LOOK SEE(6) - EMusician

LOOK SEE(6)

HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: MY LIFE RECORDING THE MUSIC OF THE BEATLES Among the most easily neglected aspects of life in pop music is the value of remembering. The ephemeral nature of a form, which all too often is overwhelmed by the inexorable forces of fashion orientation, the search for the Next Big Thing, an
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HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: MY LIFE RECORDING THE MUSIC OF THE BEATLES


Among the most easily neglected aspects of life in pop music is the value of remembering. The ephemeral nature of a form, which all too often is overwhelmed by the inexorable forces of fashion orientation, the search for the Next Big Thing, and what Ian MacDonald called “pose and noise,” may mean we miss learning how we got from point A to point B. Thus, the singular importance of memory — no, not digital storage capacity, but the synthesis of experience, judgment, and soul by those who were present at the creation.

Geoff Emerick was indeed present as engineer on innumerable groundbreaking recordings by The Beatles during the era of their most creative output. He draws on this unique opportunity for Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles — a memoir from the perspective of audio and an indispensable primer for aspiring professionals. Emerick, along with Howard Massey, tells a great story of a young man’s passion for music and sound, combined with a willingness to break stultifying rules, which helped revolutionize the very concept of the modern recording studio through innovations from phasing to close-mic techniques and the general application of unbridled curiosity.

Ever the humanist, often kind but not uncritical, Emerick repeatedly emphasizes that collaborative effort and good psychology are as vital as technical skills in the successful conduct of studio work, insisting that “the music comes first.”

This book should not be turned to as a source of profound inquiry into personal or social history. There are plenty of other volumes available for that. It does, however, belong on the very small shelf reserved for those works that elegantly reveal how the music was made, by someone in a position to know.

When Emerick had finally accomplished the now-legendary joining of two different versions, in two different keys, of “Strawberry Fields Forever” into one coherent masterpiece, John Lennon kept repeating three words, “Brilliant. Just brilliant.” To which we may add but two: Hear, hear. —David Flitner

Deep Purple Live in California 1974

California Jam, 1974. Can you smell the dirt weed, muscle cars, the freshly disgraced hippie “movement”? This was a good time to be alive if you were a rockstar, and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the outfits worn by these guys: white, open-chested shirts with 12" platform shoes and black silk pajama pants. I think we all need to come to terms with how much cocaine has influenced fashion in our time from the not-so-innocent days just after “free love” and 25 years before crack brought it all full circle.

At first glance, I was immediately disappointed that Ian Gillian and Roger Glover weren’t with the band at this point in their career. However, the most important thing about Deep Purple is their unbelievable power and wall of sound, and that is all here. Jon Lord is in his full glory raging on his Hammond stacks, Glenn Hughes and Ian Paice are locked in their bottom groove, and Ritchie Blackmore is at the peak of his destructive mountain.

This is a great concert: 275,000 people at Ontario Motor Speedway. Purple is supporting Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (who could not have been too happy to follow this set with the finale of “Space Truckin’”) and awesome, full-blown rock violence complete with pyro, guitar smashing, and apparently an arrest warrant for Blackmore from a cameraman who was in the wrong (right) place at the wrong (right) time.

Although in the wake of “Smoke on the Water,” these guys had huge commercial success (they were the Number One selling band in the States at the time), they have been overlooked for their influence on heavy metal and power music in general, this live document puts it all in perspective. Deep Purple had a sound and energy that shook the earth. —Scott Kelly, founding member of Neurosis and combatmusicradio.com

CASH TRACKS

Given the tumultuous tides we modern-day “recordophiliacs” must swim through on the journey to the ever-coveted position of “making a living from all this nonsense”, it’s perhaps wise to step away from our ideal (being the next Eddie Kramer or Ken Scott) and construct a back-up plan that would still keep us behind the console, doing all those things that we, for reasons probably unbeknownst to ourselves, love to do. To exist in spite of the wonderful technological advancements of our field — which make being a monetarily successful studio cat as unlikely as being a monetarily successful studio rat . . . err musician — may appear to be increasingly difficult; the fact of the matter remains that, while “Johnny and the Johnsons” down the street may opt for recording on their lap-top instead of in your project studio so as to save more money for cheap booze and hard women, the area of “commercial” commercial recording is still wholly ours.

Perhaps Jeffrey Fisher is attempting to unearth our covenant; or maybe he’s trying to offer some practical advice as to how to keep us dinosaurs out of the proverbial tar pits. With Cash Tracks, Fisher offers a “how-to” guide that is, potentially, of great utility to any/all of us that wish to carve out our niche in the recording business without resorting to the company of A&R puppeteers and the fickleness of the popular music business — and he manages to do it in both a useful and entertaining manner; presenting the information in an easily digestible format and riddling the chapters with personal stories and anecdotes that effectively display exactly why you would benefit from employing Mr. Fisher as your tactical, and technical, consultant.

The ins and the outs of nearly all aspects of commercial recording are laid out for all to see, with particular emphasis being placed on composing soundtracks and jingles; but information regarding building and equipping your project studio is also offered — making this book an indispensable resource for anybody that wishes to participate in, or even just gain a basic understanding of, the business at hand.

Highly recommended.