In my fourteen (!) years teaching and lecturing at RMIT University’s Sound Production program in Audio Engineering I have had the pleasure to meet many wonderful people. But the time comes when creative choices begin to outweigh the financial decisions made prior to meet the needs of parenting and raising two children. In 2020 there will be a Changing of the Guard so to speak as I reduce my teaching tenure to a few days per week allowing more time for making records and playing jazz. Academic life has regrettably supported a focus on narrower and narrower aspects that underly our creativity, so I now yearn to address this imbalance. Over the next year my graduate from many years ago and now colleague, Mark Kelson will be gradually prepared to take over the duties I shall step away from. This gives me great pleasure to know the program I have developed with a wonderful team of others will remain in hands that are inspired and engaged in the art of engineering… whilst I again focus upon actual creativity. I need to acknowledge and pay utmost respect to my fellow team members at RMIT who have been absolute stalwarts in the success of this program: Michael “Smasha” Pollard, Timothy Johnston, John Phillips and Paul Thomas. Previous program managers Jen Anderson and Bruce Jacques were also instrumental in both developing this program but importantly assembling this particular team of awarded engineers and creators; all of whom are still fully engaged outside of their teaching roles. Thank you x
We live in a time of information overload. There’s never a lack of “news” available should we ever get bored, but not all information is correct or reliable.
If we are to move through our current state of uncertainty in the world with conflicting opinions on climate, immigration, politics and more, then our decision to follow a particular viewpoint needs to be thoroughly investigated.
Dont be lazy when it comes to informing yourself. Don’t believe the most seemingly supported news but rather be prepared to dig deeper and avail yourself with accurate information so our viewpoints can be both educated and considered.
As humans we have evolved to require stories, which provide us with meaning to our existence. These stories give each of us a role to play upon the stage of life but in order to believe these stories they have to extend beyond our current horizons. I’m all for storytelling but perhaps your imagination of being capable of mastering after reading a post on the Book of Faces is not all that informed - nor correct?
Confirm your sources...
I grew up through my 20’s idolising the great jazz trumpeters. None more so than Clifford Brown. He died in a car accident at only 25 yet left an incredible legacy of recordings, through which I am still working. Revisiting some transcriptions of his solos today and the humility is once again profound; 1953 until his death a few years later he was on fire! If I get to play even a portion of the voice leading, rhythmic interest and harmonic outlines that Clifford did then I’ll be very grateful. Until then, the humility continues… Thank you Clifford x
Years ago during a sabbatical in Tasmania I wrote the following prose and wrote in on the wall of the old farmhouse we were staying in:
“Do I truly love thee, or do I merely covet? For if I truly love I can come to accept even that, which I do not understand.”
As I approach another defining chapter in my life the reflection reveals a pinnacle truth, that we as humans often opt for power rather than absolute truth. We spend so much time trying to control the world as opposed to understanding it, and more often than not the understanding is a prerequisite for somehow attaining better control.
Surrendering to what we don’t know is always difficult and likely takes significantly more time than choosing to believe in something we have no proof of in order to make more sense of the world and our place in it.
And so I choose to accept the multitude of things in life that are likely never to be understood and embrace the humility and magic of that fact... to be continued...
A heads up that the ToKwerX eBook 2 Editing Techniques has been updated. This now includes (by request from a current owner) a chapter on the editing of Drum Playlists, with a complete step by step workflow for ProTools. All owners of the earlier version will be sent a free copy as part of their lifetime upgrade. For new purchases head over to the ToKshop
Truth. Compassion. Equality. Freedom. Courage. Responsibility.
Refrain from placing ultimate authority on anything, be it a leader, institution or text. Retain the right to question everything before too easily assigning what is “True” or “Right.”
Questions we cannot answer are likely more healthier for us than Answers we cannot question.
If there is no allowance to waste time searching than we will very likely never find the Truth.
Some wonderful reality checks from Yuval Harari - Historian
A request to study our human history; properly. Any religion, educational guru or nation who considers itself the omnipotent source of knowledge is an imagined construct. All morals, art, spirituality and creativity are embedded in our species’ DNA and began in Africa 100,000 years ago
I am asking everyone who reads my Blog to adjust their attitudes to others who may share a different belief, imagined construct or cultural perspective.
Humility is grossly undervalued.
One day in the studio to track six (6) songs of Horn Section parts. Setup at 11:00am and finally walked out with files in hand at 5:00pm. A huge and frankly exhausting day but extremely happy with the results. A reality-check of just how much energy it takes to complete such a production task. All parts were double-tracked and in some cases tripled with alternative parts. EP has been mixed and upon several listens appears to be “I.T.C”… IN THE CAN!!
