Last Thursday proved to be a vibrant and uplifting night for the recording industry at the inaugural Music Producers Guild (UK) awards, writes Dave Robinson. Producers, engineers and studio managers joined a clutch of celebrities at the event at the Caf_ de Paris in London in order to recognise technical achievements within the recording community, as well as reinstating the BRIT Award for Best Producer following an absence of ten years.
Mike Howlett, chairman of the Music Producers Guild, said: "We hope that this event will become an integral part of the music industry calendar for many years to come. Audio professionals are positioned at the very heart of the music industry - we make the content that is the industry's product - and it is important that we are acknowledged as vital and key contributors."
The top award for Producer of the Year - which also earned its winner the BRIT Award for Best Producer - went to ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who worked with Duffy on her debut album Rockferry. Duffy was the surprise guest at the ceremony, presenting Butler with both his Music Producers Guild and BRIT awards. ("Bloody hell!' exclaimed a genuinely humbled Butler, pictured here with Duffy.)
Brian Eno was in attendance to collect The Joe Meek Award for Innovation in Production from Nick Moran, the actor and director of Telstar, the film which tells story of songwriter-producer Meek's turbulent life. Eno amused the audience of 300 with advice on how to avoid passengers on planes who insist on asking questions in order to obtain tickets "for the next Coldplay concert".
In total, 14 awards were presented at the event, which was hosted by BBC 6 Music's Nemone Metaxas.
Recording Engineer of The Year (sponsored by Prism Sound) went to James Towler, while Best Mix Engineer (sponsored by Digidesign) went to Cenzo Townshend. Ex-Alchemy staffer Ray Staff was declared (SADiE-sponsored) Best Mastering Engineer, and Danger Mouse (AKA Brian Burton) was named Best International Producer of the Year (sponsored by RAK Studios).
Best Live Album of The Year for 2008 (sponsored by Shure) went to Girls Aloud 's Tangled Up, which was recorded by Red TX and mixed at Cream Studios. Best Re-mixer (sponsored by CMU) went to Calvin Harris.
Guy Garvey's Elbow had two reasons to celebrate: the band's album Seldom Seen Kid collected the UK Album of The Year for 2008 (sponsored by Cream Recording Studios) to add to its Mercury Prize, as well as Single of the Year for One Day Like This.
Deep Recording Studios sponsored the Best Newcomer award, which went to Paul Epworth, and the TL-Audio sponsored Best Studio title was earned by Mark Knopfler-owned British Grove.
Pro Sound News Europe and music technology school Alchemea jointly presented Deep's Andy McBride with his Unsung Hero award, while Abbey Road's veteran engineer Ken Townshend cited the work of Chris 'Vinyl' Blair with the MPG Special recognition Award.
Deep Recording Studios' Mark Rose summed up the feel of an evening that was generally agreed to be a rousing success: "Awesome all round!" said Rose. "Our community came back together again."
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