you have an idea for an uplifting project, we can help assess, create
and design a plan for how to move forward, including budget and
-Composing to picture
-Unusual audio production projects
-Special music composition projects
-Start to finish song or album projects
-Creating a production plan
-SInging/Musical performance coaching and development
-Industrial/Media/Art Installations Sound Design
-Audio books and on-line audio
have found this type of session to be revealing and inspiring. The
sessions incur a flat fee for consulting, and are designed so you can
work with us or others beyond the consuilting stage..
New Creative Partner H. Centeno-Garcia
is happy to announce a new member of our creative / technical team.
Hector Centeno-Garcia, a deeply talented composer and audio engineer
from Mexico City, is slated to start working on production projects in
the studio commencing in the next couple of months. Hector and I had
corresponded by email while he operated from Mexico then later met here
in Toronto at a meditation retreat. Some of Hector's work can be
sampled at www.hcenteno.net.top of page
Recent Writing & Production Projects
Let's Be Naughty Tonight
Chad Gendron is a prolific songwriter who was very active in the late
80's / early 90's Toronto Music scene and has since become an expert on
Canadian Culture and a key figure in Toronto's Queen Street West
business community, as owner of the very successful Valhalla Cards
& Gifts and other endeavors. Click here for his "Canadian Culture Thing" blog. Click here to
check out Valahala Cards & GIfts. These days he is turning his
attention back toward the music scene with a Christmas Song "Let's Be
Naughty Tonight", self-released in Oct. 2011. The song centres around a couple cosying up on Christmas Eve while Santa is on his way with their gifts for being good all year.
this was to be "The Quintissential Christmas Pop Song" we went to great
lengths to create, re-create, arrange, and re-arrange multiple
versions. culminating in the final you can hear by clicking here. I did the musical arrangmement and production, playing most of the instruments and we brought in Rebekah Higgs (Click here)
who did lovely co-lead vocals with Chad, and Chad contributed a
wonderful "Stylophone" track (a rare electronic instrument from the
1970's). Rebekah is an
innovative, sexy, compeling artist worth checking out if you haven't
already, and we expect to continue to see clever, funny and heartfelt
work from Chad in the near future.
(Dr. Pradeep Kumar) is a meditation teacher with a background in
Pediatrics. In India he engaged in rich spiritual training and
humanitarian work, then continued Mind/Body studies at Harvard
on his own transformational experiences he has originated some powerful
perspectives on being human, among them his concept and practice of
"Naturality". It was an honour towork with Jivasu on the musica
lversion of his "Naturality Mantra", which will be used to help open
the hearts of children and adults in Canada and India. We worked with
JIvasu's personalJapa version and also created a sing along Kirtan
version. Click here to listen. Click here for more info on Jivasu or go to Samagrapath.com Samagrapath.com to learn about his meditaton teacher training programs.
Mike Cohen Ambisonic Dattatreya Kirtan!
While MIke Cohen was in Town from the U.S. we assembled some musical
friends and supported him in leading the feature Kirtan at the 2011
Toronto Yoga Conference. That same week we followed up with a recorded
meditative session accompanied by Ron Allen on Bansuri, Anwar Khurshid
on Sitar, and Gurpreet Channa "The Table Guy", with both MIke and I
is a wonderful, rich devotional singer leading kirtans with
surrendered, grounded consciousness, whether, live or in the studio. It
was a great inspiration to share these moments with him. We utilized a
new recording format referred to as ambisonic recording, intended to
re-create the actual spacial coherence of the live recorded moment.
This aspect was facilitated by sound art creator and innovative
recordist Hector Centeno, in the REVsound recording room.go here: here to read a detailed blog about the experience & lisyen to audio files
OM Namah Shivaya! May
Shiva and Maya dance joyfully! This was a one hour chanting session of
the well-known six-syllable mantra, performed by Wade Imre Morissette
and myself, which we then enhanced with multiple instruments and
voices. The results are released as a downloadable album on Wade's site www.wadeimremorrissette.com. Who
would have known Alanis Morissette's twin brother is a yoga teacher of
yoga teachers, doing workshops internationally so that we can have more
chanting in our yoga classes! Visit Wade's site to get a pay as you can
copy and learn more about Wade's work, or for more info on the record,
Aline Morales, Alex Bordocas and Mike Filipov recorded and mixed most of the tracks for the Maracatu Nunca Antes album
"Beat Migration" here at REVsound. They are a wonderful and peaceful
group of people with a genuine original take on a traditional form and
were a pleasure to host.
