March 29, 2006

Alum Develops Music Mag

Print More

Known as a “giant walking opinion,” Michael Fremer ’69 has worked as a journalist for many different publications, including his own magazine, The Tracking Angle

Fremer discussed his career yesterday in The Straight, opening the presentation with his recollection of being a student here at Cornell, where his interest in journalism was sparked by a student magazine. He talked about his divergence from journalism into the radio world and his return to writing after he was asked to write for the Boston Phoenix.

“What really got me back into writing is the love of the subject,” Fremer said.

Fremer’s work consists mostly of music. A piece he wrote on sound recording in the ’80s was noticed, and his writing career took off from there. Fremer has also dedicated a good portion of his life to saving LP records.

He discussed the different types of writing, and the advocating involved. He pointed out the influence writing has on others, which he encountered in a trip to Germany when two people recognized him through his work.

“You don’t know the power of words,” Fremer said.

The Tracking Angle, the magazine Fremer started along with a friend, is filled with music reviews, but they take a different approach on the reviews.

“Movie reviews are only technical; music isn’t like that. It’s not only about the music,” Fremer said.

In his music reviews, Fremer included the different aspects that go into music, such as the sound, lyrics and production.

Fremer feels that he received no support from the music industry, which caused the magazine to lose money and fold after four years of production.

“I’m really proud of what we did, and I’m glad that we did it,” Fremer commented on his magazine.

Although Fremer works in his basement, he has had interns. He has passed on his theories on sound, something that has fascinated him since he was three. Fremer has moved his students, who have often gone on to study music.

When asked how to begin writing articles, Fremer recommended pitching stories and having a specific angle on them. In having experienced writing for various newspapers, Fremer’s opinion is that news stories are “bite-sized, modules or overviews” and that it’s unfortunate that articles lack details.

Next the discussion was opened, and each attendee told about the writing he or she is involved in. Some students joined Fremer for dinner at the Becker House for further discussion, and later Fremer gave another presentation for audio fans titled “Living Analog: the return of vinyl records in the iPod age.”

Rachel Lawton ’08 commented “I’m more into fiction writing, but it was nice to hear from the journalistic standpoint, which I’m not too familiar with.”

Fremer is currently senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine, a high end audio journal. He can be found online at, where he has a blog and writes A/V reviews, and on his own music review website

The event was organized by the Student Publications Organization (StudPub), an umbrella organization for student publications. StudPub presents the options students have to involved in publications. They publish a yearly booklet of all publications, bring speakers and put together workshops.

“I thought [the presentation] was a great way for students interested in a publishing career to get an inside view on how to approach challenges in starting and running publications and how to improve them,” said Jessica Levin ’08, president of StudPub.

Archived article by Noreen Rizvi
Sun Staff Writer