Book launch: The Art of Record Production #arp13

The Art of Record Production – An Introductory Reader for a New Academic Field (Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 2012)

Book launch session: The Art of Record Production by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas.

Simon (ZT) described how the book came about and its philosophical approach. Contributors are either academics or production practitioners, very much in line with ARP and JARP’s philosophies. I paste below (taken from the contents list on Ashgate’s website) a list of headings and chapters in the book;

  • 1 Introduction: Simon Frith And Simon Zagorski-Thomas
  • 2 The Lacquer Disc For Immediate Playback: Professional Recording And Home Recording From The 1920s To The 1950s : George Brock-Nannestad
  • 3 The Sounds Of Space: Studio As Instrument In The Era Of High Fidelity: Susan Schmidt Horning
  • 4 No-Fi: Crafting A Language Of Recorded Music In 1950s Pop: Albin Zak III
  • 5 The US Vs The UK Sound: Meaning In Music Production In The 1970s: Simon Zagorski-Thomas
  • 6 The End Of The World As We Know It: The Changing Role Of The Studio In The Age Of The Internet: Paul Théberge
  • Interlude 1: Comments And Commentaries By Industry Professionals And Producers 91
  • 7 Beyond A Musicology Of Production: Allan Moore
  • 8 ‘I’m Not Hearing What You’re Hearing’: The Conflict And Connection Of Headphone Mixes And Multiple Audioscapes: Alan Williams
  • 9 The Self-Effacing Producer: Absence Summons Presence: Michael Jarrett
  • 10 Rethinking Creativity: Record Production And The Systems Model: Phillip Mcintyre
  • 11 Considering Space In Recorded Music: William Moylan
  • Interlude 2: Comments And Commentaries By Industry Professionals And Producers
  • 12 Simulating The Ideal Performance: Suvi Raj Grubb And Classical Music Production: Andrew Blake
  • 13 The Place Of The Producer In The Discourse Of Rock: Simon Frith
  • 14 The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds And The Musicology Of Record Production: Jan Butler
  • 15 Tubby’s Dub Style: The Live Art Of Record Production: Sean Williams
  • 16 Recording The Revolution: 50 Years Of Music Studios In Revolutionary Cuba: Jan Fairley And Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier
  • Interlude 3: Comments And Commentaries By Industry Professionals And Producers

Questions lead into a discussion regarding the future of publishing and how we might deal with the challenges of academic publishers, online publishing, open access and funding.

IASPM 2013 keynote: Prof Simon Frith

To anyone who is involved in the academic discussion of popular music, Professor Simon Frith is perhaps one of our megastars. I was delighted to hear that he was the keynote speaker for this conference, as he is one of the driving forces behind IASPM itself and our journal – Popular Music. That this is his final conference (he intends to retire within the year) made his speech all the more poignant.


[with apologies to Simon for any inelegance or misrepresentation in the summative text below – I found the keynote extremely engaging, and have tried to balance my own interest in his points with the practical necessity of live blogging!].

Simon opened his keynote with a comment about his preference for the avoidance of nostalgia – and noted that Bruce Springsteen will be performing in Gijòn this week! He talked briefly about his influential book Performing Rites, written in the 1990s, and then discussed where popular music scholarship might be going today. His interest has always been partly located in the arguments of what constitutes ‘value’ in popular music, and notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ popular music. As an academic he takes what is still a very brave approach – of using academic tools to analyse highly contextual social considerations of aesthetic value in music.