‘Popular Music, Power and Play’ by Marshall Heiser – available now.

Available NOW from Bloomsbury Academic and all good booksellers.

Table of Contents

1. The Frame
2. Power, Play and Creativity
3. Pushing Humpty
4. Playframing
5. Negotiations
Case Study: Remain In Light
6. Beyond the Frame
Case Study: The Struggle Behind the SMiLE
Last Thoughts
Appendix: Interview with Bill Bruford

Click image below to read sample chapter (or go to: https://bloomsburycp3.codemantra.com/viewer/61977c6a5f150300016f108f )

Interview with Bill Bruford

An interview I conducted with drummer, bandleader and author Bill Bruford has today been published as a feature by the online Journal on the Art of Record Production (JARP) (you can read in for free at the site). As well as having been a key member of the bands King Crimson, Yes and UK, and a bandleader with Bruford (featuring Alan Holdsworth) and Earthworks, Dr. Bruford has also played with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez, Patrick Moraz [Moraz Bruford], Genesis and Gong. His latest scholarly title is Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer (2018). His autobiography Bill Bruford – The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More is also available and highly recommended for both fans and anyone interested learning about the ins and outs of life as a professional musician, co-creator and recording artist. Enjoy.

SMiLE: Brian Wilson’s Musical Mosaic


smileHeiser, M. (2012). Smile: Brian Wilson’s musical mosaic. In Journal on the art of record production, (7).


The story of Brian Wilson’s aborted Beach Boy’s album SMiLE is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly, it pioneered a non-linear approach to pop record production decades before digital editing became the norm for record makers. Interestingly, this approach was not just a functional necessity of production, but was inseparable from its compositional process and overall aesthetic quality. Perhaps more importantly, SMiLE arguably became popular music’s first interactive work, with fans making their own linear assemblies of various bootlegged (and released) ‘modules’ long before Wilson ever got around to sequencing them into a final concrete form.
And there’s much more about the SMiLE saga featured in my new book:

The Soundtrack as Appropriate Incongruity


The Soundtrack as Appropriate Incongruity by Marshall Heiser is a chapter of the Equinox publication “Sounding Funny: Sound and Comedy Cinema” (edited by Mark Evans and Philip Hayward, ISBN-13: 9781781790991).

Publisher: Equinox Publishing, Sheffield, England.


The idea that instances of humour depend upon the perception of an incongruity is by no means a new idea (Morreall, 1989). Incongruity theories form a major strand of humour studies and have in common a (primarily) cognitive approach to the phenomenon. Oring’s appropriate incongruity theory states that humour depends on relationships that are paradoxically right and yet not-right (2003). This collision of seemingly ‘incompatible matrices’ (Koestler, 1964) need not be limited to one sensory mode however. As an audio-visual medium, cinema has the potential to articulate humour by playfully synchronising sight and sound in an appropriately incongruous fashion. In these cases, the humour may arise as an emergent property of the synthesis, rather than belonging to either of the texts independently. Instances from comedy cinema of the post-War period are examined to demonstrate a variety of ways this humorous synthesis can occur.

References: Oring, E. (2003), ‘Engaging Humor,’ Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Morreall, J. (1989), ‘Enjoying Incongruity’, Humor, 2(1), pp. 1-18. Koestler, A. (1964), ‘The Act of Creation,’ New York: Macmillan.

Also available now: