Dateline: December 11th 2009. Santa Cruz: After almost two years in production, the first sections from Alan Parsons’ highly anticipated living encyclopedia on sound recording are being made available for streaming and digital download.
During the week of Dec 18th more than two hours of material will be available on-line here at www.artandscienceofsound.com. The sections, all featuring narration by the inimitable Billy Bob Thorton, individually examine the topics of MIDI, EQ, Delays, Drums, Noise Gates and Recording a Choir. Details of each include:
Alan demonstrates exactly what MIDI is and explores its current uses and applications. Featured guests include Dave Smith, who developed MIDI in 1983, Madonna producer Patrick Leonard, and Simon Rhodes, senior classical recording engineer from Abbey Road Studios, fresh from his work on the Avatar movie soundtrack with James Horner.
This epic scene gets to the heart of what EQ is all about, from frequency response to the range of human hearing to every form of EQ process and device. Instrument by instrument, Alan looks at all the major sound types: what they need and some of the danger areas. Blackbird’s John McBride and Green Day producer Jack Joseph Puig provide invaluable observations on this key aspect of recording.
Tracing its development from tape echo in the 1950s, Parsons looks at modern delay devices, parameters, and applications. This scene features an extended free-form section where Alan uniquely twists, turns, and distorts delay effects on vocals.
In this scene, the Art and Science of Sound crew descends upon legendary British session drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Toto) in his Los Angeles studio. Simon reveals many of the secrets of his phenomenal sound, from tuning, to miking – choice and positioning – to recording and processing. Additional insights on phase are offered from Tool producer Sylvia Massey.
In this scene, Parsons finds Paul Buff, the man who invented the noise gate (and who happened to sell Frank Zappa his first studio), and moves on from there. A complete set of practical demonstrations of ways you can use a noise gate in the studio concludes the scene.
Recording a Choir
While almost every school, college, and church has wanted to record a choir at some stage, and most likely already have the equipment – most need the knowhow. In this scene, Parsons shows up for class one morning at a California High School and teaches them the art and science of recording a jazz choir. The result is pure magic.
As in the entire collection of The Art and Science Of Sound Recording, the initial scenes, presented and produced by Alan, offer you his exclusive insider access to legendary musicians, producers and engineers and to their award-winning recording techniques. This collection offers something for everyone interested in recording their own music, from novice to professional engineers. Supported by extensive musical examples, custom diagrams, and interview clips, The Art & Science of Sound Recording takes a classic approach to recording and listening – followed by informed experimentation – and shows how this approach can live in the modern DAW-based environment. These are scenes that you can watch over and over again, and still enjoy nuances.
The second set of scenes will be available for download in January 2010, and the final scenes a month after that, just ahead of the release of the complete DVD boxed set.
We are tremendously excited at this initial release and feel this will become a landmark work on music production that will be essential viewing and listening for many years to come. Much like Alan’s own music and productions!
The Alan Parsons’ ASSR Team