Art of Record Production Conference
May 17-19, 2019
Berklee College of Music, 921 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
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Friday, May 17 • 17:00 - 17:30
Domestic intimate space in recorded music

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When recorded sounds are described as intimate, it is often a proximate-sounding, non- reverberated, soft-sung voice that is referred to. In popular music research (see, e.g., Moore, 2012; Zagorski-Thomas, 2014), intimacy has largely been understood in terms of Hall’s (1990) idea of intimate distance, that is, the closest of four categories of distance at which people communicate. If we look outside of music research, however, familiar places like the home and specific parts of the home are often regarded as spaces of intimacy. In this paper I propose an alternative to the traditional idea of intimate sound by exploring the notion of intimate domestic space and the ways in which such space can be represented in recorded music.

A possible way to approach the idea of intimate domestic space in recordings is to look at the extent to which a recorded space realistically resembles an actual intimate space. Several records from at least the last two decades have shown a move towards an aesthetics of recorded spatiality previously associated with the technological limitations of home recordings, by incorporating home-like reverberation simulating small rooms. A similar tendency is also seen in recording technology, with reverb plugin presets being called things like “Bedroom” or “Warm Living Room”. This paper explores the ways in which home-like sound spaces can provide a sense of intimacy in a recording, by arguing for a connection between realism, vulnerability and intimacy, while also acknowledging the important role of technology in the conveyance of such spatialities.

Hall, E. T. (1990). The Hidden Dimension: Man’s Use of Space om Public and Private. New York, NY: Anchor Books.
Moore, A. F. (2012). Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song.
Farnham: Ashgate.
Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2014). The Musicology of Record Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

avatar for Emil Kraugerud

Emil Kraugerud

PhD fellow, University of Oslo

Friday May 17, 2019 17:00 - 17:30 EDT
Classroom 411 (4th floor)

Attendees (9)