Devotional Sessions - html
For this series we bring together masters of Indian music, teamed with
North American and Indian Kirtan leaders, and conduct
meditation/chanting sessions which are fully recorded, photographed and
reported on, with posted audio results. Reports on these recording
sessions will appear in the blog:http://thelifeofsound.blogspot.com/2011/06/devotional-sessions-1-mike-cohen-gary.
2009 BIg Rude Jake and I were hanging out creating the music for his
record Quicksand. This man is deeply insightful and articulately
compassionate in his current work which as usual, sparkles with
literary finesse and American songbook stylings, taken a step outside
of the norm. You can hear some of the alt mixes on our cd & vinyl projects page. To see some of his many videos and fan activity check him out on You Tube, visit www.bigrudejake.ca or Jake's MySpace site: The Real BIg Rude Jake.
Sound Painting: Tina Newlove Tina Newlove
is a gifted painter with a wide open spirit. Together we have been
creating works consisting of sound & paint, created simultaneously
before audiences, followed by a Q & A period. Our goal is to let
the "moment" create..Immediate Intimate Spontaneous Obvious More details here.
Hockey Night In Canada's future music theme! Okay well, that was our hope. Our submission was " Play Time" by Gary Justice (click to listen). This happened kind of quickly while out of town, so - special thanks to Andrew Brittain for excellent engineering at Mudshark Audio in Ottawa * a great resource for high quality location recording and editing / production).
A little while back we completed an audio book for Irshad Manji's international best seller "The Trouble With Islam Today". Irshad
read the book herself, a total of over eight hours of audio. Her
message is controversial and compelling, and presents a courageous and
equanimous humanitarian view. This work asks for common decency and
good sense in applying religion and spirituality to culture and the
government of society. REVsound's role included supervising the
production, creation of original music and casting & directing
additional voices. Also featured was music by Deeyah who can be found at www.deeyah.com. More info on Irshad's projects can be found at www.muslim-refusenik.com
With Jake Chisholm we have been exploring "The New Blues".
Well, some may say it's not blues. It has the heart and soul of the
blues, of Jimi Hendrix, of North American roots music, and it is songs,
representing a new period of self discovery in Jake Chisholm's path.
Jake has developed some beautiful material, based on his rich heritage
of guitar and vocal depth, and his vision of life, love & truth in
these times. You can listen to a bit here, and keep with his going's on atwww.jakechisholm.ca.
Working with a series of recorded workshops and carefully learning
about Stephen's perspective, REVsound compiled, edited and created
audio files of teachings of Stephen Damico for use on his web site: StephenDamico
In preparation for use at Blue Jays games, we recently recorded Barry St. Denis, a powerful tenor vocalist, performing both the American and the Canadian national anthems.
On the Slo Fuse project, we had Terneille "Ta Da" Burrows www.sanctigroove.com
do a track for us recently. She was in from Bahamas for a few days and
we were lucky enough to catch her to perform "Winds of Change" a track
I had written specifically with her in mind. She did a wonderful job,
full of bouncing, swinging, dipping style and sensuality. Once this is
mixed it will be added to the samples on this site and will likely be
included in the upcomingSlo Fuse Slo Fuse release
We are seeking partners in releasing Slo Fuse.
Darkstar Productions finished another round of recording for the Tish Amour project.
We cast directed 22 characters and composed/produced additional music
to complete a lica-reel taste of further episode concepts. Excerpts
were shown at the "Hard Liquor and Porn" alternative film festival, an
alt-gala event held at Reverb Nightclub.
