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
Featured Stories: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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16George 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”
EPISODE TWO: PAINTING WITH SOUND
Featured Stories:“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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16George 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
EPISODE THREE: THE HUMAN INSTRUMENT
Featured Stories/Artists: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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16Producer 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)
EPISODE FOUR: GOING ELECTRIC
Featured Stories/Artists: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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16The 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”
EPISODE FIVE: FOUR ON THE FLOOR
Featured Stories/Artists: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
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16Producers 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
EPISODE SIX: THE WORLD IS YOURS
Featured Stories/Artists: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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16The 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
EPISODE SEVEN: SOUND AND VISION
Featured Stories/ArtistsChronicling 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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16The 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
EPISODE EIGHT: I AM MY MUSIC
Featured Stories/Artists: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.
Full Episode available here at the link until 11/28/16Frank 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