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#Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent Harmony Central Review

#Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent, interweaves a wild and entertaining adventure with his off-color social commentary on a dying industry in a rapidly changing world – a world in which the Internet fails to stave the economic divide, independent musicians have no shot at a living wage, all because Big Tech controls the commerce of music at all levels. Below is an excerpt of a review posted by Harmony Central.


00147344A decade ago, The Daily Adventures of Mixerman, a collected publication of message board posts from anonymous user “Mixerman,” skewered the music industry from behind the mixing console. Arrogant, questionably talented musicians, meddling and insane producers, and the moneymen of artist marketing populated Mixerman’s “identities changed to protect the guilty” true story about the sausage factory that churned out radio-ready “product” in the early-00s. It was instant hit in engineering and musician circles, and truly a product of its time, with big label hubris blinding the industry to the fact that they were already, much like Wile E. Coyote, treading air ten feet beyond the edge of the cliff, waiting for self-awareness to initiate the inevitable plunge into the canyon (cue slide whistle). Funny, ironic, and incredibly insightful, The Daily Adventures of Mixerman combined industry and engineering information in an easy-to-digest format for casual readers through a an involving story and solid narrative beats. Long-since outed as producer/engineer Eric Sarafin, Mixerman began publishing chapter-length blog posts on his site in 2015 that are now collected in the 304 page hardcover novel #Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent, published by Hal Leonard.

#Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent stars the same narrator/author as TDAoMM, but this time fully embraces fiction to tell the very real story of where music production was at in the year 2015. The story can be summarized as such: Mixerman agrees to mentor the son of an Indian billionaire in exchange for a fat paycheck and gets involved in a financially risky race to create a 5 million dollar hit… shenanigans ensue. The narrative and pace are solid and engaging, and like TDAoMM, the characters have voices and personalities that are quirky yet grounded in reality, but the narrator’s journey is really just (satisfying) trappings for a bigger story; the state of the music industry, technology, and even Western Culture.


To read the full review, click here.

Review: I Wanna Be a Producer

The newly released book, I Wanna Be a Producer, written by John Breglio has received a rave review from Center On The Aisle or COTA for short. COTA is all about providing current and future fans of the theater with accessible information about shows, be it on-Broadway, off-Broadway or out of town. Here is what COTA writer Adam Cohen had to say about the book.


IWannaBeCOVERSo, it’s the mid-1980s and you’re in the balcony of the Shubert Theatre taking in A Chorus Line with your mother, after waiting on the TKTS line in Duffy Square, wondering “how did they do that?” The lights, costumes, and performers in perfect synchronicity entertaining over a thousand people per performance eight times a week. Then the thought strikes, how do you become a producer and make tons of money (a rarity, sadly in theater), go to fabulous parties, and have opening night seats?  John Breglio answers much of this in his new book, I Wanna Be A Producer – How to Make a Killing On Broadway… Or Get Killed.

The book is a quasi-memoir of his years serving as an entertainment lawyer with clients like Michael Bennett (director, A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls) and Allan Carr (La Cage Aux Folles). Breglio sprinkles in real-life anecdotes, which detail the creation of these seminal Broadway productions, along with some not so distinctive ones, while also covering the details of how to become a producer. It is literally the book to get if you want to invest or create a first class production. Having served several decades as the lead partner at Paul | Weiss, Breglio clearly knows his stuff.  He details every aspect of creating a theatrical production from securing rights, royalties, agreements, sourcing investments, production staff, and even the opening night party.

This is a detailed, specific book that should be the handbook for anyone considering a production career in the theater. He nicely and satisfyingly opens the book with his own experience as a boy seeing Damn Yankees and transitions to the creation of La Cage Aux Folles. The balance between anecdotes serves as a means of providing real practical history to emphasize the importance of each step in becoming a producer.

It leavens the hard truths and multitude of steps necessary to protect each party involved in the creative process – especially the one funding it.


Read the full review HERE.

 

‘The Great British Recording Studio’ is featured on Sound on Sound!

In the March issue of Sound on Sound, a leading magazine on music recording technology, Hugh Robjohns reviews Howard Massey’s authoritative The Great British Recording Studios. Read a snippet of the review below, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section!


00333513Anyone with a keen interest in the hey-day of the British music recording industry, from, say, the late 1950s through to the mid 1970s will probably already be familiar with some of Howard Massey’s books, such as Behind The Glass volumes I and II, and Here, There, And Everywhere (a Geoff Emerick biography). Those worthy tomes focus on some of the people involved, but his latest offering, The Great British Recording Studios (Hal Leonard, ISBN 978-1458421975), focuses mainly on the places — it’s a fascinating and commendably detailed book, which provides a wonderful overview of the significant recording studios in London in the ’60s and ’70s, as well as a few noteworthy facilities elsewhere in the UK. Most of these facilities are now long-gone, of course, but Massey has tracked down (with the cooperation of the APRS) many of the managers, maintenance engineers, and recording engineers who built and worked in them, to get their first-hand histories, recollections, stories and trivia.

The introductory chapter discusses the nature of the ‘British sound’ and some of the possible reasons for the distinct character attributed to recordings made in the UK’s leading studios, in comparison with those of the USA. Not surprisingly, the first major studio to be examined in the book is EMI’s Abbey Road, with the text, illustrations and period photographs covering the basic layout and dimensions of the three studios, their acoustic environments and treatments, and the available facilities including echo chambers, mixing consoles, monitors, tape machines, microphones, outboard equipment, and so on. There are also sections on the key personnel involved, as well as a brief discography of some of the major recordings created at the studios, and any significant industry innovations — for this was a time of countless ground-breaking developments in the recording industry. For example, did you know the DI-box concept was invented at Abbey Road?

