What's Going To Happen To Us?

Song #4 from The New Normal.

A. David MacKinnon - Everything Comes Apart

Everything Comes Apart from the album The New Normal. Available Oct 17 2017. 

A. David MacKinnon - The New Normal

Pharos Of Alexandria - Flowers Of Atacama

Pharos of Alexandria is Oli Palkovits with a little help Martine Fortin, Andre Laforge, Jonathan Danyliw and Stephane Duchesne. I engineered, mixed, mastered and played a little organ and wurlitzer.


Recorded over three late nights at Cosmic Dave's in Sudbury ON. Mixed & mastered at the Junkshop in Toronto.

New Demos

Recorded at the Junkshop on a Tascam 488. It's amazing how nice cassette can sound with a ton of expensive gear plugged in to it.

The Birthday Cakes - Hologram

Here's a single from Sudbury prog-rock family band The Birthday Cakes. We recorded and mixed three songs over a sweaty summer weekend at 6 Nassau right before the studio was shuttered.

These kind and humble words from the Clayton Drake sum things up far better than I could -

At the start of this summer, my brothers Carter and Cameron decided they wanted to record some new music with The Birthday Cakes. It had been six years since we'd released anything, and we had amassed around 20 unreleased songs. Through the patented Drake process of constant argument, we decided on three songs to record.
After some deliberation, we settled on A. David MacKinnon as our engineer and recorded it at his (how defunct) 6 Nassau studio in Toronto. Dave's patience, diverse musical vocabulary, and try-anything attitude made him the perfect engineer for the Birthday Cakes. We recorded these songs live off the floor, which embedded the life and spirit of the band into the songs. 
I've been mixing these songs with Dave since the summer, and I can say with complete confidence that this is the best-sounding music I've released in my entire "career" as a musician. I hope you appreciate the detail, nuance and passion in these songs as we release them in the upcoming months.
I'd like to thank Matti Lehtelä for his hard work on the artwork for the trading cards that we created to accompany the release of the song. I feel like we really captured the spirit of the Birthday Cakes with the cards, and the song isn't complete without the cards.
I'd also like to thank Brain Tape for agreeing to release the songs even though they're not on a traditional cassette. This label is working hard to capture the current wave of music that is passing over the city, and I think their discography will ultimately be a potent snapshot of an extremely fruitful creative period for Sudbury music.
The Birthday Cakes is the purest expression of my creative impulses, and our music could only be generated by an insane devotion to our craft. My brothers Cameron and Carter have been the ultimate creative partners over the past decade of our band's existence, working with open hearts and blunt honesty to create something far better collectively than any of us could ever manage as individuals.
Streaming below is Hologram, which is the first song of a trilogy that will be released in the upcoming months on a series of six trading cards. I hope you like it! If you do, please consider buying the trading card Booster Pack #1 from the Merch section on our bandcamp. It will arrive eventually.

The Birthday Cakes will never die.

Claire Hunter - Something Safe

Here's another one that got away in my absence. Claire Hunter is a singer/songwriter from Toronto. We recorded this last summer at 6 Nassau. Claire sang and played guitar. I played piano, organ and made my recording debut as a drummer. Alex McMaster arranged and played the string parts. Special thanks to Collin Thompson for acting as assistant engineer while I did my session musician duties.

The record is available on iTunes.

In Drift - Better Days

In Drift is a dream pop band from Toronto. Equal parts shoegaze, surf, new wave and the best friend any effect pedal manufacturer could ever dream of.
They recorded most of this record on their own but were nice enough to ask me to help out tracking drums and mixing. Both jobs were done at 6 Nassau last year.

Hear the whole record and purchase here - https://indriftmusic.com/music

Carpet Of Horses - Red Paper Flames

Here's another gem that came out in my absence. Carpet of Horses is Tobin J. Stewart. Tobin and I have been working together for quite a while now. We met many years ago when he interned with me at the original Junkshop garage studio. Shortly after that Tobin engineered the writing/demo sessions for the last FemBots record Calling Out. Tobin now lives in Italy. Besides making his own music he has become a very good producer and engineer. A few years ago we worked on the Ishaq record Remedies together.
Red Paper Flames was recorded by Tobin while he was living in Berlin. We mixed it at 6 Nassau in the summer of 2015 (I think). It was mastered by Andy Magoffin at the House Of Miracles.

The vinyl version of this album is a signed, numbered 300 copy limited run with silk screened, hand made cover. Each copy comes with a bonus CD of the first 3 Carpet of Horses EPs assembled as a single long player.

BBBRTHR - Late Bloomer

Here's a new one. BBBRTHR is an electronic project by Paul Waltenbury. I don't get to work on electronic records nearly as often as I'd like. This one was really fun to make and I think it turned out beautifully.
We recorded this album in Paul's living room over the course of two weekends. Paul played and programmed everything. It was mixed at the Junkshop and mastered by Andy Magoffin at The House Of Miracles.

Brian Dunn - The Copicat Method

Here's another record that came out during my absence from posting here. 
Brian and I started work on this record 4 years ago. Recording progressed in fits and starts for a few years and then the record sat on a shelf for a few years while everybody involved had kids and looked after real life. The record finally came out in September and it's a gem.

