World First for Remote Transatlantic Real-Time Album Recording

The first notes have been played in a project that will see an album recorded by musicians at opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean - in real-time. In what is believed to be a world first, Dr Paul Ferguson and Dr Zack Moir (both from Music) have linked up with Berklee College of Music in Boston to record an album together at the same time – without either leaving their respective countries.

Utilising advanced audio-visual streaming technology called LOLA (low latency) and cloud-based features of recording software Pro Tools, the band has started the process of collaboratively recording an album together, with musicians in Edinburgh, London, and Boston being brought together through the technology.

The band – which consists of Edinburgh Napier lecturer Dr Zack Moir on saxophone, Edinburgh Napier graduate Ewan Gibson on bass, Dr Gareth Dylan Smith, independent researcher and musician, on drums, and Dr Joe Bennett, Vice President at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, on guitar – see each other by being projected onto large glass panels in both studios.

And despite being more than 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean, the time difference is a mere 40 milliseconds (one way), meaning that sound qualities are almost identical to the band being in the same room at the same time. This compares with an average sound lag of around 500 milliseconds for a regular Skype call.

The band has written a number of songs aimed at pushing the capabilities of LOLA, with many featuring intricate parts with a view to challenging the system.

The project is the latest in Edinburgh Napier’s development and testing of LOLA technology, with the University using the system in the past to connect musicians across the UK and Europe for demonstrations and teaching. This is the first time it has been used for real-time transatlantic recording by the University, and is a world-first.

Date posted

20 September 2017