Katia Isakoff is a composer, record producer (Add N to (X)), mix engineer, studio owner, academic and member of JAMES, and she recently came to Lincoln to talk to students about her experiences in the music industry.
Katia put to use her wealth of experience and advised students about studio etiquette and how to get the best performance from an artist, and the importance of understanding the basics of music business in order to deal with contractual and financial matters. She also discussed the issues of how she navigates the often male-oriented world of music production and the music industry in general.
The link between academic theory and music production practice is something that concerns this course greatly and it was very interesting to hear how Katia brings these two areas together with her work at JAMES and the Art Of Record Production conferences and publications.
You may not have heard of Malcolm Cecil or Robert Margouleff but you’ll certainly be familiar with their work. These two electronic music boffins helped transform Little Stevie Wonder in to one of the greatest song writers in pop music. They produced and engineered four albums that are widely regarded as “Stevie’s classic period.” Four albums that featured his most enduring songs such as Living For the City, Superstition, Higher Ground and You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Stevie was at the height of his creative powers but Margouleff and Cecil were his sonic architects, steering him away from the bubble gum pop sound of Motown.
Central to Margouleff and Cecil’s production style was their creation, TONTO. The Original New Timbral Orchestra was a huge, room-sized super-synthesiser developed with the express purpose of making this new, intimidating technology work together as a giant electronic ensemble. Margouleff and Cecil manipulated its futuristic controls, while Stevie played its keyboards. The results turned out to be timeless. Their pioneering electronic developments in sound and production proved hugely influential to black popular music in the 1970s.
As well as Stevie Wonder, Margouleff and Cecil have worked with a whole host of big name artists such as The Isley Brothers, Gil Scott-Heron, George Harrison and Devo. So why have you never heard of them? Broadcaster and fan Stuart Maconie investigates their story and argues we should be celebrating these forgotten men of pop instead of consigning them to Rock ‘n’ Roll’s backroom staff.
Contributors include Robert Margouleff, Malcolm Cecil, Pete Townshend, Michael Sembello, Steve Hillage and music historian Mark Sinker.
The BBC Radiophonic workshop was founded in 1958 by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram. This group of experimental composers, sound engineers and musical innovators provided music for programmes including The Body in Question, Horizon, Quatermass, Newsround, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chronicle and Delia Derbyshire’s iconic Doctor Who Theme before being shut down by Director General John Birt in 1998.
In an edition recorded just as the Workshop prepare to release a new album, and tour the UK, Matthew Sweet brings together Radiophonic Workshop members Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Peter Howells, and Mark Ayres to reflect on the days and nights they spent in the workshop, coaxing ageing machines into otherworldly life, and pioneering electronic music. Also in the programme, The Prodigy’s Kieron Pepper and Vile Electrodes on the influence the Radiophonic Workshop had on them.
Listen to the BBC Radio 3 programme here:
Taking part in the programme:
Pauline Oliveros is an American improvisor, accordionist and composer who is considered a pioneer of electronic classical music in 20th century America. At 81 years old, her career spans some fifty years of boundary breaking music-making, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards. On April 1st 2014, she performs a real-time improvised performance linking musicians in Stanford (California), Troy (New York) and Montreal. This is the first performance of this kind in the UK at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
The performance forms part of Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York & Birmingham, a major festival of music presented by Birmingham Conservatoire and Third Ear.
Listen to Pauline being interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour here:
Most current pop music is created not with live instruments, but from pre-formed, off the shelf chunks of music known as loops. Musician Matthew Herbert explores the art of the loop and the million-dollar industry that has grown up around it, and asks whether it is setting music makers free from the constraints of traditional instruments or killing creativity.
Loops are pre-recorded performances, typically of a solo instrument, and typically 1 or 2 bars long. Looping isn’t new – it started soon after the advent of tape recorders. But recent advances in computer technology and software mean that effects which once needed a full-scale studio costing thousands of pounds can be created for little or no cost on a laptop or even a mobile phone. A CD of loops costing £10 can be used to make a million-selling international hit, but who is the real composer?
Matthew once made an entire album from the sounds of a single pig’s life, so he’s no stranger to the benefits of loops and sampling. He talks to producers, musicians and loop-creators and experiments with technology ancient and modern; he hears from looping’s defenders and detractors and looks into a musical future which he finds fascinating but many find terrifying.
And, along the way, he builds a dance track out of a Radio 4 Continuity announcer.
Produced by Micky Curling
A Folded Wing production for BBC Radio 4
This interesting documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and explores the sound design of Doctor Who, both in its early years, and in recording the seventh BBC Wales series. Matthew Sweet interviews Tim Ricketts, Paul Jefferies and Brian Hodgson who are all involved with sound design on Doctor Who, past and present. Also interviewed the voice of the Daleks and Ice Warriors, Nicholas Briggs. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the interval of the 2013 Doctor Who at the Proms.
For this month’s guest lecture, I was very happy to introduce Stephen Mallinder to the university for a second time. As most of you will already know, Mal was one of the founder members of Cabaret Voltaire – a group who had a massive impact on me as a young music maker and his lectures now are equally valuable to our students.
For this talk, Mal concentrated on the shift from analogue to digital cultures, particularly in regard to the perceptions of musicians, producers and sound-recordists to music production, music distribution and music consumption. He drew from his own background in writing, producing and playing over the past 35 years and also talked about his current work with my old Fila Brazillia partner Steve Cobby in his own current project Hey, Rube!
He discussed the results of his own research interviewing over 30 artists (musicians, DJs, producers and sound recordists, including his old band mate Chris Watson). The findings of which have formed the basis of a chapter for the up Live-Digital publication (Chandos, Summer 2013).
Mal provided a thought-provoking, enjoyable and highly relevant session, particularly for those students investigating similar issues for their final year dissertations. Hopefully, we’ll get him back again next year for the hat-trick!
Win an Abbey Road mix/mastering session and Pro Tools® system
The Beatles. Adele. U2. Lady Gaga. Ready to add your name to that list?
Avid have partnered with Abbey Road—one of the world’s most famous recording studios—to help artists and musicians make music history.
they’re looking for one great song, chosen by a panel of industry heavyweights, to win an online mixing and mastering session at Abbey Road and a Pro Tools|HD Native system.
Enter now for your chance to win the industry’s respect, fan exposure, plus free gear from Avid and a mix/mastering session from Abbey Road, adding up to a value of over $7,000.
Get heard, get discovered, and break through. Judge’s Choice
Three winners, as chosen by the judges, will receive:
Their song/track mixed and mastered by Abbey Road’s online services (worth $1,300)
A Pro Tools|HD Native system with Pro Tools HD 10 software and an HD OMNI interface (worth $5,999) each
Exposure across Avid’s website and social online channels
People’s Choice The highest voted artist will receive:
An Mbox Pro audio interface with Pro Tools 10 software (worth $999)
Exposure across Avid’s website and social online channels
Get Involved Submit by: March 13, 2013, 10 am PDT
Vote: March 14, 2013, – March 21, 2013,
Winners Announced: April 10, 2013