If you like reading and are looking for some gift ideas to put on your list then check out our team recommendations. We are a mixed bunch so expect a mixed list.
Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
As a composer I love to find new sources of inspration to get my creatvie juices flowing - this book was given to me by my wife and is simply beautiful. I've already been inspired to write songs based on the contents of some of the letters.
This is what they say about it;
Letters of Note is a collection of over one hundred of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people.
From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.
Including letters from:
Zelda Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, Fidel Castro, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Hicks, Anaïs Nin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Amelia Earhart, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Dorothy Parker, John F. Kennedy, Groucho Marx, Charles Dickens, Katharine Hepburn, Kurt Vonnegut, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Emily Dickinson and many more.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is inspiring and beautiful. A must read for those looking for insights into the human soul.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Original Radio Scripts
"What's this book got to do with sound?" I hear you ask. I was originally going to recommend the first part of "the increasingly in-accurately named trilogy in six parts", The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, as it is unique in my view in that it originated as a piece of audio - a radio series, and was then adapted in to a series of books, a TV series, a double gate-fold vinyl, a feature film, a stage show, a computer game and a range of towelling products.
The Original Radio Scripts edition also contains many notes made by the late Geoffrey Perkins (radio producer extraordinaire), Douglas Adams himself and the BBC RadioPhonic Workshop team. It's incredible to get a glimpse of how well the BBC RPW team managed to bring Douglas Adams' often very late scripts to life, using equipment that most of us wouldn't know where to even switch on. Here's one gem from Douglas' notes to the sound team -
FX: A low throbbing hum which builds quickly in intensity and pitch. Wind and thunder, rending, grinding crashes. All the niggling little frustrations that the BBC Sound Effects engineers have ever had can all come out in a final devastating explosion which then dies away into silence.
On a personal note, it was hearing this radio series at a very young age, then reading the books, that made me fall in love with telling a story using sound. There used to be a saying -
The Colour's Better On Radio
Douglas Adams was a great audio dabbler - he owned one of the first Emulator samplers, loved audio technology, played guitar with Pink Floyd, naming one of their albums, and was the original Mac Head.
The Great British Recording Studios - Howard Massey
This book is an indulgence. Well researched, thorough and diving deep into the people, stories and technology of major British studios from the golden era.
Starting (understandably) with Abbey Road and visiting the studios which are still with us (just) like Air and Rak and the sadly departed like the Manor and Basing Street, this is an almost comprehensive tour of the British studio scene.
I was given this book as a gift, a thank you for playing bass on a friend's album and while I would like to say I've read it front to back, actually I've dipped in and out, guzzling the studio goodness in whatever order I liked. Like I said, it's an indulgence...
Mastering Audio The Art And The Science - Bob Katz
If you are in the mood to stay a little more on topic then check out a book that is widely regarded as a "must read" to all those in the audio mixing and mastering industry.
"This book is for everyone who wants to increase their mastery of digital and analog audio: musicians, producers, A&R, mastering, recording and mixing engineers. It is suitable for all levels of professionals and students. To master audio you must become a master of audio. Producers and Mix Engineers: Find out the best ways to prepare your files and mixes for further mastering."
Recording Music On Location - Bruce & Jenny Bartlett
When I was at university studying audio engineering, pretty much anything by Bruce Bartlett was considered required reading. Many if not all of the approaches in this book apply to studio recordings just as much as they do in the field so like the scouts say... Be prepared.