The Creative System of Engineering
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Engineers are almost forgotten in the story of record-making and, where they are mentioned, they are rarely credited with having artistic or creative status. These views are problematically linked to inspirationalist and romantic conceptions of creativity and, although they have now been dismissed as myths (Boden 2004), these romantic distinctions between art and craft and consequently what is considered to be creative continue to pervade the recording industry, the media and the popular imagination. Because of this, engineers’ contributions in the recording studio continue to be seen as overtly technical rather than creative. This chapter offers an alternative take on sound engineering by presenting it as a creative system in action. Side A begins with a contextualization of the elements of the creative system so they apply to the creative task of engineering, and the Side B presents examples of the creative practices of engineering in commercial record production including Ken Scott’s kick drum mic’ing method and Marta Salogni’s process of mixing Björk’s ninth studio album Utopia (2017).
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