My article ‘The precarious double life of the recording engineer‘ has been published on the online first (or latest articles) section of the Journal for Cultural Research. It will be published in the actual journal in early 2014. The piece draws upon a recently completed project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which I was a co-researcher on with Jez Wells (who was the fellowship holder). This is the first article I wrote based upon that project. There is a link to the article above, but there is also an open access version here, but this is only available to the first 50 visitors. This is the abstract for the piece:
This article draws upon a series of focus groups and interviews with recording engineers at various stages of their careers. Using these data, the article explores the way that recording engineers balance artistic sensibility with the logistics and precision of engineering. The piece shows that the term ‘recording engineering’ represents a highly varied set of practices, and that this variation can be understood through an examination of the balance between artistry and engineering found in the recording engineer’s background and biography, in their technical know-how and in the recording relations that they mediate. The article argues that in order to understand cultural production, we need to understand how, both individually and collectively, recording engineers find the balance between art and engineering that enables them to fit into hierarchies, to present themselves as legitimate to different audiences, to manage interpersonal relations and to maintain their role in the recording process. Here, this balancing act is described as the precarious double life of the recording engineer. As such, this exploratory article begins to open-up an understanding of the influence that recording engineers have upon the contemporary cultural soundscape.