Contest info is below, but first, a little background…
We recently published a great book called Understanding Records: A Field Guide to Recording Practice.
Understanding Records explains the musical language of Recording Practice in a way that any interested reader can understand. Drawing on readily available hit records produced since 1945, each section of this book explains a handful of core production and engineering techniques in chronological record-making sequence, elucidating how those techniques work, what they sound like, how they function musically, where listeners can hear those techniques at work in the broader Top 40 soundscape, and where they fit in the broader record-making process at large.
Author Jay Hodgson currently teaches popular music practice and history, and the ‘project’ paradigm of production and engineering, at the University of Western Ontario, as part of North America’s first (and only) Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music Studies and Master of Arts in Popular Music & Culture programs.
Understanding Records is required reading for anyone who wants to make sense of what they’re putting on tape, and for anyone who wants their recorded output match the songs they hear in their heads. It’s great for people experimenting at home, but it’s essential for anyone thinking about paying for studio time. When you’re on the clock, you want to know what you’re asking from the engineers…and they will be grateful that you’ve done your homework. It is really a great resource and an education.
Once upon a time, when I had more space and time, I dabbled in home recording, and over the last few years I’ve been going back and revisiting some of my old tapes and digitizing them so I can rock out on my ipod. Though I don’t have a chance to play and record as much as I would like, I still keep my TapeOp subscription current (you should, too, it’s free), and I also tend to gravitate toward the 33 1/3s that get technical about the studio work (Murmur, Big Star). I imagine there are lots of you out there who play instruments and do the same, especially now that amateur recording is so much more accessible with garageband and other software loaded on computers right out of the box. So with that in mind, I would like to propose a little contest…
- Send me one song at [I took my email out of here since the submission period has expired-JMB], that you yourself have recorded at home (using a 4 track, ProTools, reel to reel, wax cylinder, whatever).
- Include your name and mailing address with the submission.
- The track should be recorded as a mp3, and of a reasonably emailable file size.
- No limits on musical genre, all are welcome.
- We will choose ten tracks and put those up on the website for people to download and listen to. We will be judging the songs, not the recording quality, so don’t be shy about that.
- The lucky ten will receive a copy of Understanding Records and one 33 1/3 of their choosing in the mail.
- Deadline is October 15th. Spread the word!
PS: Here are a couple of my own tracks of dubious fidelity from back in the day to get things started.