library on Tuesday the 13th of November.

The evening kicks off at 6pm in Foyle Suite meeting room, which is to the rear of the main Library building. It’s free to attend but you have to book online first – you can do so on this webpage.

Kinokophonography poster


It’s a very open and democratic format. Anyone can submit a recording to be included in the evening according to a theme. The one for this coming evening is ‘beauty’, which had me stumped when it came to finding something to submit.

Partly that’s because of my blokeish reluctance to use the word – steady on! – but also because I can’t think of any recording I’ve ever made which could be called ‘beautiful’. Some, like this one of a Polyphon music box in a pub, might count as ‘pretty’:


Some others, hopefully, will strike the listener as interesting, moody, intriguing, exciting or simply well-recorded. Also, beauty is relative as well as subjective. If a field recording counts as an instance of beauty, then what can be said about Vaughan Williams’s ‘The Lark Ascending’ or John Coltrane playing ‘Greensleeves’?

There seems to be a general tendency now for people to rush to each end of the descriptive scale without much in between. A ‘pop-up’ market stall sells awesome cupcakes, a humbler part of our metropolis gets written off as a complete and utter dump, a novel has an adulatory blurb on the cover as if the reviewer only reads one book a year, and each time it changes his life. What’s the word for something two-thirds of the way to being beautiful?

It’ll be interesting to hear how other people approach the issue of beauty through field recording, and what it means to them. Hope to see you there.

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