Education

eBook 4 available now in the ToKshop...

Harmony for Engineers. A simplified approach to the concepts and structures governing Diatonic Harmony. Vsn 1.1 now published with an extra chapter on Minor Scales structures and Harmony.

Special introductory price. Any purchaser receives a life-long free update to future versions and revisions. Head on over to the ToKshop

Yes, eBook #3 (Mixing Techniques) is still ongoing… as is the discipline of Mixing. But in the meantime :)

Changing of the Guard...

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

Mark Kelson and I in Studio One, featuring the 1st NEVE Genesys console in AUST.

Mark Kelson and I in Studio One, featuring the 1st NEVE Genesys console in AUST.

Confirm your sources...

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... 

Clifford Brown - Continuously Humbled

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

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Truth or Power?

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... 

History & Humility

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.

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Facts Drive Education

Science is not a belief or difference in world view to religion. Science does not require faith in order to exist.

Please take the time to arm yourself with knowledge, for the best way to contribute to enacting upon Climate Change is to talk about it.

ToKwerX eBook Series: Recording & Editing Techniques

If you're into audio engineering or are just fresh to this field of art and technical expression it's likely you've been given advice from those who may not actually have been doing this for long; I'll offer you the benefit of my forty years in studios through my eBook series. There are currently two releases published in ePub format for use on a myriad of devices: 1 investigates Recording Techniques whilst 2 delves into the workflows I've developed for Editing, predominantly in ProTools. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy or bundle.

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PS. the 3rd eBook is currently underway - Stay Tuned: Mixing Techniques

ToKwerX iBook 2: Editing Techniques

It's been an extremely productive Summer with lot's of recording, performances, back to lectures and teaching and also managing to write the 2nd iBook (ePub format). This second publication focuses upon the Editing Techniques within the DAW environment and features a whole range of workflows for an entire production process. The intention is to provide engineers, especially junior engineers with a framework upon which to develop or adapt their own workflows in the many aspects of editing prior to the blurry end leading into the mix stage.

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It became apparent after releasing the 1st iBook (Recording Techniques) that whilst there are quite a few publications of that type the Editing aspects for the engineer have not been the focus for many teaching or learning resources. It is my sincere hope that this 2nd ePub document will become a valuable addition to reading the user manual for ProTools especially, although many of the workflows can be easily adapted across alternative DAW packages. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy.

Why We Teach...

Today marks the beginning of another year in teaching Audio Engineering and it's related sub-fields. This is the part I love; disseminating as much of my knowledge that I can whilst embracing everything I am still yet to learn. So teaching is always a two-way street; I learn from my students who learn from me.

I began teaching in this field part-time in 2003, went full-time in 2006 and was finally offered tenure in 2007, which meant I wasn't effectively "unemployed" from New Year's Eve 'til New Year's Day. So over a decade now and the actual teaching element is still as exciting for me as ever. I am very grateful to have such a fulfilling job that serves to feed my children and I but above all that I am blessed that my students actually enjoy my teaching.

Lecture/Class #1 for 2018 to my new cohort of 1st years and one particular student states at the end of the two hours "thank you - you're a fantastic teacher - the best I've ever had."

Phükk! Thank you. Let the journey for me continue whilst for others the journey has only just begun...

Ribbon Comparative

Tomorrow during student practical exercises in our NEVE studio @ RMIT Sound Production we are setting up a comparative recording of Drums with various Ribbon microphones. Results from this will be analysed back at ToKwerX and I'll post the findings and outcomes very soon. Thanx to Mark from OPR for providing "the Grill U-Mod" for this session. The session will include the following "Velocity Transducers:"

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ROYER R121 | AudioTechnica AT4080 | SE Voodoo | OPR Rocket U-Mod | OPR the Grill U-Mod

Eventide: Fission

Eventide’s Audio division recently released a new entrant into the Transient Shaping collection of digital audio tools available to the modern engineer, although this processor is a lot more than just a means to emphasise the attack transient and shorten the decay elements of a sound.

I am loving “Fission.” This is practically splitting the atom when it comes to accessing the elements of the sound envelope and most importantly gives the engineer independent control between both, with a powerful library of dedicated effects assignable to each component: Transient & Tonal.

Sure, split a Tom hit and you can alter the balance between the attack strike and the decay of the shell - you can now even Tune the decay independently of the attack with the Pitch algorithm - but this is a sound sculpting tool, not just a Transient Designer of sorts. If you’d like to literally divide the sonic elements that are the DNA of your targeted sound and manipulate them both in beautifully musical (and non-musical) ways then check out “FISSION” by Eventide.