In 2005 I conducted a workshop at Zen Buddhist Temple on
the following topic - Symbolism In Music Harmony. This included a
brief talk about physics, resonance, music harmony and spiritual
relationships as well as lots of singing chanting. Proceeds went to Zen
Buddhist Temple, an organization who offers resources to help
individuals become stronger and kinder through instruction and practice
of meditation and other techniques. For more info contact Zen Buddhist Temple in Toronto (416.658.0137
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How to disappear. At the Centre for Training In Psychotherapy
in Toronto, Stephen Damico and I co-facilitated a workshop using
drumming as a catalyst for getting in touch with consciousness -
letting go of one's "self" and finding a shared, other "self". The
participants were mostly not musicians, we were individuals interested
in spiritual growth through means other than talking & thinking. We
played rhythms, structured and unstructured, then had a talk afterward
about what it was like. Here are some highlights in a 15 minute mp3 file
Follow Your Bliss. Dee
Dussault is a great yoga asana teacher who offers affordable informal
workshops, conscious get-togethers and healing modalities through her
vast network of friends and practitioners. I have been to many and had
wonderful experiences with wonderful people. Learn more here.
Not Doin' Much
For over ten years I
worked many hours per week. It was happy work, and it was all the time
- most waking hours of every single day. Work-play-socializing was one
big flow. I had set up three recording studios, spent every day and
most nights writing and producing music, either for projects I created
or helping clients to get their vision realized. In between these
activities were writing, tech-ing, practicing, etc. Once a week I would
do a 48-hour day, every Wednesday - Thursday. The ten years before that
I played with over forty bands / music artists, 100% focused on
practicing instruments and playing live all over the country, doing
almost nothing else - total immersion / one big process of sound and
spirit and moving forward.
with the music industry growing hugely but rights and income of content
creators shrinking rapidly - and our being set up in a commercial
facility with backers, etc.- a big change came down. Time to reduce, re-set, change it all up.
This involved a move, a re-design of production systems and
administration, and a change of what to pursue musically. There I was
with the Slo Fuse project half finished, including a video 90%
done, and the China Extreme project waiting with its imported
objects for an installation, scripts for mini-movies outlined and
draughts for the music tracks dying to be started.... when we had to
pull apart the studio, find new (smaller) real estate to purchase , and
redesign / set up a new production facility....
This process was to take a couple of months
but the fine points took almost a year altering acoustical details and
stabilizing systems, etc. In this short time even our computer systems
had somewhat dated, necessitating a major research into new upgrade
>top of page
So, for the first time in perhaps twenty years, I spent over a year where the days have not been about music production
but business, real estate, configuring and other matters. This has
opened doors for many things - exploring spiritual interests, taking an
extended course in singing/body awareness, and most significantly,
re-assessing the motivations for making music and recordings, and for
working in general.
It had gotten to be quite a fever trying
to keep up with ever increasing demands to deliver in the face of
shrinking or non existent production budgets. The beauty one finds in
creating music is always a privilege and a joy but it must be a
sustainable situation or it simply doesn't sustain. It seems many of us
writer/producers, driven by the joy of the process, stay whit it
against crazy odds hoping one of these situations will somehow pan out
to make it all worthwhile.
The truth is, in today's environment, hardly anybody even "breaks
even" doing that! Only a very few with a twist of luck
and a clever angle who sell their wares not as music products per se,
but as music which happens to be contained within something else which
is perceived to be of value.
top of pag
Now, somehow much of that seems like noise
compared to the original idea I started out with
so many years ago, of making music, from my own spontaneous perspective,
to inspire and uplift people. In a world lacking in leadership,
the idea was to be a leader, speaking from the world of art ,
communicating without hidden agenda, different from corporate communication
and government messages.
So, what's the answer for a sincere music creating person?
Ignore chasing after anything, do your art as purely as you feel
it, try to find a venue for it way outside of the traditional methods,
or if you can afford it, just give it away.
Make something beautiful - that's what next we'll do -that's all
we'll do. Create a venue for the rare and talented monks of jazz
and other amazing artists this city is housing - bring them into beautiful
circumstances of musical context and shine!
Ignore trend completely, both in the music and in how to offer it.
So it's been
kind of productive, not doin' much.
Tuning Of Mix Room
Our new location install is settled and grounded. Now we've discovered "transformer coupling"
who has considerably improved our analog playback
/mix system with clever modifications.
