Christmas is coming! In case you are looking for a present for somebody who is into recording or mixing, here are some books that have been a great read for me in 2015.
Besides being a sound engineer, Mike Senior writes for Sound On Sound magazine, reviewing mixes in his Mix Rescue column. He has written two books, adapting the techniques of the top sound engineers to the home studio environment: Mixing Secrets and Recording Secrets for the Home Studio. Honestly, both are the best books I’ve read in years on sound engineering. Mike has a didactic talent and ability to cover very complicated material in a simple way, and has great british sense of humor. Both books are very informative and should be used by audio engineering schools to teach the students. But also pros will have a lot of a-ha moments, helping them to understand better, what and why they are doing on daily basis. I was very impressed and inspired especially by Recording Secrets, because the book describes techniques I haven’t used yet.
This is the story of recording music from sound cylinder to Spotify. You’ll find a lot of great storys here, for example how Edison used his jaws to listen to music in his seventies, how Nazis contributed to the development of analogue tape recording systems, how loudness wars have been started by US radio stations in the 70ies. While reading this book I was able to find some of the mentioned recordings on Youtube and to follow the progress of sound recording. Also I now have a strong believe, that only a mechanical recording systems will survive nuclear Armageddon, while the CDs won’t survive the Internet (although Adeles’ record company is trying to prove the opposite right now). Unfiortunately, the only minus of this book is a bad paper and polygraphy quality. So please, give it only to people who care about content more than about the form ;)
Ken Calliat co-produced “Rumours” (and a couple of other albums) by Fleetwood Mac. He spent almost a whole year in the studio with the band. During this time the both couples in the band fell apart, and the drummer divorced and remarried his wife. This caused an atmosphere of emotional tension, conflicts and even some dramas. But the band managed to transform this energy into a Grammy awarded album, selling almost 40 000 000 copies worldwide. The book offers heart melting stories on every song and shows their the transition from sketches into demos into hits. It describes the work and life of musicians and producers in the mid 70ies. It’s about long hair, free love, huge egos and huge hits. It’s a book about the moment of time we now call the golden age of pop music.