the VANITY of TREES: Padma Newsome

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.


It's All in the Timing...

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.


Grand Baxter ... No Beans - Sorry!

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 ;)

No Beans!

No Beans!

Sydney Morning Herald Review: Chris Young double CD

Last year I was fortunate enough to record, mix and master a double CD for Melbourne Jazz artist Chris Young. Also had a cameo on trumpet for a track. This release was mixed and mastered entirely at ToKwerX on the hybrid system to DSD then brought down to CD audio formats. John Shand from the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) has published a very positive review of this release, attributing 4/5 Stars. LINK to On-line article.

JAZZ Christopher Young Trio



Christopher Young has a gift for crafting charged atmospheres in which to improvise. This gift is especially prominent on this double album's 20-minute centrepiece, the slow, dreamy Out of Time, which has minimal harmonic movement, instead using layers of post-Robert Fripp guitar played by guest Brendan Hains, whose long, sustained notes frost with tension the improvisations from Julien Wilson's tenor saxophone and Young's bass clarinet. This sharp edge of anguish is passed between clarinet, saxophone and guitar, without either the effect becoming overwrought or its impact diminishing. Meanwhile bassist Alistair Watts and drummer Daniel Brates maintain a soft, restrained, but nonetheless buoyant dialogue to keep the piece afloat. It is among the most compelling works I've heard this year, and amazes me afresh with each hearing. The rest of the album keeps you in its grip, too, with Young developing such full-blooded sounds on his saxophones, clarinets and flute, and his compositional ideas asking different questions of himself (sometimes multi-tracked) and his collaborators. Wilson's brawny tenor also guests on There Is Always a Way to Know and trumpeter Tony Norris spices up EternityJOHN SHAND

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.

iBook Bundle 1&2.jpg

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.

iBook 2 image.jpg

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.

1 Singer: 3 Mic's: Rebellious Bird

When tracking vocals for both a lead and accompanying backing parts it is great to utilise different mic's so the resulting lead and BV's have a contrasting timbre. This assists in providing a separation between the two final sounds within the mix. Additionally different vocal approaches between songs benefit from this to exploit different characteristics in a lead vocal - especially when working with a very accomplished singer - such as Erin Downie.

Thus far we've opted for my OPR Ultra-Mod Ribbon and P12 valve condenser by Peluso. Sitting in waiting is the CM7 FET condenser by Wunder but as yet has not got a guernsey. I've set up three input channels with HPF, EQ and soft-knee compression: OPR Ribbon required several dB cut around 350Hz and a subtle boost at 12kHz; the P12 is actually coming in flat - this mic' has been modified 4 times from stock and is quite sublime. The Ribbon is providing a wonderful thickness in the mids for a female lead vocal whilst the P12 has a very similar body but as one would expect from a condenser has more subtle high end making it wonderful for the more breathy takes. These then matrix out into a single master record buss, which allows Erin to simply move between mic's and audition each characteristic.

,,, and a reminder of the January 19th show to open the Skylark Room for 2018. Link for Bookings here:

Jesse Valach: Separation Street

It is with great pleasure and immense pride I announce the 2nd album with Jesse Valach is complete. "Separation Street" was handed to Jesse today at ToKwerX as a master CD. Production of the album to commence shortly; stay tuned for release date. Congratulations to Jesse and his band on an excellent follow up to the debut album. Big things predicted for this one. We got to #3 on the AU National Blues & Roots charts with the debut - let's see if we can pip that with the 2nd. 


Us white fellas have issues with time. Gotta be "on time," get the "timing" right, can you get this finished "in time?" One of the most humbling aspects of working with those from indigenous cultures is the difference of attitude to time. There is actually plenty of time. "I'll be there at the right time." So in keeping with this I am very happy to announce that Robbie Bundle's second release will be completed by the end of November ... just in TIME!

Jesse Valach: Blues Mountain

I am very excited to announce that final mixes (in DSD high definition quality) for Jesse Valach's debut album are in the can, with mastering planned for Thursday this week. This has been a wonderful few weeks working with Jesse, who is not only talented but possesses a great work ethic; no need for me to push this artist - He does that all by himself. I believe Jesse intends to release this independently so keep an ear out, but I sincerely believe a label will pick this debut album up and happily run with it. It is without doubt one of the best records in this genre that I have heard from this country and is sure to raise a few eyebrows; great tunes, wonderful playing, a rockin' vibe and a touch of class make this a truly excellent debut for Jesse. Congratulations big fella! It's been an absolute pleasure.

rule the world

Husny Thalib adds his first cover-song to an impressive list of releases over the last twelve months. Tears for Fears classic, Rule the World is now ready for mixing and judging by the vibe the new backing vocals give the track it's simply gonna rock. Keep your eyes on Husny's pages and those ears open for this upcoming release. Mixed & Mastered right here at ToKwerX.

P.S. Compress your Drum Reverb, like give it a good squash. Post Reverb try something like a soft-knee valve unit with release nice and smooth (not too short). I use the UAD LA2A (Compression curve rather than Limiter) in line after a big Plate reverb. You'll have yourself that 80's Lexicon sheen with a wonderfully held reverb release tail. This helps to sit the decay of the reverb up in the mix as opposed to just the initial "splash." It also lowers the initial early reflections to blend in more with the decay tail.


Tom Fryer is a wonderful guitarist and consummate composer. His new album, freshly mastered here at ToKwerX is a killer. To hear one of Australia's premier exponents of this instrument, played too often by too many, often not too well, you simply must check this record out. Once available I'll be sure to include Tom's links in the Artists page so you can follow this up. For those who get a chance to hear Tom perform live you will simply be treated to one of the best guitarists I've had the pleasure to work with. Congrat's Tom.