The Journal on the Art of Record Production (JARP) is an international double-blind peer reviewed open access online journal promoting the interdisciplinary study of record and music production. The term ‘record production’ is to be interpreted in the broadest sense as the production of recorded music. JARP was founded in 2006 by Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Katia Isakoff. The guest editor for the first issue was Simon Frith, and for the second, Albin Zak; both continue to contribute and guide as founding members of our advisory committee alongside many esteemed scholars from the ARP community.  JARP has  published eleven electronic issues and co-edited a book of 20 articles for issue 12.

The journal publishes double-blind peer reviewed research papers with contributions from world-renowned industry professionals. 

Editors-in-Chief: Katia Isakoff and Richard James Burgess

Guest Editors: see individual journal issues

Managing Editors: Shara Rambarran and Brandon Vaccaro



Issue 12

Proceedings of the 12th Art of Record Production Conference Mono: Stereo: Multi
Editors: Jan-Olof Gullö, Shara Rambarran and Katia Isakoff

Conference Papers

Sam Phillips’ Slap Back Echo; Luckily in Mono

Abstract ‘Slap back echo’ was created by Sam Phillips for Elvis Presley’s Sun recordings and later simulated by RCA. Using cepstrum and autocorrelation, we find that the tape delay used in Sun Studios was 134 – 137 ms, which is so long that the echo is perceived mainly as a distinct echo in the time […]

The creation (and re-creation) of virtual spatiality: Surround sound mixing in King Crimson’s back catalog box sets

Abstract The article analyzes surround mixing of King Crimson’s analog recordings. “Lizard,” “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part 1),” “The Night Watch,” “Trio,” and “One Time” are analyzed using the theoretical perspectives of the music recording as representation and spatial design. There is a difference between live and studio recordings in surround: live recordings tend to […]

Listening to virtual space in recorded popular music

Abstract Research on virtual recorded space manifests a division between production and reception based approaches. I address a number of issues which complicate discourse across perspectives and outline why a convergence may be beneficial to research in various disciplines. I consolidate previous models of listening, including Moore (2012) and Zagorski-Thomas (2014), and argue that the […]

A ‘Service’ Model of Creativity in Commercial Pop Music at P&E Studios in the 1990s

Abstract Producers in pop and dance music genres have a significantly different role to music producers in other music genres such as rock (Frith in Frith & Zagorski-Thomas: 2012). A prominent difference is that pop music producers are often part of a production team that involves direct collaboration and participation with songwriters, programmers, musicians, artists, […]

Creating an Immersive Fold-Out – Look Ahead

Abstract A comprehensive autoenthnographic case study, detailing the practice, engineering science and research used to create a stereo to 5.1-fold-out of the Canadian piano and bass jazz duo recording, Look Ahead. This paper asserts that a stereo to 5.1-fold-out, rather than fold-down is a preferable method be- cause it affords each version a creatively distinct […]

Bass | The Wider Frontier: Low-end Stereo Placement for Headphone Listening

Abstract The placement of low-end spectra in popular mixes has ranged from dogmatic centrality to extreme staging, but current developments in production workflows, stylistic evolution and increasingly personalised modes of consumption have resulted in alternative—if less polarised—approaches to low- end production. The authors question how contemporary practitioners ‘sculpt’ bass in their mixes, the strategies that […]

“It’s kind of in the middle”: The ‘Mid-Fi’ Aesthetic: Toward a New Designation of Black Metal Aesthetic of Recording. The Case of the Quebec Black Metal Scene

Abstract The designation of the black metal sound as “lo-fi” by academics is problematic, since it doesn’t reflect the contemporary black metal production. Field- work in the Québec scene show that the members designate their sound as being “in the middle” – or mid-fi as I advocate it. In this paper, I first define “hi-fi”, […]

The Tactile Evolution — Electronic Music Production and Affordances of iOS Apps

Abstract In this paper, grounded in my music production practice, I investigate the various affordances of iOS apps in the field of electronic music production. Drawing on affordance theory and notions of portability and performativity, I consider how contemporary technologies have generated renewed approaches to electronic music production and performance. My analysis shows that portable, […]