A massive day in Studio 1 NEVE yesterday tracking Horns for the Rebellious Bird debut release. Editing and mixing these today before dropping the Horns into the main mix sessions for final tweaks tomorrow; mastering Thursday… Friday onwards… REST!
My absolute gratitude to engineer Mark Kelson for driving whilst I was performing alongside Ellie Lamb on Trombone and Jeff Mead on Tenor Sax. Beautiful section.
Such a pleasure and an honour to be a member of this quintessential… Congrats to my dear friend of many years, Julia Messenger on a most beautiful performance. X
Absolutely delighted to support the release of this sonic tapestry by dear friend and colleague Padma Newsome. The album is a collective of works featuring the wonderful artistry of this beautiful man. I am thrilled to have been involved in bringing this to life. Best wishes and congratulations Padma x. https://padmanewsome.bandcamp.com/album/the-vanity-of-trees
This week and next I am completing the debut release for Erin Downie and Rebellious Bird.
This EP has been over two years in the making during which we have endured: Moving homes (twice), Full Time Study, Floods, Single Parenting and Broken Hearts.
But we persevered.
I am incredibly proud of this upcoming release and consider it some of my best work. Erin sings beautifully on these tracks and the band is wonderful. Horn section will be dropped in next week.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and at times sacrificed part of themselves to complete this project.
This EP is testament to the gift of love and the privilege of sharing music. Not an opportunity to be taken for granted.
I will deliver the masters to Erin before the end of September and sincerely hope something is done with this recording, for a debut release of this quality is a very rare gift indeed.
2020 is the year, which happens to coincide with the test result that shows ‘normal’ vision. I have commenced planning the implementation of a DOLBY ATMOS 5.1.4 speaker configuration to allow for mixing music in the ATMOS format. I sincerely believe this will introduce my clients and their audience to an inspiring and physically immersive sound for their releases. With both YouTube and Facebook using ‘Ambisonics’ for their audio playback engines the ATMOS mixes will be translatable to these platforms, heralding in a new era in music listening.
No longer just a song - with ToKwerX and ATMOS these will become a sonic experience!
Such a beautiful Quintet... Yes, I am the 5th!
I'll be very proudly performing trumpet with the wonderful Julia Messenger later this month at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Sept' 22nd. The band behind Julia is seriously awesome: David Jones (Drums), Mark Fitzgibbon (Piano) and Craig Newman (bass). Event is apparently SOLD OUT but rumours of a few still at the door on the night. SO looking forward to this one...
A previous post of mine contained incorrect information, largely due to the fact Ben Langdon and I never actually discussed it. So I listed his latest SOLO EP incorrectly as a release by the Bean Project (Ben's other project). So...
Ben Langdon's SOLO project Grand Baxter has recently completed a four-track EP, mixed and mastered here at ToKwerX. CORRECT ;)
ToKwerX this weekend is welling in the sounds of the Grigoryan Brothers. Their superb classical guitars have been the centre of the soundtrack for upcoming film “a Boy Called Sailboat.” Mixes by my graduate Mark Farrell through my matched pair of AVALON 737sp hardware units. Mastering chain is: Audient SUMO VCA Compressor, Avalon AV747 Compression and EQ, Harrison 32C Filters and EQ, Quad Eight CL22 Limiter - all captured in DSD @ 5.6MHz sampling rate. Release of the soundtrack will be shortly.
This evening I experienced the most inspiring sound mixing format ever in Dobly Atmos. Think of Surround Sound (with Left, Centre, Right, Left Rear, Right Rear and a Sub') but now add another Four Ceiling speaker channels. This introduces HEIGHT into the sound stage and has been adopted by the film industry for cinemas and home theatres as the new standard.
But what about MUSIC in Atmos? It is beginning; slowly. Several artists have embraced the format. In 14 months when ToKwerX upgrades the studio for what is likely my final business lease, the speaker system will be an ATMOS 5.1.4 system. With so many artistic possibilities I have launched the plan to build my new system around this format. PROTOOLS Ultimate (formerly HD) with a Dolby ATMOS monitor array is the future at ToKwerX. Music for the new era in the most incredible advance in sound mixing since stereo! So excited!
You and I are like a broken zip
Sometimes, with patience
We can hold together
But it never quite feels nor looks the same
We tear apart
the BEAN PROJECT features the very talented Ben Langdon and I've just completed four new masters of some new material, soon to be made available. https://www.thebeanprojectmusic.com/
Also stay tuned for some other great music from the Hills... Erin Downie's Rebellious Bird has just submitted two songs from the upcoming debut EP for the PBS Upstart competition. Fingers are crossed Erin (Yes... and my Toes!)