Super Sonic: A Day of Audio Adventures

25Nov_Super Sonic_A Day of Audio Adventures

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  • Full Price: £22.00 Member: £22.00 Other concessions available

Spend a day immersed in the world of recorded sound

A one-day mini festival of talks, presentations, playbacks and more, delving into the incredible world of recorded sound. The earliest days of radio to cutting edge BBC technology, via turntables, record-your-own audio booths and illicit recordings in Soviet Russia. Plus special guests select and play the sounds that inspire them. Curated in association with Bowers & Wilkins.

The day concludes with superb DJ sets by DJ Yoda and Huey Morgan at Late at the Library: Sonic Boom in the Entrance Hall of the Library, included in the day ticket price.

The programme includes (with more to be announced)

Surrounded by Sound – Richard Ranft

The British Library is home to some 6.5 million sound recordings on some 40 different formats, spanning music of every genre, oral history and spoken word.  Richard Ranft, Head of Sound and Vision at the Library, gives an insight into this extraordinary treasure trove.

The Turntable RevolutionColleen Murphy

Colleen Murphy, Classic Album Sundays founder, international vinyl DJ and radio host, tells the groovy story of how the turntable not only invented the music business, but also changed our lives.  As a younger generation becomes enchanted with the vinyl record and as older record buyers who had chucked away their CDs now repurchase their favourite albums on vinyl, it seems ‘vinyl’ is the word on every music fan’s lips. But without the turntable, there would be no records, and without records, the world of music as we know it would be a very different place.

Colleen tracks the evolution of the record player from Edison’s phonograph and Berliner’s Gramophone through to the portable Dansette and the weird and wonderful world audiophile high-end turntables. She also recounts the impact the turntable has had upon our lives from wartime trenches, to the teenage revolution through to the turntable as an instrument and an instigator of social change. 

The Extraordinary History of Soviet Music On The BoneStephen Coates and Paul Heartfield

In the Soviet Union during the cold war era, the music people could listen to was ruthlessly controlled by the State. But a secret and risky subculture of music lovers and bootleggers defied the censor. Incredibly, they built homemade recording machines and found an extraordinary means of copying forbidden jazz, rock 'n' roll and banned Russian music to make their own records. Stephen Coates and photographer Paul Heartfield of the X-Ray Audio Project tell the astonishing story of the Soviet vinyl bootleggers with words, images and film followed by a demonstration  of the incredible art of cutting music to an x-ray using a 1950s recording lathe.

Stephen Coates is creator of the X-Ray Audio project, is a composer and music producer and member of the band The Real Tuesday Weld.  Paul Heartfield is one of London's most experienced and respected portraitists. He has worked extensively in the music industry, photographing many international bands and musicians over the last decade. Together they have been researching and interviewing the story of the X-Ray recordings in Russia researching as part of a series of projects on Soviet musical history.

BBC Research and Development – The Future of Radio

Don’t Write, Make a Record! – Alan Dein

Broadcaster and oral historian Alan Dein explores the remarkable story of the automatic record booth. Introduced in the 1930s, anyone could step up to the microphone at the end of a pier, at a railway station or in a department store, and make a sound recording of their voice. Thousands of one-of-a-kind discs were produced - and many still survive today from joyous birthday greetings and spoken love letters, to wannabe Bob Dylan's strumming behind the booth's sliding-door. Dein will play examples of unique audio that he’s discovered in the nation’s archives, and from his own collection.  

Huey Morgan in Conversation

The New York born, UK based frontman of rock/hip hop band Fun Lovin' Criminals is also one of the most distinctive voices on British Radio. He presents The Huey Show on BBC 6 Music and Huey's Finest Saturday Selection and Huey's Sunday Best for BBC Radio 2. At this special conversation Huey Morgan shares and talks about some of the music and recordings that have inspired him, before playing a live and loud set in the Entrance Hall.

Part of a Season of Sound, celebrating the Library’s sound archive. Audio installation supplied by Bowers & Wilkins.


Name: Super Sonic: A Day of Audio Adventures
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: Full Price: £22.00
Member: £22.00
Senior 60+: £20.00
Student: £18.00
Registered Unemployed: £18.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546