Acoustical treatment of the space has
been a journey of art, science and consulting from far away places.
Much of the design / install was done
by Oliver Barkovic of Forward Audio Engineering
with consulting and site visits from Martin Pilchner, Terry Medwedyk, Steven Traub, Corby Luke and John Beetle Bailey.
We are now seeking an additional audio
engineer or engineering oriented producer, as well as business
development, representation and web site communications help.
Click here for more details.
We are moving
along with the
video versions of "World
of Pain" for the
project. Recently this took us into buddhist
temples, catholic churches and street communities around Parkdale and
the Portuguese sections of College Street. The video features a
beautiful performance by New York based Toronto singer Tia Thomas.
Current tuning of mix room
Speaking from under my "engineer's hat" my production interests have changed
somewhat in the last year. I have kindled a
renewed interest in room acoustics.
In room acoustics the goal is for a music mix room to have a very
"average" "down the middle" response in terms of frequency spectrum
(especially bass representation), stereo (or surround) image and
reverb decay times.
to ensure that work done here will transfer well to the outside world.
If one's mix room shows too much bass
response at 120 Hz and a hotter left speaker than shows on the meters,
then (if the mixer is paying close attention) one's mix will have too little
bass response at 120 Hz and a hotter response at right speaker, since the
mixer will naturally compensate.
As a mixer and studio operator (and
even as a composer) this has become more important to me than
copying styles or methods from current hit songs or
acquiring the latest synth plug-ins - (yes we have Logic Pro
6.xx and all the currently available synths/ samplers!).
Renovating to change the room response
is a slow and patient process -we have designed and installed,
and re-designed and re-installed various devices in attempts to reach
the "nominal" state .
Here's a snapshot of the current room response:
Our next step will be fine tuning the
above curve with wall mounted treatments and working with burst measurements/decay
times to tighten up and more evenly represent the spectrum.
The recent uncovering of a brick wall and creating a complimentary
diffusion / absorption wall has also set a very nice response in the
live room area.
have had advice from many acoustical designers
in this process but the most help has been from Oliver Barkovic of Forward
Audio engineering (forwardaudio.com)
who has really stayed with us and contributed earnest effort and skill
in helping us make important decisions and physically implementing clever
solutions in our room tuning process.
Sara MacHin is a
powerful and nurturing yoga instructor, healer and meditation facilitator.
Sara also operates Organizing And Beyond, practical, spiritually aligned solutions for the home and workplace. This is real Yoga!
Sara MacHin 416-966-0938, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lately I have been exploring open
classes at recreation centres, universities, buddhist centres and
yoga schools. There is a lot being offered in Toronto by
generous and sometimes deeply qualified instructors. By visiting
multiple teachers one can discover wider aspects of yoga,
mediation, chanting, singing, drumming and dance. These sessions
offer a chance to be with others in a special way, unattainable by the
usual "talking eating drinking" that seems to dominate our habits in
I used to think of "self improvement
/ new age" pursuits as a "me" activity. Perhaps it can be that way, or
it might start like that, but when one finds informed instruction
and genuinely tries to make a connection with almost any form of
traditional fundamental artistic or spiritual practice, i,e, when you
start to actually do the work,
it can become a "Me" activity. This "Me" includes the whole community
of living beings. Doing a practice is very powerful- you'll see
fundamental qualities evolve. Courage, skill, humility, compassion and
a sense of service are likely to present themselves. This is said
to be the true nature of our higher nature, which is ever present,
obscured by layers we can remove.
think while many are busy worrying about comparatively insignificant
moment to moment ambitions related to getting ahead in a career or
further unbalancing the earth's resources - millions of others
regularly dedicate time to simply sitting in lotus positions
meditating, or chanting, bowing, tai-chi, yoga - some kind of specific
practice designed to heal and help all the rest of us, in fact all
beings. They are working to increase the presence of consciousness
itself, and to get themselves kinder and stronger to help us out of
this crazed dance we are mired in.
When I was first instructed in
meditation and began to see what these practices were about, it was
touching to realize what so many had been doing all this time.
Wonderful people - including Jesus, Buddha and the many teachers and
practitioners who have gone before and are with us now.
