Mastering in Music

Article by Holger Lund on „Signature Mastering: New Sound Aesthetics in Post-Production and the New Role of Mastering“, in: Mastering in Music, edited by John-Paul Braddock, Russ Hepworth-Sawyer, Jay Hodgson, Matthew Shelvock, Rob Toulson
Released December 30, 2020

Mastering in Music is a cutting-edge edited collection that offers twenty perspectives on the contexts and process of mastering. The book collects the perspectives of both academics and professionals to discuss recent developments in the field, such as mastering for VR and high resolution mastering, alongside crucial perspectives on fundamental skills, such as the business of mastering, equipment design and audio processing.
Including a range of detailed case studies and interviews, Mastering in Music offers a comprehensive overview of the foremost hot topics affecting the industry, making it key reading for students and professionals engaged in music production.

The volume includes an article by Holger Lund on „Signature Mastering: New Sound Aesthetics in Post-Production and the New Role of Mastering“.

The article approaches the field of mastering taking two observations into consideration: firstly, sounds heard on vinyl are changing, offering a new kind of deepness, spatiality and presence in sound, and, secondly, the self-conception of the mastering engineer is changing. These changes will be identified and subsequently analyzed in relation to economic, cultural and aesthetic developments.
By analyzing the discourse on mastering and vinyl cutting mainly in music press and musicology, the article aims to give insight into the new role of the mastering engineer as artist and into recent developments in the field of high-end music production, connecting them to economic developments (the Western music market and its rules and restrictions) as well as to cultural developments (the decline of club culture in some Western countries). The article investigates the work of three signature mastering engineers as case studies with a close analysis of the sound aesthetics developed through their specific approaches: Rashad Becker, Matt Colton and Taylor Deupree. The cases show a predilection for a certain aesthetic, favouring distorted over clean sound (Becker), raw over polished sound (Colton) and coloured over transparent sound (Deupree). All this to enhance a visceral and vibrating, club-sounding music. Finally, in conclusion, the impact of these changes is examined with respect to the current and future music industries.

More information: https://www.routledge.com/Mastering-in-Music/Braddock-Hepworth-Sawyer-Hodgson-Shelvock-Toulson/p/book/9780367227197