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.

Red Door Jazz Series

Last night saw the second last performance in the 2012 Red Door Live Jazz recording series at Bennett's Lane, recorded by myself and RMIT Advanced Diploma audio engineering students. Nick Haywood (Double Bass), Alan Browne (Drums), Colin Hopkins (Piano) & Steve Magnussen on guitar. A wonderful performance from which we truly captured some magic. Colin and I got to discuss the very essence of live recording and what makes these special but in many regards different to studio recordings, especially of improvised music.

Two words resonated for us; Risk & Trust. The risk performers take when in the presence of an audience, to whom they extend themselves; outside of themselves if you like. Less focus on delivery and more on the expression; in the moment and exposed - intensely human. Trust in ones fellow performers, supporting one another through this risk, responding and answering with a willingness to elevate the level of risk even further - but protected by one another. And trust in the audience, knowing that this risk taking is what they've come to experience. To be exposed to the human condition, on edge and at times uncertain, but above all - honest.

I have finally decided the focal point for my Masters which I intend to undertake part time over the next three years. Here it is, right in front of me for years. This magic occurs in studio recordings too but is in many ways different in a live setting. I hope to further investigate these elements and explore the realm of both performer, recording engineer and audience in this sharing of Risk and Trust.