SONIC ALCHEMY: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings

David N. Howard, Author . Hal Leonard $18.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-634-05560-7

Music journalist Howard's first book is an excellent general overview of the most important pop music producers since the 1960s, capturing the various methods of the "Oz-like men who pulled the levers from behind the curtain and created a legacy of sound." Their results range from the "teenaged symphonies" of Phil Spector and the visions of Beach Boy Brian Wilson to the professionalism of Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller and the "furtive ambience" of post-punk Brit Martin Hannett. Howard also covers a range of nonrock styles, including Willie Mitchell and his legendary soul/r&b recordings of Al Green, the groundbreaking reggae "dub" of King Tubby and Lee Perry, and the innovative rap/hip-hop of Arthur Baker and Dr. Dre. The strengths of Howard's concise essays are twofold: first, he fully represents the whole career of well-known producers, such as Glyn Johns, whose innovative work on Steve Miller's 1968 Children of the Future is a forgotten masterpiece. Second, the essays sometimes move beyond their generalist style to reveal the significant detail, such as in a chapter on "The Pioneers," a great look at how the careers and styles of George Martin and Phil Spector were closely intertwined even before their paths actually crossed during final production of the Beatles ill-fated Let It Be album. Agent, Andrew Stuart. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/24/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 308 pages - 978-1-61780-752-7
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