Ultimately, love is everything we
care about. Culturing love in our
hearts, in our acts, in our systems
of progress will reduce the violence that
is holding us back from happiness and responsible societies.
As individuals and as societies we
commit major or tiny acts of violence - subtle and not
so subtle, more or less constantly. Awareness
of these events as opportunities to culture
loving kindness is a good way to start getting
The only true "win" is a win which does not
create a loser.
By changing to compassionate action, perhaps
the oppressor has even more to gain
than the oppressed.
When we are inspired, dormant forces reveal a Self that is great, beyond all we have dreamed, a greatness we share.
VALUE OF ART?
(Why we need to pay more for our music)
U.S. leading business consulting firm
Deloitte, Touche Tohmatsu
have chosen to recruit liberal and fine arts majors over
MBA grads, to be trained as project team leaders because
they found artists to have a better level of problem solving
ability, resilience, and other important attributes to function
at decision making levels. Does this inform us about some of the
of fine arts?
Should we as a society be protecting art and music by putting
effort, money and respect into communities that make our music and our
Most who choose
the "art" lifestyle, of course, do not go and work for Deloitte
and in fact try to not compromise their immersion in sincerely expressed
activity. Instead they pursue a life of service engaging full-time
in an activity for which they will not likely receive financial compensation.
Why won't they receive financial compensation? For one cause,
an attitude of "no monetary value" trickles down from the
"customer", the average consumer who
uses art in everyday life.
How do we use music (art) in everyday
life? Some examples: enjoying the sun rays of music coming
from a little radio that sits on the shelf during a day of drudgery in
an unrewarding job; relaxing at home in introspection while
reading a book or enjoying the paintings on the wall or in a magazine;
floating on seas of emotion or spiritual insight while listening to a favorite
musical performer; watching a film (which
will include much music) and engaging with the characters,
learning about predicaments that may have never occurred to you....
Why does North American value a pair of
Nikes or designer jeans at $80 to $160, yet a CD of music at $18?
Even at that price, many of us are less likely to buy the music,
instead finding a way to have it for free. We "avoid" paying for it,
and when we do, we want a deal, quite unlike our attitude towards
purchasing alcohol, sports, food or clothes. It is easier for the
average North American to come to pay substantial prices for
restaurants, alcohol, sports and clothing than the moderate price asked
for a downloaded song, a music disc or a nightclub music event.
To put this in perspective, the financial effect
this has on most musicians is so crippling it's a wonder any of them
last more than a few years. For these who think musicians are rich, yes it means that Beyonce
earns only five million per record instead of ten million. But she is one
out of millions of artists putting out records. It also means that
the average full time artist who dedicates sixty hours per week on their career
earns only $10,000 per year, or loses $60,000 fighting an
So, where else
can music artists turn to try to stay in music? Let's say they
forget about directly convincing the public of their worth as indie recording
artists and look into other avenues. In the case of composers' employers
such as film producers or other content creators, for some reason there
is a perception that they should spend less on musical and audio people
than on most other elements of production, such as featured actors,
trades persons, photographers, catering, advertising, etc. <
/ TV composers are being offered about half what they were offered
ten years ago for a similar amount of work. In addition,
composers are now routinely forced into giving up the ownership of the
music they write and record, meaning they will no linger be allowed to
use it themselves, nor decide where and how it is used. This will
translate into being paid a fraction of royalties on further use of that
same music, or possibly no further payment at all. On top
of this, the amount paid is not enough to earn a living doing so. This
is quite unlike how the same film/TV producer might deal with
a photographer who will be tough about selling a "one time use" only.
Meanwhile movie makers are well known for huge budgets in food, property
rentals, and for paying carpenters, book keepers, lawyers and electricians
well above their normal trade rate.
