Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

The Art Of Record Production Conference, London

17th September 2005 @ 1:00 am - 18th September 2005 @ 6:00 pm

Venue: The Chiltern Suite

Keynote – Robin Millar 

Confirmed speakers include Muff Winwood, Joe Mardin, Prof. Simon Frith, Fran Nevrkla, Mike Howlett, Ted Fletcher and world experts from Australia, Europe, India, Canada and the U.S. 

The Art of Record Production Conference (ARP), provides an unparalleled opportunity to hear from leading practitioners, researchers, academics, developers and manufacturers in the recording & audio industries.

Comprising a mixture of keynote speeches, industry panels and the presentation of some 32 key discussion and research papers, this inaugural two-day event affords a rare opportunity to hear from some of the industry’s sharpest and most innovative players, incl. Muff Winwood, Evan Eisenberg, and Ted Fletcher.

With a truly international perspective, the Conference seeks to encourage and build on the natural synergy between professional practitioners and researchers to study the theory and practice of record production with reference to creative, technical and business interests.

Industry support comes from Music Producers Guild, the APRS, the Music Managers Forum, Apple, HHB, SPL, Apogee and Sonic Distribution, Waves and SE. The full 2-day programme will be complemented by an exclusive event in London’s Apple Store, Regent Street, W1.

MusicTank, CHARM (Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), University of Westminster and Thames Valley University have joined forces to host the world’s first conference on record production.

The Art of Record Production will pool the worldwide production knowledge of both academics and professionals in order to map out where production has been and where it is going. This inaugural event will provide a long overdue opportunity to analyse record production in its own right, not as a sub-section of sound engineering, music technology or the wider pop music machine.

A unique chance over two days to hear from the leading researchers, academics, developers, manufacturers and, of course, front-line producers who are researching and re-purposing how music in all genres has been and will be recorded and valued. The Keynote address will be given by Robin Millar, Music Producers’ Guild (MPG) Patron and one of the UK’s most successful record producers, helming worldwide hits for Sade and Everything But The Girl, now owner of Whitfield St. Studios. Among those joining Robin from the popular music spectrum will be Fran Nevrkla, Chairman and CEO PPL/VPL, Mike Howlett, MPG chairman and 80s hit-maker for the likes of Gang of Four, and Ted Fletcher, accomplished protégé of Joe Meek.

Three streams will bring together producers and engineers working in academia alongside sociological observer Prof. Simon Frith, chair of the Mercury Music Prize panel, Allan Moore, author of ‘Rock: the primary text” and Evan Eisenberg, journalist and author of the industry bible ‘The Recording Angel’.

Classical music representatives will include Michael Haas, several time Grammy Award-winning producer; Prof. Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music and leading period clarinettist; Donald Greig, specialist early music vocalist; and Timothy Day, Curator of Classical Music Recordings, British Library Sound Archive.

The conference will conclude on Sunday with a panel discussion chaired by former MPG chairman and Brit Awards judge Andy East with Muff Winwood, legendary artist, producer and A&R man turned Sony Music supremo; Tom Frederickse, producer working with Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson and James Brown; and Pip Williams, leading producer/arranger from early Status Quo to present-day multi-platinums.

They will join world experts hailing from diverse production backgrounds in India, Australia, Europe, Canada and the U.S., providing a comprehensive multi-cultural insight into the differing approaches and techniques collectively known as record production.


Three discussion streams will run simultaneously, each consisting of four sessions per day. Each session will feature the presentation of several papers on one of the conference’s key themes with a chance for audience response.

There will also be four panel discussions over the weekend. Three on Saturday and one to round off Sunday. See below for subjects.

The four sessions on each day will be followed by a special event bringing together all three streams. On Saturday this will be The Music Producer’s Guild Presentation at The Apple Store Theatre, featuring special guest producers and complimentary refreshments. On Sunday the panel discussion will bring the conference to a close.

Discussion Streams The streams will be loosely focussed on:

  • 1) The pop music industry;
  • 2) Academia with a pop music leaning;
  • 3) Academia and classical music.

Nevertheless delegates will be encouraged to cross between streams depending on their personal and professional interests.

Panel Discussions

Saturday morning: The Study of Record Production

This panel, chaired by Mike Howlett will discuss the ways that academic study addresses record production. It will explore the question of whether it’s possible to teach record production and how that relates to and is influenced by the ways that Popular Music Studies has examined the production process and the produced product.

The panel will be comprised of academics involved with both the technicalities of the recording process and the cultural meaning that record production brings to music.

