Iceland

Subject #20: Soundperson

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Filmed December 19, 2007
Emo's
Austin, Texas

In our society, recorded sound is everywhere. Frequencies low, middle, and high are routinely emitted by televisions, radios, computers, CD players, cell phones, cars, subways, airplanes, department stores, roller coasters, and, I suspect, the Hubble telescope. However, recorded sound is, by definition, artificial. Every time we hear a sound that is not natural—"natural" as in the delighted coo of a contented baby or the threatening caw of a hungry bird of prey—a technician recorded, manipulated, and reproduced that artificial sound. This is why soundpersons (or, if you prefer, audio engineers) are not only an important part of the music industry, but human civilization.

Though I cannot be sure, I estimate that I have played over 1000 shows in my lifetime. A soundperson was not only present at, but was a vital part of an overwhelming majority of these performances. For example, the soundperson portrayed above mixed my band at Emo's, Austin's premier indie-rock venue, on December 19, 2007. However, due to circumstances beyond my control (a poor memory, a lost reporter's notebook, and depression related to the declining dollar), I have forgotten his name. Though I have been remiss in securing this soundperson's personal details, I offer this video portrait in celebration of him and soundpersons living and dead around the globe.

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