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Once the domain of a privileged few, the art of record production is today within the reach of all. The rise of the ubiquitous DIY
project studio and internet streaming have made it so. And while the creative possibilities available to everyday musicians
are seemingly endless, so too are the multiskilling and project management challenges to be faced. In order to demystify the
contemporary popular-music-making phenomenon, Marshall Heiser reassesses its myriad processes and wider sociocultural
context through the lens of creativity studies, play theory and cultural psychology.
This innovative new framework is grounded in a diverse array of creative-practice examples spanning the CBGBs music scene to
the influence of technology upon modern-day music. First-hand interviews with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Bill Bruford (King
Crimson, Yes) and others whose work has influenced the way records are made today are also included. Popular Music, Power
and Play is as thought provoking as it will be indispensable for scholars, practitioners and aficionados of popular music and the
arts in general.
“By assigning an individual fader to numerous theories on creativity, then incorporating case studies and reflections from several working musicians as filters and processors, Heiser has crafted the equivalent of a classic pop album; balancing compositional elements that proudly bear their influences coupled with new ideas and insights that spark the mind. Popular Music, Power and Play holds up to repeated listens and is a welcome addition to both popular music studies and creativity research literature.” Alan Williams, Professor of Music, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA
Marshall Heiser is an Australian academic, classically-trained instrumentalist, producer and music-technology developer.
His previous publications explore such varied topics as sound in cinema; the interrelatedness of humor, play and creativity
theory; the music of Brian Wilson, and the phenomenology of record production.
Table of Contents
1. The Frame
2. Power, Play and Creativity
3. Pushing Humpty
Case Study: Remain In Light
6. Beyond the Frame
Case Study: The Struggle Behind the SMiLE
Appendix: Interview with Bill Bruford
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