Saturday afternoon: At the Coalface

“Working at the coalface” examines current trends and practices of producers within the U.K. industry. Chaired by Andrew East (former Chair of The Music Producers Guild U.K. Ltd), the panel comprised of leading industry practitioners will reflect on key issues in the workplace.

Royalties, contracts, management and career path will be examined, with a question and answer opportunity concluding the session.

Saturday afternoon: Towards a Musicology of Production

As academic study increasingly focuses on music as a performing art, so recordings are increasingly understood as vital historical documents. But they are not the snapshots of past performance as which they are often treated. With the development of tape, multitracking, and hard disc recording, the role of the producer became increasingly more important in determining the nature of the final product, seen less as the reproduction of a real performance than as the construction of a virtual one: recording has became an art form increasingly distinct from live performance. To date, however, academia has not given serious attention to this development.

The aim of this panel, promoted by CHARM, is to focus on the producer as a key creative figure in musical culture, classical as well as pop, and to consider the art of production in analytical, critical, and historical terms.

Sunday afternoon: The Process of Production

“The Process Of Production” features three hugely successful Producers from different genres. Grammy Winner Pip Williams has produced over 170 recordings covering a wide variety of different genres. Many of these have been huge international successes with artists including Status Quo and The Moody Blues.

Muff Winwood started his career in the 1960’s as the bassist with The Spencer Davis Group, before becoming a Producer for Island Records and an executive at Sony Music.

UK-based American-born Tom Frederickse has been a record producer since the birth of DJ culture in 1988. He has worked on over 100 UK Top 40 records for such varied artists as Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson and James Brown

Chaired by Andrew East former Chair of The Music Producers Guild U.K. Ltd, the panel will reflect on a number of key production issues, with a question and answer opportunity concluding the session.

SPEAKERS Muff Winwood, Evan Eisenberg, Pip Williams, Mike Howlett, Ted Fletcher, Tom Frederikse, Prof. Francis Rumsey, Dave Laing, Prof. Simon Frith, Michael Haas, Prof. Allan Moore (Surrey University), Prof. Albin Zak (Albany University, NY), Prof. Andrew Blake (King Alfred’s College, Winchester), Paschall de Paor (Glamorgan University), Serge Lacasse ( Universitee Laval), Timothy Day (British Library Sound Archive), Prof. Colin Lawson (Royal College of Music), Paul Theberge (Carleton University, Ottowa).


1. Towards a musicology of production

An attempt to analyse how the role of the producer has grown and developed in artistic terms from simply recording a live performance to taking a key creative role in re-structuring and re-constructing that performance. Further discussion will focus on how this role should be appreciated in the wider history of recorded music.

2. Transparency and Distortion 

What do we mean by recording quality? Is clarity more important than realism and if so how and why do we deploy technology to ‘clean-up’ recordings?

3. Recording and Authenticity

Does production trickery negate the authenticity of a recording and do different cultures place different value on this?

4. Production Techniques and Technology

What have been the milestone changes in production techniques and technology across the world, how have they altered the cultural concept of music and how and why have they been proliferated.

5. Recording Practice

How have recording sessions developed and influenced the distinctive sounds of varying musical genres or are recording techniques more a by-product of wider cultural issues?

6. What is the Product? What is the Art Object?

How should attitudes differ to the written, performed and recorded versions of a piece of music and how is this affected by the rise of remix culture? Has the recording process encouraged us to view particular pieces of music as definitive?

7. Production and Perception

How do psychological theories relate to the way producers shape recordings – do they consciously try to match our preconceived notions of ‘good music’?


Mike Alleyne (Middle Tennessee State University): 
Fade to Black: Record Production & Cultural Authenticity
· How production decisions and concepts have shaped the creative legacies of key black musical genres and the icons who define them including Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Seal.

Jan Butler (Nottingham): 

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the musicology of record production

· How the production race of the early 1960s led Brian Wilson to search for new sounds thereby defining the notion of producer as creative genius.

Anne Danielsen (Oslo): 

Technological Mediation and the Musicalization of Reality on Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet

· How Public Enemy used production technology to reinforce the political message of their lyrics.

Nicola Dibben (Sheffield):

Producing the sound of emotional intimacy

· How production and mix techniques have been used to create emotional intimacy on Björk’s recent albums.

Dietmar Elflein (Producer & Studio Owner, Berlin):

Preset Authenticity

· How the availability of inexpensive synthesised sounds impacts on the use of ‘real’ instruments and what this might mean for the perceived authenticity of a recording.

Mark Gillespie (Laval University, Quebec):

“What’ch you know about Darkchild?”

. Understanding production-signatures through the eyes of competitors · How the recent proliferation of celebrity producers (including Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins) with a clear vocal presence on their own recordings alters our concept of the producer as artist.