There is a widespread perception
that this is harmless. Do we understand
how this has
already come back to haunt us as a society which is
increasingly less able to provide opportunities for meaningful experience
and inspiring culture? We are producing "leaders" like George
Bush, and powerful entities in the form of soulless, destructive corporations,
while churning out millions of everyday
people units who do not know themselves nor have much inclination for subtle
sensitivity to the people and the environment around them. Nor are
these people units cultured to understanding basic survival "cause and
effect" relationships or abstract thinking.
content carriers and commercially controlled production
enterprises think art has little value and should be "faked" for
as cheap as possible, television has been reduced to a small amount of
rich programming, padded with infomercials, veiled infomercials,
propaganda, reruns and "reality / lifestyle" shows (some of which
have merit, but many - not.)
Is it harmless to conduct things in
this way, or should we the consumers and we the producers insist on
paying more for our music and
our content, and allow it and its creators respect and dignity so as
to provide the means to nurture and culture a
thriving, rich set of artists from whom we can derive deep inspiration,
high celebration and honest insight?
How to think, how to love - fundamental
life skills of emotional maturity, creativity and
expression are built from such things as genuine arts
experiences (viewing or doing) in early
childhood and throughout life - solo experiences practicing
or observing art - group experiences
creating or discussing art, playing together in non-competitive
games of expression, etc..
to the difficult nature of earning a living from a >
music career, most musicians and artists
find they must "give in" to putting it on the back burner well before
they are thirty. Most of those who "stay
with it" end up financially ravaged and, in a substantial way,
broke if not broken by middle age.
On the other hand, even an ineffective doctor, a mediocre tax
lawyer, a barely reliable unionized
delivery route driver or a self-employed plumber
has it within reach to support a family,
purchase a home, have time for hobbies and enjoy a lush retirement
with investments and a portfolio manager.
This is not
a complaint about material reward or relative luxury. In fact it all
seems a bit limp if you consider the
reality for most individuals in a place like Iraq, India or Africa. It's
about priorities and growing an upwards evolving society. In the "developed" world,
this is an observation of a destructive
ghettoizing of a vital source and commodity.
It is a non sustainable trend If
we are to have any "culture" or develop our human potential
, much like the current issues of ecology.
By allowing powerful corporate entities to methodically cause
the music and arts creators to function
in a grossly compromised economy we have undermined that community's
and as individuals to maintain a sustainable, progressive, represented
presence. By this we lose the expression of our "raison
d'ętre" and our ability to feel, and we end up with people like Brian
Mulroney and the Chinese government calling the shots because this is
the world they learned from and those who voted them in also
haven't been cultured enough to have the feeling to know any
out on music, making CD's worth $18 instead of $60 is taking its toll on human rights, spiritual awareness,
love expression, and impeding the ability
of everyday people to be in touch with important fundamental qualities
normally expressed through art.
We all have had the
experience of being uplifted, sometimes hourly or daily, by some sort
(usually free) exposure to music. Many of us have
had self esteem raising experiences and
joyful experiences in childhood through participation in painting,
writing, music and other arts
Recent decisions by our Federal government, recent trends in
the business practices of music
distributors, and recent attitudes of music users in the buying public
have driven the music
industry into a potentially fatal downward spiral economically.
As a business model, no longer can artists be "developed"
over time and given free reign to express themselves. Mainstream media
is formatted and
restricted to certain norms and little or no financial support is available
to take some time or to experiment. this
is the reality of the "successful" "commercial" producers who have a
(small) chance at making some money back
. The rest might as well plan on losing money on each project and
A genuine, smart, creative young person with a lot to
offer would likely choose an occupation
other than music or the arts, so those who would be
our best purveyors of insight and feelings
won't be the ones doing it.
Who will be attracted to this field? Possibly the ones who aren't
quite smart enough to notice what a losing battle it is, and who are
vain enough to think they will somehow beat the odds - hey isn't
that who we see in interviews on music television, answering questions
about world politics and the meaning of life - "um i dunno i
think having a producer is kewl but like why should i have to dance
I hope we see a way as a society to culture an increased respect for
and nurturing of this much needed aspect of expression, culture and
commerce, so that our next generation of art is produced by smart,
inspired people who can inspire us with vision.
Art is important. Music is important - let's encourage it,
protect it, and pay for it!
RE: CHINA/TIBET <lt;
RE: SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT
RE: MUSIC PIRACY/how will creators continue
to be able? :
RE: NON-CRUEL FOOD MAKING: