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Soundbreaking: Stories From the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music (Documentary Series)

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SOUNDBREAKING is an eight-part series that explores the art of music recording, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds. Featuring more than 160 original interviews with some of the most celebrated recording artists of all time, Soundbreaking explores the nexus of cutting-edge technology and human artistry that has created the soundtrack of our lives.

SOUNDBREAKING | Official Trailer


EPISODE ONE: THE ART OF RECORDING
Soundbreaking begins where a recording does––at the intersection of inspiration and execution. There stands the enigmatic figure of the record producer, the person charged with the critical task of both realizing an artist’s vision and capturing it for posterity. Profiling some of the most accomplished and revered producers in the recording industry, Episode One offers a study in contrasting styles and approaches. In the process, The Recording Artist underscores the way in which any music recording is the product of a delicate and infinitely variable balance between man and machine.
Featured Stories:
George Martin and his work with the Beatles at Abbey Road.
Interviews: Ringo Starr, George Martin, Brian Eno, Giles Martin, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti
Songs: “Please Please Me,” “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby”

The story of Dr. Dre as the most influential producer in hip hop
Interviews: Questlove, Jimmy Iovine, RZA, Q Tip, Dr. Luke

Rick Rubin’s revitalization of Johnny Cash’s career in the 1990s
Interviews: Rick Rubin, Johnny Cash (archive), Rosanne Cash, Tom Petty
Songs: “Rusty Cage”, “I Don’t Hurt Anymore”
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882190/


EPISODE TWO: PAINTING WITH SOUND
“Painting with Sound” chronicles a watershed event in the history of music: the moment when the recording studio itself effectively became an instrument and gave rise to sounds that could never be reproduced live. Beginning with the advent of magnetic tape and multi-tracking technology, episode 2 charts the evolution of multi-track recording, and reveals how recording artists such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd used their imagination and ingenuity to transform the sound of popular music.
Featured Stories:
George Martin and the Beatles’ groundbreaking work in the recording studio changes pop music forever.
Interviews: George Martin, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Brian Eno, Tom Petty, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti, Nigel Godrich
Songs: “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Rain” “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “Within You Without You” “A Day in the Life”

Brian Wilson takes the Beach Boys to new heights with “Pet Sounds”
Interviews: Don Was, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Paul McCartney
Songs: “Good Vibrations”, “God Only Knows”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

The Eurythmics talk about recording their first album at home on a simple analog machine instead of in a big traditional studio setting.
Interviews: Dave Stewart, Annie Lennox
Songs: “Who’s That Girl”, “Love is a Stranger”

Beck, Bon Iver, St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, and Nigel Godrich, producer of Radiohead, talk about recording in the digital age
Songs: “Loser,” by Beck “Bizness” by tUnE-yArDs, “Lotus Flower” and “Give up the Ghost” by Radiohead
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882207/


EPISODE THREE: THE HUMAN INSTRUMENT
Celebrating the most powerful of all instruments––the human voice––the third episode of Soundbreaking surveys the range of ingredients that go into a perfect vocal track. Featuring rare studio footage of some the world’s most renowned vocalists––from blues divas to suave crooners to rock star screamers––the show considers the gamut of tricks and techniques that can both enhance and alter the human voice, and explores the ineffable emotional quality that makes a vocal track truly great.
Featured Stories/Artists:
Producer Paul Epworth talks about recording Adele’s hit “Rolling in the Deep”

Amy Winehouse’s unique voice and how it was captured in the studio
Interviews: Mark Ronson, Ben Harper, Annie Lennox
Songs: “Valerie”, “Rehab”

The use of Auto-tune and vocal manipulation by artists like Kanye West, Roger Troutman, and Cher
Interviews: Ben Harper, Linda Perry
Songs: “Love Lockdown” (K. West), “Believe” (Cher)
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882217/


EPISODE FOUR: GOING ELECTRIC
Tells the story of the most elemental force in recording–-electricity––and the musical revolution it sparked. Highlighting the way in which electricity has been harnessed and channeled to create new and never-before-heard sounds, Going Electric traces both the chain reaction unleashed by the invention of the electric guitar and the evolution of synthesized music. From Delta blues to Chicago blues to The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, from Stevie Wonder and The Who to EDM, Episode Four reveals the power of technology to continuously redefine what music is.
Featured Stories/Artists:
The electric guitar and how it transformed music in the hands of Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones

Stevie Wonder and the creation of his five seminal albums in the 1970s

The Black Keys discuss the making of their record “Brothers”
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882221/


EPISODE FIVE: FOUR ON THE FLOOR
If the vocal track is the heart of a song, the rhythm track––the beat––is its body. It is the sonic element that taps into the most primal part of us and makes us want to move.
Four on The Floor breaks the beat down, and examines the endless experimentation that has taken place at its core, the very bedrock of all music. Charting the progression of the beat from drum and bass to beatbox and beyond––from Little Richard and James Brown to disco and EDM
Featured Stories/Artists:
Producers The Dream and Tricky Stewart talk about writing and recording Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”

The Disco Era : Chic, Donna Summer, and the Bee Gees

Post Disco: Blondie, Madonna and the sounds of the 80s

The rise of Electronic Dance Music
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882224/


EPISODE SIX: THE WORLD IS YOURS
The sixth episode of Soundbreaking looks at a musical revolution that was not only inspired by recording but born from its history: the art of sampling––a kind of musical equivalent of Adam’s rib. Beginning with the pioneers of hip hop (Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, Rick Rubin), the episode tracks the way in which the practice of borrowing fragments from existing records created a new genre––a potent musical form that emerged from the margins, up-ended the establishment, and set in motion a controversy over copyright that has yet to be resolved.
Featured Stories/Artists:
The rise of hip hop in the Bronx

Run-DMC and the first rap/rock single, “Walk this Way”, a collaboration with Aerosmith

The rise of Public Enemy

The Beastie Boys come on the scene
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882231/


EPISODE SEVEN: SOUND AND VISION
Chronicling the era in which MTV forged an indelible and inextricable link between recorded music and the newly emergent music video, Sound and Vision considers what it means to see music as well as hear it. Tracking the music video from MTV to the internet, Sound and Vision tells the story of how a one-time marketing tool became a powerful mediator between artist and audience, and illuminates the music video’s role in the popular music of today.
Featured Stories/Artists
The artists who embraced video in the pre-MTV era: David Bowie, The Beatles, Blondie, Devo

The artists who made MTV what it was: Michael Jackson, Madonna, the Eurythmics

The Unplugged era, Nirvana’s memorable taping
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882240/


EPISODE EIGHT: I AM MY MUSIC
Shifts the focus away from the creation of music to the experience of listening to it, and to the formats that have shaped and ultimately defined that experience. From vinyl, cassette tape, CD, and MP3, each generation has had a piece of musical media to call its own– a way of listening that determines not only how and where we listen, but also the manner in which we collect, store, and share the music we love. What remains unchanged is the fundamental miracle of recorded music for the listener: the music we listen to becomes a pivotal part of who we are.
Featured Stories/Artists:
Frank Sinatra invents the concept album with “In the Wee Small Hours”

Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye use the long-playing record for new kinds of expression

The story of Bob Dylan’s recording of “Like a Rolling Stone”

The Grateful Dead and the rise of the bootleg cassette tape
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16
http://www.pbs.org/video/2365882244/
 

wenis

Registered for GAF on September 11, 2001.
Gunna watch the hell outta these. Will they be available after they're gone? Like a planned physical release or iTunes as a payment option?
 
Only saw the first episode and I can already tell I'm going to enjoy this. I really enjoyed the stuff with the Beatles and Beach Boys. Seeing how the mixing process of tomorrow never knows was a performance itself was pretty damn cool.
 

StudioTan

Hold on, friend! I'd love to share with you some swell news about the Windows 8 Metro UI! Wait, where are you going?
Sounds like my kind of show, thanks for the heads up!
 
I think those that watch it will understand how technology has been pivotal on the evolution of music and gain a better appreciation for things like Auto Tune, and Sampling.
 
This is a really awesome series. Just watched the "Going Electric" episode yesterday.

I love when they showed the Grateful Dead's 'Wall of Sound' from 1974, designed and built by the man who brought LSD to the masses for decades, Owsley Stanley.

Just look at this magnificent stage setup:



 

Revolver

Member
Been watching these episodes as they air. Very interesting but I wish the episodes were longer than one hour. Feels like they rush to cram as much as they can to fit into an hour by skipping around too much. Makes me wish for a Ken Burns style documentary.
 
Can't watch right now but are these viewable in Canada?

Not without a VPN.

I signed up to Hotspot Shield which is $34 for the year and gets you full Netflix access to 12 different regions (Netflix blocks most VPN's). $34 is less than just buying the DVD's of this series this series ($4/episode if you only ever used it to watch this).
 

Tomita

Member
Watched this yesterday and today. Very good series, although I probably enjoyed the first three episodes the most, and the "disco" episode got kind of boring at parts (and I don't even hate disco, so it's not because of that).

Man...I already appreciated George Martin, but watching this series made me appreciate him even more, and as the last episode was wrapping up I thought that it's gonna be really sad when he eventually dies... and then the episode literally has a "in loving memory" tribute to him at the very end because he died last March. ): Feel terrible for missing that, or maybe I just forgot since this year has been such a doozy in regards to losses. Welp, RIP George Martin.
 
Watched this yesterday and today. Very good series, although I probably enjoyed the first three episodes the most, and the "disco" episode got kind of boring at parts (and I don't even hate disco, so it's not because of that).

Man...I already appreciated George Martin, but watching this series made me appreciate him even more, and as the last episode was wrapping up I thought that it's gonna be really sad when he eventually dies... and then the episode literally has a "in loving memory" tribute to him at the very end because he died last March. ): Feel terrible for missing that, or maybe I just forgot since this year has been such a doozy in regards to losses. Welp, RIP George Martin.

Why was the Disco episode boring? All the episodes felt very similar to me.
 

RDreamer

Member
Just wanted to say thanks for this thread. Saw it the other day and finally watched a few episodes in the last day or two. Fucking love it!
 
Last day of it's availability for free online.

I'm watching the last episode, and I love the story about the songwriters writing the Hound Dog song for blues legend Big Mama Thornton, and gave her the lyrics and then tried to tell her the melody, and she immediately interrupted them and said, "White boy, Don't tell me how to sing the blues". LOL
 

Shaneus

Member
This is really strange, I noticed it appeared on Free-to-Air first here in Australia about 6 months ago and is already available for purchase here on DVD. Not sure if that's the same elsewhere, but I just find it weird.

Still, thanks to region bypassing I actually have a chance to watch this now.
 
All the episodes are now available on Hulu here in the States. I listen to pretty much all music genres this series is just amazing just finished episode 4.
 
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