1st Edition

The Creative Electronic Music Producer

By Thomas Brett Copyright 2021
    164 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    164 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    The Creative Electronic Music Producer examines the creative processes of electronic music production, from idea discovery and perception to the power of improvising, editing, effects processing, and sound design.

    Featuring case studies from across the globe on musical systems and workflows used in the production process, this book highlights how to pursue creative breakthroughs through exploration, trial and error tinkering, recombination, and transformation.

    The Creative Electronic Music Producer maps production's enchanting pathways in a way that will fascinate and inspire students of electronic music production, professionals already working in the industry, and hobbyists.

    About the Author

    List of Figures


    Introduction: Electronic music production as infinite game

    Chapter 1. Electronic music production, the producer, and the enchanted DAW

    Chapter 2. Musical systems and production workflows

    Chapter 3. The Faintest Traces: beginnings, approaches, improvising, and being lost

    Chapter 4. Subliminal Feeling: presets and sound design

    Interlude: YouTube electronic music production tutorials

    Chapter 5. Timekeeping Ways: rhythm programming

    Chapter 6. Folding Back In: production disruptions

    Chapter 7. Levels of Detail: editing

    Chapter 8. Conjuring: arranging and mixing

    Conclusion: The push forward


    Suggested Listening



    Thomas Brett is an electronic music producer, with a PhD in ethnomusicology from New York University. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the journals Popular Music and Popular Music and Society, as well as edited collections by Routledge, and Oxford, and Cambridge University presses. He has released numerous electronic music recordings and his compositions for marimba and vibraphone have been performed internationally by soloists and university ensembles. Thomas has played percussion on Broadway since 1997 and writes about music at brettworks.com.

    A master class in understanding the use of production technology as an arena of musical practice.

    In this fascinating and highly accessible account, Thomas Brett proves his skills not just as a music maker, but also as a critical thinker on the subject of music production as a cultural space. He experiments and samples widely. He blends. He makes forays into different disciplines his own, creating an ongoing series of metaphors that repeatedly deliver insights into music production as a field. More than simply offering a masterful introduction to production technology, Brett teaches us to consider its sociological context and cultural resonances. His notion of the producer-fan helps us rethink the out-dated dichotomy that artificially separates fans from music makers, when we know those roles can and do overlap.

    You could not ask for a better guide on your quest to fully understand the craft.

    Mark Duffett, Reader – Music, Media and Performance, University of Chester

    A deep philosophical analysis of the various creative inspirations, ideas and processes involved in producing electronic music (...) Brett’s book has given me lots to think about in terms of my intellectual approach, my inspirations, and my processes. The many fascinating insights into the methodologies of the greats of electronic music production have made The Creative Electronic Music Producer an inspirational and motivating read.

    Hugh Robjohns, Sound on Sound