Saurabh Goswami and Dr. Selina Thielemann (Vraja Institute, India):

Documentation, preservation, promulgation: goals in recording the traditional musical heritage of Vraja, Northern India

· How to approach recording archiving and preserving the musical heritage of an entire culture without contaminating its very essence.

Shara Rambarran (Salford University):

99 Problems but Danger Mouse Ain’t One – An insight into the conflicting issues surrounding ‘The Grey Album’

· How does remixing effect our impressions of authorship and art particularly when it consists entirely of re-jigging two existing recordings (Danger Mouse’s ‘The Grey Album’ illegally mixed The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ into Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’)

Tim Warner (Salford University):

The Song of the Hydra: multiple lead vocals in modern pop music recordings

· How do multi-tracked vocals effect how ‘real’ or authentic we think a record is?

Paula Wolfe (Sib Records):

A Studio of one’s own

· From Carole King to Joni Mitchell to Kate Bush: How have women defined themselves in the industry via self-production?

Jenny Woodruff (Duke University):

Have you heard, have you heard?: Sound, Sexuality and Missy Elliott’s Public Body

· How Missy Elliott and Timbaland use an unprecedented up-front style of production to create and maintain the artist’s sexual image.

Simon Zagorski-Thomas (LCMM):

The US vs. the UK sound: Meaning in music production in the 1970s

· How and why did UK/US produced records sound so different in the 70s, even when they belonged to the same genre e.g. Hot Chocolate vs. Kool & The Gang?

George Brock-Nannestad (Patent Tactics, Denmark):

How Did They Do It? Coaxing, Coaching, and Hoaxing To Record a Performance In the Acoustic Period

· How the first recordings were committed to disc and wax cylinder between 1885 and 1925.

Timothy Day (Curator of Classical Music Recordings, British Library Sound Archive):

Microphones in choirs and places where they sing

· When recording choirs in large cathedrals what parts of the recording should be emphasised and who decides, Choir Director or recording producer? Should we emphasise space, an individual’s position, clarity of recording? Should we allow listeners to eavesdrop or be immersed in the ritual?

Nicola Dibben (Sheffield):

· Producing the sound of emotional intimacy How production and mix techniques have been used to create emotional intimacy on Björk’s recent albums.

Dietmar Elflein (Producer & Studio Owner, Berlin):

Preset Authenticity

· How the availability of inexpensive synthesised sounds impacts on the use of ?real’ instruments and what this might mean for the perceived authenticity of a recording.

Saurabh Goswami and Dr. Selina Thielemann (Vraja Institute, India):

Documentation, preservation, promulgation: goals in recording the traditional musical heritage of Vraja, Northern India 

· How to approach recording, archiving and preserving the musical heritage of an entire culture without contaminating its very essence.

Michael Haas (Independent producer):

The recording producer as musicological filter

· How aware is today’s classical producer of how his recordings fit into the overall classical canon and how much does this impact on collaboration between producer and composer?

Serge Lacasse (Laval University, Quebec):

Persona, emotions and technology: the phonographic staging of the popular music voice

Colin Lawson (Director of the Royal College of Music):

The most original Beethoven yet recorded’: fantasies, realities and the microphone 

· How present attitudes to historical Beethoven recordings differ from those at the time of release and why microphones were used to emphasise different elements on different recordings.

Nicholas Magriel (SOAS):

The influence of 78rpm Records and LPs on the Form, Aesthetics and Ethos of North Indian Classical Music

· How has the process of recording changed the musical content and structure of North Indian Classical Music?

David Patmore (Sheffield & CHARM):

John Culshaw and the recording as art work

· How John Culshaw, famous for his recordings of Wagner’s music dramas, defined classical production as an important artistic process, comparable to the creation of a film.

Tim Warner (Salford University):

The Song of the Hydra: multiple lead vocals in modern pop music recordings 

· How do multi-tracked vocals effect how ?real’ or authentic we think a record is?

Albin Zak (State University of New York):

Low fidelity: sound consciousness and 1950s Rock and Roll 

· How limited technologies and a quest for novelty established a rough ?n’ ready production style in 1950s rock ?n’ roll and how this forever altered public expectations of recorded sound.


The Art of record production conference is jointly produced by MusicTank and University of WestminsterThames Valley University and CHARM (Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music).

The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) was established on 1 April 2004, supported by a 5-year grant of just under £1m from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. A partnership of Royal Holloway, University of London (lead institution) with King’s College London and the University of Sheffield, CHARM’s aim is to promote the study of music as performance through a focus on recordings. Its activities include a major discographic project, seminars, and research projects.