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On the Radar
Finding sonic delights in places where most of us wouldn't dream...
Future Music Magazine UK 2007
Interview with Oz Owen


You are famous using 'found sound'. What inspired you to take this approach?

It's a combination of transformation and recognition. Artists have for centuries taken influences from their surroundings, classic painters illustrated the landscapes around them, whilst musicians have often responded to their location and environment. Found sound offers an immediate material to work with and for you to act as filter to re-interpret, re-arrange, offering up a personal vision of shared world. It's also cheaper than hiring session musicians :-)

Whether it's the phone calls I scanned early on in my career through to recent projects in China, Vietnam, etc where I've been working with city sounds, the idea of the sound world around us has fed into my work.

Last time we spoke you had a minimal set-up (3 x minidisks, if memory serves...!?). What's in your rig now?

I stay remain a minimalist anti-hero :-)
My live rig comprises of:
Macbook Pro Computer running Ableton Live and Logic Pro
Alesis AirFX
Korg ES1 Sampler
Behringer mixer
Oxygene keyboard

Reductionism always encourages more inspiration!

And has technology evolved to allow for better capture of found sound...?

Without doubt! The miniaturization and portability of sound carriers and recorders today has enabled a far more coherent and efficient way of capturing sound. I use an Edirol R-1 to record outdoors with portable in-eat binaural microphones and it's able to capture such detail. Then again even mistakes are appealing so often the cheapest forms of technology, mobile phones for example, can make opportunities in the most unusual situations. I've accidentally hit record on my mobile and ended up recording my visit to the supermarket which I've used in a work.

What should we expect from Scanner in the near future?

Goodness, this is always a detailed answer :-) It ranges from soundtrack work - I've just sound-designed new British horror movie Reverb, a touring dance work, 'Faultline,' working with Patricia Rozario, an Indian opera singer, six new car horns for the USA, through to installation work - a permanent work in a Newcastle hospital to assist people with spinal injuries, and of course more accessible routes like online work too.