Innovator No. 1 – Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin
A few years ago, I got deeply into writing and producing electronic music. I became totally obsessed with it, spending a minimum of three hours a day experimenting in Ableton Live with plugins and MIDI controllers. I was teaching an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) class at the time and was having a blast expanding my musical vocabulary in this world.
I got turned onto Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin’s book Zen and the Art of Mixing during that time period, and it changed my life. Honestly, it’s one of the best books I’ve read on music ever. In addition to being a great mixer, Eric is an extremely gifted writer, and he lays out the building blocks of music as he sees it in crystal clarity.
Do you ever read something that isn’t really in your field, but you immediately draw parallels to what you do in your own life? That’s how I felt about this book. Hearing Eric describe his process of mixing through his popular music mixer lens changed the way I thought about the elements of music and about how I function as a conductor. It also taught me a lot about attitude throughout a creative process. It’s utterly fascinating reading. I pick it up every six months or so and give it another read—it’s that good.
I have passed this book recommendation along to countless of young people in my EDM classes. Eric has written several other books, including:
- The Daily Adventures of Mixerman
- Zen and the Art of Recording
- Zen and the Art of Producing
- Mixerman and the Billionheir Apparent
Check out this video with Eric and Dave Pensado (the host of the outstanding show Pensado’s Place) doing an interview—great stuff! (warning: some NSFW language)
Innovator No. 2 – Leon Bosch
I had the pleasure of interviewing Leon Bosch for my podcast recently, and I find his quest to unearth treasures of the double bass repertoire to be inspiring and exciting. Leon is one of those figures that the double bass community will look back on with awe for what he did to change the repertoire for the instrument.
Much like Mendelssohn did for the music of Bach, Leon has focused on discovering works not in the current repertoire, and he has gotten a large number of contemporary composers (including Wynton Marsalis!) to write new music for him. He is changing the bass repertoire for the better, and we will all benefit from his work for generations.
Here’s a great video featuring Leon recording the Dittersdorf Concerto with The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the ensemble for which Leon served as principal bass for many years.
Innovator No. 3 – NewMusicBox
Many of you are probably familiar with this site, but if not, NewMusicBox should be on your list of places to regularly check out. I love this site. It’s an exploration of what’s going on with contemporary composers and creative musical artists in a variety of genres. With profiles, articles, contemporary music news, blogs, and curated new music playlists, this site is chock full of ideas.
Here’s a cool video with Dapp Theory frontman Andy Milne was chosen by William Shatner to score his set of Star Trek documentaries. Lots of great content like this can be found on NewMusicBox—check it out!
Check out the complete Musical Innovators series here.