There are a bunch of blog posts about the making of this album but here are the details as best as I can remember - 
This was supposed to be a quick stop gap record to give Brian some time to work up new song for his next full album. The idea was to quickly knock out a record of Ryan Levecque covers. In spite of the original plan the project took on a life of it's own and kept growing and growing. In the end this record is about as close as any us will ever get to making a Randy Newman album. Four years later this is still one of my favourite productions and I feel lucky to have been involved. Please go listen and buy a copy.

Songs by Ryan Levecque, singing and guitars by Brian Dunn, Matt Foy on drums, me on piano, organs and bass, Paul Dunn on ripping guitar solos, strings arranged by J. J. Ipsen and played beautifully by Amanda Penner and Alex McMaster, horns arranged and played by Tyler Greenleaf with baritone sax by Olivia Shortt, sleepy/drunken backing vocals by Matt Beech, Brian and myself.
Recorded at Cosmic Dave's Sound Emporium and 6 Nassau. Mixed at 6 Nassau and mastered by Andy Magoffin at the House Of Miracles.

The Dill - 52 Songs

I'm realizing that it's been ages and ages since my last post here. It's been a bit of a whirlwind over the last 6 months. 6 Nassau closed up shop at the end of June and I returned to life as a freelance engineer and producer for hire. Since then I've been getting my bearings and working on a bunch of different projects (see other posts for details).

Here's a really cool project that came out last year. The artist is Dylan Hudecki aka The Dill. Over the course of 2016 Dylan release a song a week. 52 weeks, 52 songs. I handled some of the recording on a few of them although my memory of the sessions is a little fuzzy.

The first one linked here - "Nothing Was Ever The Same" was tracked one evening at 6 Nassau with Dylan playing piano, guitar, farfisa organ, toy piano, and percussion as well as singing. Andrew Scott played drums, bass, guitar, and percussion.

The other 3 were recorded ages and ages ago at the Junkshop (aka my basement). I have almost no memory of that session except that Dylan recorded bits and pieces for a lot of songs.

Ulster Street 12:30

Here's a new addition to my slowly growing collection of new songs and demos (posted here as they are finished). This song has been knocking around unfinished for a while now and I've probably tried every instrumentation and arrangement variation possible. In the end I settled on solo vocal and guitar. It was recorded late at night while the rest of the house was asleep so there's a very quiet vibe going on that I probably wouldn't have come to any other way. It seems to work well though.

Long Night with Vish Khanna

For the last two years I've been handling the live tapings of Vish Khanna's Long Night. Long Night is a live talk show that takes place as part of the Long Winter Festival. The show is held once a month in the Black Box Theatre in the basement of the Great Hall and usually involves 3 - 4 guests, a musical act and/or stand-up comedy and features The Bicycles as house band. Vish posts the shows on his Kreative Kontrol podcast.
It's a fun, flying by the seat of your pants type of gig. Set-up time is minimal (there are usually acts on right before and right after the show) and there is no soundcheck. It's a minor miracle that it works and the results are usually quite good.

In Drift

I've been doing some mixing for Toronto surf/space/new wave band In Drift. The tracks were produced and recorded by guitarist Colin Thompson (with drums tracked by me at 6 Nassau). All songs were mixed at 6 Nassau with final polishing done at The Junkshop.

Matt Foy - åtte

Matt and I continue our long running collaboration on his new record åtte. It was written and recorded over 2 days at 6 Nassau in Toronto. As always Matt wrote the songs on the spot and played all the instruments. 
Before we started we had talked about how great it would be to make the record on tape. Unfortunately the studio only has a 2 track mix down deck. Never ones to give up we decided to record each element through one track of the tape machine to Pro Tools. Every element was recorded using a combination of three microphones - a close mic, a room mic and a far room mic. The mix of the three mics went to the tape machine and into the computer from the playback head. If you're a recording nerd and curious about the process there's a lengthy discussion of it here.
If you aren't a recording nerd and just want to hear the results you can listen below.

Ishaq - BERGSDORF (Documentary)

Last year I mixed a beautiful record for the Italian band Ishaq. It was produced and engineered by my good friend Tobin Stewart of Carpet of Horses at his Ballroom studio in Bergsdorf Germany. The band have just released a documentary about the making of the record. If you enjoy post rock, the German country side and people making beautiful music in the freezing cold you'll probably love the film.

New Writings and 4 Tracking

Just realizing it's been a while since I've posted anything here. It's been a bit of a whirlwind of a year with lots of ups and down.
One of the highlights has been a break in my 5 year (maybe 6 year?) bout of lyrical writer's block. I've started writing words and singing again. I've even started playing some shows again. It feels good.
At some point some of these tunes will probably end up as a real album of some sort but for the moment I'm just doing quick and dirty demos on the 4 track and moving on. Going back to the old cassette deck has been a really liberating experience. It's amazing how much more creative I can be when I'm not staring at a computer screen.
I'm posting finished songs to Soundcloud. You can listen below. Check back in every now and then for new works.

Night Terrors - Wardenclyffe

Matthew Beech and I started this record by emailing tracks back and forth a few years ago. I'd begun playing around with tape loops again and sent Matt some of my experiments. He added song ideas he'd been working on and we mailed things back and forth until it seemed like there was a record in there somewhere. Along the way the demos morphed into the final record.  
Started in basements in Sudbury and Toronto, main tracking and mixing at 6 Nassau, mastered by Andy Magoffin.

Ishaq - Remedies

Here's a beautiful record by the italian band Ishaq. Produced and engineered by Tobin Stewart. Mixed by me at 6 Nassau.