Cover image for Sonic alchemy : visionary music producers and their maverick recordings
Sonic alchemy : visionary music producers and their maverick recordings
Howard, David N., 1969-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Milwaukee, WI : Hal Leonard Corp., [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 305 pages : illustrations; 23 cm
General Note:
Author statement from cover.
The pioneers : Phil Spector and George Martin -- The California sunshine sound : Brian Wilson, Gary Usher, Terry Melcher and Curt Boettcher -- The mavericks : David Axelrod and Shel Talmy -- The chemistry behind the board : Jimmy Miller and Glyn Johns -- Sky's the limit : R&B goes funky : Willie Mitchell -- And Norman Whitfield -- The minimalists : John Cale and Brian Eno -- The Third World's revenge : King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry and the rise of dub -- The quiet chameleon : Chris Thomas -- The order of disorder : Martin Hannett, Flood and Steve Albini -- The beat scientists : Arthur Baker, the Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML406 .H69 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



(Book). You may not have heard of them, but you have certainly heard their songs! From the lo-fidelity origins of early pioneers to today's dazzling technocrats, the role of the music producer is as murkily undefined as it is wholly essential. Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings is an exploration of the influence of the often colorful, idiosyncratic and visionary music producers through popular music and the fascinatingly crucial role they have played in shaping the way we hear pop music today. Sonic Alchemy is nothing short of the secret history of the music producer.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved