Does this count ?

I’m usually posting about gear that allows us to colour or process a signal but none of the chain is very useful without something in front of the microphone. How about this...

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

I am utterly besotted. How absolutely gorgeous is “she?” So now I need about $7.5k AU... #hornfancy

I hereby invite the Universe to provide me with the means to own this beautiful instrument :)

HARRISON @ RMIT Sound Production

If you've been following my previous Blogs this month there is clearly a buzz around the new DAW package from HARRISON CONSOLES entitled Mixbus32C. I am extremely pleased to announce that RMIT University's SOUND PRODUCTION program has entered into an education partnership with Harrison, which enables the inclusion of the Mixbus packages into the training collection delivered across the two year Advanced Diploma. Besides allowing the next generation of audio engineers to fully appreciate the differences between DAW software there are also financial benefits made available to current students wishing to purchase the software. All HD studios at RMIT within the Sound Production program will see the installation of Mixbus32C and the Essential plugin bundle over the next few weeks, with audio-focused teaching and learning computer labs already running the packages for compatibility testing.

This is a first for RMIT Sound Production, which continues to remain as the premier industry-supported program delivering this form of study. Thank you to the wonderful attitudes to education and the amazing support from Harrison Consoles, Nashville TN, USA.

We don't need another Hero - but do we need another DAW?

Well HARRISON thinks so. The Nashville based now legendary console manufacturer has just released a new version of their wonderful Mixbus3 digital recording, editing and mixing package; Mixbus 32C. Harrison delivered their first 32C analogue console way back in 1975 after designer and founder Dave Harrison left MCI where he'd built some of their best gear. I got to drive a 1974 MCI at Woodstock Studios here in Melbourne when Joe Camilleri first built it. That MCI was the last desk by Harrison before founding his own company. Harrison is a whole chapter in audio-engineering history and was responsible for the advent of "in-line" console design, where a single channel-strip would have inputs, outputs and a return from the tape machine. This meant we no longer had to give up separate channels on the console for both inputs and returns - revolutionary for the 1970's!

I am posting this blog because I firmly believe we DO NEED ANOTHER DAW package. We need more variation in the SOUND of software available to creative engineers and producers. If we all use the same "Tools" then we minimise the chaos within our creative Universe - we risk losing the ART based on the individual that comes from the myriad of choices we make when recording, mixing and mastering a record. Harrison's Mixbus 32C features the most famous aspect of the Dave Harrison design dynasty, the 32C EQ. Another revolutionary design and one that became an incredibly musical and expressive shaping tool for engineers. I am fortunate enough to own a pair of channel-strips from a double transformer-version of the 32C (link) consoles and there have been 3rd party models and copies of this famous EQ that I have not needed to purchase. Now I can have 32C EQ across my entire mix, on every channel. That's certainly a creative bonus. And, it comes standard with the package; no add-on or plug-in.

Check this software package out, regardless of what you think your favourite DAW is. I sincerely think you'll be swayed to the sound of the 32C ... and isn't SOUND why we began this journey in the first place?

"Blood Trust" Hollywood Premiere

The short film "Blood Trust" which features an original score by yours truly has been selected to screen at the 18th Dances with Films festival in Hollywood LA, USA. Congrats to director Alberto Di Troia and producer Laura Faulkner on this wonderful news - I expect a postcard at least.

The score style is Italian melodrama and features acoustic instruments, weaving amongst the themes of the main characters. Recorded at the "Brian Brown Studio" (VCA) then mixed and mastered at ToKwerX with wonderful performances by: Jo Abbott (Accordian), Mike Jordan (Kit), Jonathan Zion (Ac Bass), Justin DV (Guitar/Mandolin), ToK (Trumpet).

It's a Long Way ...

It's a long way from Memphis to Melbourne, a damn long way. So after 30 hours of travel, most of it at an altitude of 7,000 metres Stevie Paige, her manager Chris Bailey and I are home. Phew! Exhausted? Yes. Elated? Absolutely. This has been a pivotal experience in my career thus far, from a perspective of music, history and networking. Plans are already afoot to return to Memphis this May for a large festival held on the Mississippi in the City of the Blues & Soul. No doubt I'll inform of any details as they arise. A massive Aussie hug and thanks to our new friends for all the support they offered us during our two week stay. The "Southern Hospitality" is not a faux pas but a reality. We could not have been made more welcome. To any of you Southerners who contemplate the trek to our great southern land rest assured that the hospitality here is similar to your own and you are all most welcome - maybe not all at the same time though as we only have so many beds! Once again thank you all, thank you Memphis. XMemphis, TN USA. Where even the toilets have SOUL!

Sunday Spiritual with the Bishop

The now honourable Bishop Al Green held service this morning at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, with his fellow preachers, choir and band. A moderately sized congregation gathered around 11:30 for what was to be the most significant spiritual and musical event of my entire trip here. Ever wondered where the Soul, Gospel, Blues & Jazz spirit rises from? Then attend a service with Al Green and everything will be revealed. A sincerely moving, awakening event is what I was gifted. A band that cooked like a Memphis BBQ and a choir who's voices literally brought me to tears. I would like to thank everyone present at the service for sharing their spirit and love in what has to be the pinnacle experience during my stay in Memphis. Hallelujah indeed, I have been blessed!

pinball at the diner

Two iconic American institutions: Pinball & the Diner. New friends here in Memphis took us to a classic Diner and there in the corner was a Pinball machine not unlike the ones I played as a teenager - yes I know, a very long time ago. The Diner has it's own history, initially constructed from "Diner Carriages" and placed on routes for a quick feed; stools on one side of the bar, cooking on the other. Even the word "Diner" expresses that history and is an icon of the USA I had to take snaps of ... in fact I've been called "Snappy Tom" here for all the pix I'm grabbing of classic Americana. I love it. Images I grew up seeing on the TV are now right in front of me. Crap score on the Pinball though. Hey, it cost me a quarter!

SUN Records

Where many iconic artists began their career, SUN studios and the home of SUN Records, Memphis TN USA. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. The tracking room is quite small but houses some classic RCA ribbon microphones and a hand full of wonderful vintage gear. The museum section upstairs has a couple pieces of gear that will not be seen by any young aspiring engineers, namely the AMPEX 1/4" 2 track tape recorder and the classic RCA direct to disc lathe used for cutting direct to records. Now classed as a national treasure the SUN studio will be protected from development and destruction for many generations to come. The studio is still a working concern of an evening and houses a nice blend of both analogue and digital devices. Once again the ability to be surrounded by history has made a wonderful impression, one that will no doubt last a life-time ... just like the SUN.

Schmoozin' & Bluesin'

Day 4 here in Memphis was all about Networking. A small performance at one of the more privileged schools where I got to tinker on a rather nice Steinway & Sons grand piano. Followed up with some free tickets to the local Memphis NBL team game at the new Fed Ex stadium, the Grizzlies - who lost I'm afraid. Great opportunity to meet up with organisers for the Blues Challenge and enjoy a game of pro basketball. You know the pre-match extravaganza was probably more entertaining than the game! Tomorrow we get all the details of where and when we perform in this city, which is now beginning to buzz as more and more visitors arrive. Over 200 different acts from all across the globe are about to descend upon Memphis. The reason we're here is not simply to perform but as all artists, engineers and managers know - networking!

stax records memphis tn usa

We all know quite a bit about Motown - and then there was STAX records right here in Memphis. Booker T et al, Otis Redding, Anne Peebles - the list is immense. We got to tour the rebuilt facility, history abounding in every exhibit, along with some classic gear used for those wonderful recordings. Like this 20 channel console from the main studio, as used by Jim Stewart and others. Oh so inspired to write a whole new album for Stevie Paige, starting with one we're already toying with: "I Brought the Sunshine to Memphis."

Memphis TN Day 1

So here we are, safely in Memphis TN USA. A damn long flight with a stop-over in Dallas FW but managed to arrive not too lagged at all. Room at the "Super 8" in downtown is a dump but I love it for that very reason. Fawcet (not a tap) leaks, clothes rack is hanging off the wall but the bed is comfortable and I slept pretty well. Spent the day walking and taking in the entertainment strip in Memphis around Beale Street then spent several hours in a store by the name of "Guitar Center" (note the spelling?). Picked up an AUDIX D6 Kick mic for $205 US, which was too much of a bargain to let pass by. Much more stuff to share so pop in and check out our antics each day here at ToKwerX. Todays pic shows the Madison Ave I should have worked on!

Entry into the USA

I simply can't ignore the opportunity to poke a bit of fun at our friends in the USA. As part of the entry requirements into the States one needs to answer a series of questions; with the assumption that honesty prevails! "Are you involved in espionage, sabotage or terrorism?" Are you kidding me? Well, not at present I'm not. Bloody Yanks. So funny!