Star Trek: Into Darkness, a review

MarkClark in ColorGuest Blogger: Mark Clark is the author of Star Trek FAQ (available now) and Star Trek FAQ 2.0 (available June 2013).

Very soon, Applause Books will publish my latest work, Star Trek FAQ 2.0: Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, The Movies and Beyond (Unofficial and Unauthorized). This volume picks up where my previous book, Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise, left off, and continues the story of the franchise up to now. Or rather, up to last fall, when the manuscript was completed. The book concludes with the impending release of Star Trek into Darkness, about which little was known at the time. Since Star Trek FAQ 2.0 covers (among many other things) all the other films in the series, I felt compelled to share my thoughts about the latest Trek movie here. Consider this an addendum to the book proper. Feel free to print this out, fold it up and slip it into Star Trek FAQ 2.0 between Chapter 40 and the bibliography. No extra charge.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to dispense with any plot summary and assume anyone reading this article has already seen the film. (If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?) Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The bottom line is simply that if you liked producer-director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 re-boot, then you will adore Star Trek into Darkness. If you didn’t enjoy the previous film, then you probably won’t go for this one, either. All the flaws from Abrams’ first Trek outing return, but so do all the strengths – and the good stuff is much better this time around. Like the last one, Into Darkness is handsomely mounted, impeccably performed, thrilling and often hilarious. The story moves at warp speed and is overstuffed with dazzling action and visual effects sequences, including the most spectacular space battles and white-knuckle chase scenes of any Trek film. And once again, the film is strewn with inside jokes and references to classic Trek people, places and things, including a tribble in sick bay. But, as before, the frenetic pace disguises gaping holes in story logic and faulty science (for a hilarious rundown of these gaffes, visit http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844). For me, the only really bothersome lapse was that exploding 72 photon torpedoes inside a starship would not only vaporize the vessel and everyone onboard, but would also obliterate everything else in the vicinity and possibly rip a whole in space. But Abrams’ biggest mistake was casting Peter Weller as Admiral Marcus. While the actor’s work is fine, the presence of Weller – who hasn’t played a sympathetic character since the Robocop films, and already portrayed a two-faced Star Trek villain in a memorable Enterprise two-parter (“Demons”/“Terra Prime”)  – telegraphs the “twist” that Federation power brokers are up to no good. This plot point would have been far more effective with someone warm and likeable (for instance, avid Trekker Tom Hanks) cast against type as Marcus.

On balance, however, the film’s assets far outweigh its liabilities. If Abrams isn’t very good with precise, logical plots, he excels at understanding audience expectations and playing off them. Evoking The Wrath of Khan enables Abrams and screenwriters Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to toy with fans’ preconceived ideas; the film delivers everything viewers think they see coming, but never quite as anticipated. At times Into Darkness stands Wrath of Khan on its head, with suspenseful or amusing results. Among the most refreshing of these inversions is the sight of Spock, rather than Kirk, starring in a major action/chase sequence. Considering that Vulcans are supposed to be physically stronger and more agile than humans, this should have happened before. Abrams also has a gift for eliciting fine performances from his cast, and Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and Bruce Greenwood shine again as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Captain Pike. One of the major differences between this Trek and the original is that Abrams and company don’t even attempt to recreate the Kirk-Spock McCoy chemistry of the classic series. This is a Kirk-Spock bromance, with McCoy, Uhura and Scotty as supporting characters and Chekov and Sulu for window dressing. This is intended merely as an observation, not necessarily a criticism. It’s probably smart, since I don’t believe Pine, Quinto and Urban (or anybody else) could duplicate the rapport of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley. Similarly, while Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Khan Noonien Singh has garnered much well-deserved praise, his icy take on the character couldn’t be more different from Ricardo Montalban’s alluring, romantic performance.

In Star Trek FAQ 2.0, I wrote the following about the 2009 film: “Although fans may disagree with some of the choices made by Abrams and Orci and Kurtzman, the reality is that after Nemesis and Enterprise, the franchise had been written into a corner. Abrams and his compatriots simply did what was necessary to break out of that trap, while crafting a livelier, more sensational and more emotional Star Trek with wide appeal beyond the Trekker faithful. The film may or may not mark the passing of the previous, statelier version of the franchise, but its success has assured that Trek will continue, in some form or another, for years to come.” Star Trek into Darkness only confirms that verdict. Although its opening weekend box office fell slightly below expectations (due largely to competition from Iron Man 3 and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby), Into Darkness has all the markings of major hit, and figures to keep Star Trek in business for the foreseeable future.

At the conclusion of Into Darkness, Pine’s Kirk has finally begun to mature into something closer to Shatner’s version of the character, and the USS Enterprise is set to embark on its famous five-year mission. The galaxy is wide open. The most interesting question now becomes, where does the franchise go next? And who – with Abrams busy making a new Star Wars trilogy – will lead it? Look for musings on those topics in a future blog entry.

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Star Trek FAQ 2.0: Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, The Movies and Beyond (Unofficial and Unauthorized)

This book is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures, or the “Star Trek” franchise. In the 1980s and ’90s, Star Trek rose from the ash heap of network cancellation and soared to the peak of its popularity with a series of blockbuster feature films and the smash sequel series Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek FAQ 2.0 picks up where the original Star Trek FAQ left off, chronicling the historic comeback of the “failed” series and its emergence as a pop culture touchstone. The book provides accounts of the production of every Star Trek movie (including creator Gene Roddenberry’s struggle to retain control of the franchise) and every episode of The Next Generation (and the conflicts that roiled its writing staff). It also offers profiles of the actors, directors, writers, producers, and technicians whose excellence fueled the franchise’s success, and explores often overlooked aspects of the Star Trek phenomenon, including unofficial, fan-made productions. Star Trek FAQ 2.0represents the final frontier of Trek scholarship.