Gen's upcoming events and Misc.upcoming projects...

GENS MISC. UPCOMING PROJECTS: Heartworm Press are publishing “Collected Lyrics and Poems of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Volume One 1961 to 1971. Later they will publish Gen's first novel, written in 1969, “Mrs. Askwith”. Other books will follow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zuccarelli Holophonics

A few notes on "Zuccarelli Holophonics"...
the classic Psychic tv album "dreams less sweet" album was credited as being recorded with this technology and and "no microphones at all", according to the sleeve notes. A large part of the ambience, which permeates the album, is due to the fact that it was recorded using the  Zuccarelli Holophonic technology, similar to the Artificial Head system used by the 70's Berlin Krautrockers. Extra spacial dimension and clarity become disorientatingly apparent. This encouraged Psychic TV to record sounds and environments which would make the most of the recording system. Locations included The Hell Fire Club caves 300ft. underground, Christ Church in Hampstead, and Caxton Hall. The album is full of sounds designed to exploit the 3D effect. It's an amazing experience on headphones.

Just prior to the release of "Dreams less sweet" in 1983  , the "Just drifting" 7" single from the "Force The Hand Of Chance"  1982 album contained the following liner notes...

"This is a Zuccarelli Holophonic TM recording made with the assistance of Mike King. This system gives 360 degree sound or Three Dimensional sound. For best effect place speakers opposite each other and sit in the middle, or use headphones. Close your eyes, play quite loud and try and read the pcitures. Walk through the rooms of The Temple Ov Psychick Youth."

"If you sit with fear, a star too far, almost lost in this storm of Life. A blazing ghost can become the host, and you breakthrough to the room of dreams."

Excerpt from a april 2009 interview with self-titiled website.

GPO: ... But whatever happened to holophonic sound? Dreams Less Sweet is still the only album in the world that was completely holophonic.

EC: What’s holophonic?

GPO: Dimensional sound.

EC: When did that come about?

GPO: We recorded that in ’83, so [the] early ’80s. This guy called Hugo Zuccarelli invented this special new way of recording sound. Part of it was a real human skull, with latex skin and real human hair, called “Ringo” cause it was the skull of a Mexican boxer called Ringo who died in the ring. Which is…interesting. Not really useful to the sound, [laughter] but…inside that, he had little bags of liquid where the inner ear is, so he tried to construct as near as he could an entire person’s head with a sack of liquid for the brain, and so on. And right in the center of that was something, which he wouldn’t tell, and he hid the papers all over the world, which went through a wire and into a black box. And in the black box, the digital information from this whatever, was changed back into code that could become sound again.

EC: Analog?

GPO: No, this was digital…three-dimensional digital, it was the first time ever it had been done. Pink Floyd used it on…Meddle, maybe?

EC: Did you need a special player to understand this?

GPO: Oh yeah, when we used it, Sony brought an entire mobile studio they built specially, and the tape was circular but it was twice this diameter.

AW: Bullshit! [Laughter]

GPO:- And it was only this thick; it was really strange.

AW: That has gotta be mega-expensive.

GPO: Well, they did it for free, because they’d been trying to get people to do it on a whole album and no one else would. Pink Floyd used it for sound effects only, and Michael Jackson used it on Thriller but only for the sound effects, and we said we’ll use [it] for the whole fucking album. So they created this whole studio for us, at this place called Jacob’s.

We tried all these things—we put it in a coffin, buried it, so you can hear yourself being buried alive, on the record, and we got this guy from a film studio to come with a license and fire guns past its ears so you could hear bullets flying past…all kinds of stuff. We did a tattoo on it [laughter]. We got clippers and pretended to cut its hair, we put it on a rope and swung him so he was flying around the studio while we played live so it was recording wherever it went.

EC: And what happened to all this?

GPO: It came out, it was released as an album…on CBS.

...GPO: It was very funny, we went into the Hell Fire Club caves, because Zuccarelli reckoned it would pick up atmosphere as well; we recorded in the place where Aleister Crowley did his Rites of Eleusis and gave out magic mushrooms; we recorded in a church with an opera singer. This choir, they were actually singing Craft Ebbing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis,” so if you translated the Latin it was actually about a woman who had a perversion about young boys. It was wild, we couldn’t believe our luck. And the more ridiculous the things we suggested, the more they’d go, “Yeah, that sounds great, we’ll organize it for you.” [Laughter].

More on Zuccarelli Holophonics....

Holophonics was created by Argentine Hugo Zuccarelli in 1980, during his studies at the Politecnico di Milano university. It, along with Zuccarelli, rose to fame in 1983 with the release of a recording entitled Zuccarelli Holophonics (The Matchbox Shaker) released in the UK by CBS which consisted entirely of short recordings of sound effects designed to show off the system. These included the shaking matchbox, haircut & blower, bees, balloon, plastic bag, birds, airplanes, fireworks, thunder, and racing cars. In its early years,

Zuccarelli states that the human auditory system is a sound emitter, producing a reference sound that combines with incoming sound to form an interference pattern inside the ear. The nature of this pattern is sensitive to the direction of the incoming sound. According to the hypothesis, the cochlea detects and analyzes this pattern as if it were an acoustic hologram. The brain then interprets this data and infers the direction of the sound. An article from Zuccarelli presenting this theory was printed in the magazine New Scientist in 1983. This article was followed soon after by two letters casting doubt on Zuccarelli's theory and his scientific abilities.

Holophonics, like binaural recording, reproduces the interaural differences (arrival time and amplitude between the ears), as well as rudimentary head-related transfer functions (HRTF). These create the illusion that sounds produced in the membrane of a speaker emanate from specific directions. To produce digital holophonic or binaural recordings, a mono source requires many HRTF channels combined.

No comments: