Pop Music - Technology and Creativity: Trevor Horn and the Digital Revolution (Paperback) book cover

Pop Music - Technology and Creativity

Trevor Horn and the Digital Revolution

By Timothy Warner

© 2003 – Routledge

186 pages

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Paperback: 9780754631323
pub: 2003-06-11

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About the Book

This highly original and accessible book draws on the author’s personal experience as a musician, producer and teacher of popular music to discuss the ways in which audio technology and musical creativity in pop music are inextricably bound together. This relationship, the book argues, is exemplified by the work of Trevor Horn, who is widely acknowledged as the most important, innovative and successful British pop record producer of the early 1980s. In the first part of the book, Timothy Warner presents a definition of pop as distinct from rock music, and goes on to consider the ways technological developments, such as the transition from analogue to digital, transform working practices and, as a result, impact on the creative process of producing pop. Part two analyses seven influential recordings produced by Trevor Horn between 1979 and 1985: 'Video Killed the Radio Star' (The Buggles), 'Buffalo Gals' (Malcolm McClaren),'Owner of a Lonely Heart' (Yes), 'Relax' (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), 'Slave to the Rhythm' (Grace Jones), and albums by The Art of Noise and Propaganda. These records reveal how the creative use of technology in the modern pop recording studio has informed Horn’s work, a theme that is then explored in an extensive interview with Horn himself.


'Highly recommended.' Choice 'The book contains many insights concerning the work of Horn… a transcription of Warner's interview with Horn, opens up a lot of information on the creative processes of Trevor Horn in the studio.' Organised Sound

Table of Contents

Contents: General editor's preface; Introduction; Pop music: Characteristics of pop music: Pop and rock; Pop as a format: the single; Short and sweet; The art of the familiar; Simplicity and repetition; Round and round, like a record; Machine aesthetics; Pop and television; Pop and commerce; Pop and fashion; Let's dance; Image; Mixed media; The production of pop music: An aural art; The recording studio as resource; From analogue to digital; Using technology; Multitrack recording; Signal processing; MIDI sequencing; Sound synthesis and sampling; Recording the voice; The fade-out; The record producer; Technology and creativity: 'Video killed the radio star' by The Buggles: The ghost in the machine; Music; Lyrics; Production and arrangement; Disco killed the radio star; 'Buffalo Gals' by Malcolm McLaren: A charismatic manager; From manager to artist; Applied cultural theory; The anthropological connection; Stylistic collage; 'Buffalo Gals'; Structure; Timbre; Half-heard words; 'Owner of a lonely heart' by Yes: Yes: from prog. rock to chart pop; 90125; A new image; Live/recorded; Chart pop music; 'Owner of a lonely heart'; Form: repetition and suspension; Timbre and gesture; The artificial guitar; The multitracked vocal; Machine drums; 'Relax' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Zang Tuum Tumb; Another band from Liverpool; The image; Too much, too young?; The making of 'Relax'; 'Remix, re use it'; Banned; The sound of 'Relax'; A novel approach to musical form; What's the hook?; Repetition in 'Relax'; Who's afraid of the art of noise?: What's in a name?; Who's afraid of the art of noise?; Cover imagery; Sampling; Recording records; Listening to samples; Sampling and the art of noise; Studio made; Timbre; Space; 'Jewel', 'Duel' and 'Jewelled' by Propaganda: Recordings revisited; Propaganda; A Secret Wish: pretentious packaging; From engineer to producer; The music of A Secret Wish; 'Jewel'/'Duel'/'Jewelled'; 'Jewel'/'Duel'/'Jewelled' - the structure; 'Jewel'/'Duel'/'Jewelled' - the sound; Technology and propaganda; Slave to the Rhythm by Grace Jones: Slave to the fashion; Slave to the image; Slave to the cliché; Slave to the Rhythm; 'Re-written by machine'; Concerto for Synclavier; Slave to the sampler; Space; Spatial orchestration; Words; Slave to the remix; Conclusion; Appendix 1. Interview with Trevor Horn; Appendix 2. Trevor Horn discography; Discography; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General