Multi-Channel Sound Design: Instruments for 360-Degree Composition

Abstract The continuing development and industry uptake of multi-channel audio is creating new potential for sound designers. This paper presents research that provides a new approach to designing sound for spatial audio applications, by investigating the potential of combining sound creation and spatialisation through performance. The research uses a practice-based approach, involving the design, development […]

The incursion of stereo into Spanish popular music: the English influence in the definition of a local sound through the professional exchanges between Madrid, Barcelona and London

Abstract n Spain, the role of the engineer and the music producer emerges at the be- ginning of the 60s from the “imitation” of the Anglo-Saxon model. The English professional experience of producers and engineers such as Alain Milhaud and Pepe Loeches, helps to import some of the technical methodologies used in English recording studios […]

The Uncertain Future of the Large-Format Recording Studio

Abstract This paper investigates new spatial relationships in music production triggered by the proliferation of low-cost digital music production tools and how they have changed factors of time and creativity for the record producer. We address the problem through a focused set of production projects and the peer review of those projects by seven well […]

Enhancing creativity through automatic mixing research: testing spectral clarity predictors in the mix process

Abstract As established in a prior research study, spectral clarity is an important parameter of high-quality mixes. Two predictors for this are the harmonic centroid (a weighted centre mass of energy of a sound spectrum) and spectral in-consistencies related to sharp peaks roughly in the middle of the frequency spectrum (Hermes et al., 2017). The […]

The sampling aesthetic of Bon Iver’s “33 ‘God’”

Abstract This paper explores the various types of sampling and digital manipulation used within “33 ‘God,’” the fourth track on 22, A Million. Within this track, Vernon utilizes unique modes of musical and vocal expression, featuring samples as symbols of otherness — other times, other places, other emotions — presented through the timbre of others’ […]

Transnational Flow in Cloud-based Music Production: Organisational Communication and Collaboration Between Australia and America

Abstract In this paper, we take three researchers from different parts of the globe and experiment with long-distance songwriting through a sociological and organizational lens. During this process, we combine production expertise and facilities into a networked recording studio environment with expanded toolsets centred on songwriting production. We investigate a new flow concept that we […]

Life In Between Phase: Understanding and Manipulating Microphone Relationships With Visualisation Tools

Abstract Phase relationships are a complex and mystifying phenomenon for early stage recording engineers and university students. In this paper, we take the analytical capabilities of time shifting plugin Auto-Align and use it to develop new methods of understanding phase interaction. We utilise the visualisations and time shifting features to assist in recording a multi-miked […]

The Recording and Sound Aesthetics of Tropical Music in Colombia

Abstract The record production made in Colombia during the boom of danceable tropical music between the 1960s and the 1970s had a prominent transcendence in the historical development of the Colombian music industry. On the other hand, the phenomenon of tropical urban music of today is similar to that of more than 40 years ago, […]

Surround Sound Auteurs and the Fragmenting of Genre

Abstract Multi-channel sonic experience is derived from a myriad of technological processes, shaped by market forces, configured by creative decision makers and translated through audience taste preferences. From the failed launch of quadrophonic sound in the 1970s, through the currently limited, yet sustained niche market for 5.1 music releases, a select number of mix engineers […]

The cultural politics of using technology to support the aesthetic in jazz record production

Abstract This paper discusses the attitudes some contemporary jazz musicians have toward the use of technology and the thresholds of studio ‘intervention’ they are willing to cross in order to achieve their preferred studio recording aesthetic. The discussion draws upon personal experiences of mainly free jazz production, and also the returns of a pilot survey […]

Differences and Similarities in the Role and Creative Agency of Producers in Pop, Rock and Classical

Abstract Differences and similarities in the creative agency of the producer in the production process of urban pop music produced in a home studio, rock music produced in a conventional studio facility and classical concert hall music produced in a concert hall setting is explore in this paper. Starting from the premise of record production […]