Temples of Sound – Inside the Great Recording Studios

Temples of SoundTemples of Sound
Inside the Great Recording Studios
Jim Cogan and William Clark
Chronicle Books (www.chroniclebooks.com)
224 pages – $24.95
by Matthew Robinson

United Western. Sunset Sound. Sigma Sound. These were (and, in some cases, still are) the places where the magic happened. Created from renovated gas stations and refrigerator warehouses, or brick by brick according to some sonic mastermind, these legendary rooms spawned the sounds that shaped generations. In this book, engineer Cogan and songwriter Clark travel across the country ­ from Columbia’s Manhattan rooms and Rudy Van Gelder’s Jersey Jazz joint to the central centers of Stax and Motown to LA’s legendary Capitol building (which has often been thought to resemble a stack of records itself) ­ in search of the mysterious elements that made the music possible.

Through discussions with the folks on either side of the studio glass, Cogan and Clark try to give a sense of what these renowned rooms were like. Unfortunately, with only a few brief details of the actual dimensions and descriptions that tend to get a bit technical, this book may leave readers more questions than answers. Even so, the profiles of the men and women who made the music happen are informative and empassioned, making Temples of Sound an interesting reference for even the casual fan.

© 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR