PBS Series ‘Soundbreaking’ Traces Recording History

Nov 14, 2016

Credit soundbreaking.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  A new multi part documentary about the history of record making should be of interest to many in Music City. It’s called Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. And while viewers will recognize scores of iconic songs and artists in its eight hours, the focus is on the art and science of the studio that made those records possible.

Microphones beget new singing styles. Multi-track recording opens up infinite new sonic possibilities. Parts can be replaced, layered or fixed. Digital recording changes everything all over again.

The series trailer quotes some of the most recognizable stars of cutting edge rock and roll.

Ringo Starr: “The studio was a strange place, full of crazy scientists, electricians and madmen.”

Elton John: “The whole era of music at that time just exploded.”

Brian Eno: “It’s the birth of a new art form. They were starting to make music that couldn’t exist outside the recording studio.”

Episode One focuses on record producers, the masterminds who pull together artist, studio and song into coherent recordings. Featured are producers from across the genres, including Sam Phillips of SUN Records fame, hip-hop magnate Dr. Dre and Beatles producer George Martin, who had a role in producing the series before his death last March.

Upcoming episodes investigate the challenges of capturing vocals, the rise of electric guitars and synthesizers, the role of the music video, and the linked history of sampling and hip hop.

The film was produced and directed by Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmakers Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre. Nashville had a role to play as well; music supervisor Carter Little was the series executive music producer.

The series runs on consecutive nights at 9 pm, starting Monday night.