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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Thursday, 12 February 2004

Sounds Expo 2004..

On Tuesday (the 10th) Suzi (my friend & bandmate) and I attended the Sounds Expo 2004 at Wembley Exhibition Centre. It's a three day show, with displays, demonstrations and seminars about all sorts of music production-related things; I would have loved to have attended all three days, but with a lovely family at home and only a week before my trip to Germany, it was out of the question.

When we finally arrived (it's a bit of a walk from Wembley Park tube station, which is a shortish trip on the Metropolitan Line from Finchley Road, through some rather rubbish bits of outer London) we were greeted by a fairly impressive sight. Or site...


big ol' cranes 
A generous spattering of fairly enormous building supplies.

What remained of the famous Wembley Stadium was covered with concrete and cranes, and it was a fairly inspiring vision, before the sombre North London sky. I've never really been able to deal with macroscopics, I guess - the civil engineering involved in just the giant arch is well beyond my understanding.

The exhibition centre (and the nearby arena, for that matter), had none of the sense of impending greatness; here's a photo of the roadway to the side - clean (deserted!) but unexceptional.


A dull roadway. Ooh.
A dull roadway. Ooh.

Not necessarily interesting, this roadway passes the 'end' of a flyover. I thought it made a fairly attractive photo, though. Sort of...


The flyover to nowhere
The flyover to nowhere

When we finally entered the exhibition, the most noticable (but not surprising, really) aspect was the sheer volume of noise coming from the place. There were an inordinate number of loudspeakers dotted around the place, being used for exhibitor demonstrations, visitor experimentations and (in a small partitioned lecture room in the midst of the cacophony) seminars. I recorded this brief mp3 (318kB) to give an idea of the noise, but it doesn't really do it justice.

Representatives from many of the big names in sound and music production equipement were showing off their wares in dozens of cubicles - if you've never been to a show like this, it's like a cross between an indoor market and a whole bunch of showrooms. Here's a photo, taken from the stairs by the entrance, to give an idea of the way it was laid out.


the exhibition hall
The exhibition hall and cuboids.

Suzi and I attended some seminars, dribbled over some far too expensive equipment (if I participated in the National Lottery [funny how nobody seems to call it 'Lotto', in spite of the name change] it would have inspired me to buy a ticket for the double-rollover thing this weekend) and listened to some demonstrations of far too expensive equipment. One of the most remarkable was a guitarist, playing into a tiny box, from which emanated some amazing sounds. I cheekily made a short recording (555kB) of some of the demonstration; while we watched, I noticed that the performer was none other than Roger Linn - the company owner. Although not quite in the same league as Bob Moog, he's fairly well-known in electronic music circles as the inventor of some much-loved drum machines - such as those heavily used by Stock Aitken and Waterman during the 1980s. I didn't talk to him - he was concentrating on his 'busking' - but he seemed pleased to have our attention.

All in all, then, an entertaining, quite inspiring (we finally finished our work in progress, 'The Two of Me' last night!) and tiring day.

Posted by james at February 12, 2004 11:26 AM


 
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