January 20, 2015
by Richard Foster
Bram Nigten wins the IASPM best MA prize for ‘Recorded Reflections – Sonic Space in US Popular Recordings During the Mono Era (1877-1957), and its Occurrence in Three Recordings of Studio Pioneer Bill Putnam’
After emerging from the debris of four days of live music and eierballen, we vaguely remember that ESNS was more than just booze and bands. During the ESNS15 conference, our own Richard James Foster did his bit trying to remind everybody that journalism is about quality, rather than about trying to fit the most bland musical references in a space of 140 characters. Around the same time, the IASPM/KVNM Benelux Popular Music Thesis Prize 2014 was awarded to Bram Nigten, who some of you might know as the manic man behind the drums of Groningse post-punk trio WOLVON. The IASPM, or International Association for the Study of Popular Music, is a worldwide platform for (aspiring) musicologists and the like, who every year award the most outstanding bachelor and master thesis in the field of popular music.
In his master thesis, Nigten describes how the use of spatial features in popular music recordings, such as acoustics, reverb and echo, changed during the mono-era, and how these changes affected the space evoked in the mind of the listener. If you’ve ever witnessed a WOLVON show (featuring layers of reverb and stereo-panning effects) this choice of topic should come as no surprise. To take his thesis outside of the academic realm, this prize-winning thesis can now be read and downloaded exclusively via Luifabriek by anyone who has interest in record production and sonic space.