Farm Crime Season 2 - Soundtrack by FemBots

Farm Crime Season 2 is now available to stream on CBC Gem. You can watch all 6 new episodes here.

As with season one Brian Poirier and I composed and recorded the score here at the Junkshop. Season one was recorded on a Tascam 488 cassette 8 track machine. For season two we moved up to a Tascam 238 (the Rolls Royce of cassette 8 tracks) and the Vestax MR66 (6 track cassette). Once tracking was done everything was transfered to Pro Tools for mixing and editing. 
Covid caused some heavy delays with this season. The production stretched over a year with lots of downtime followed by a frantic scramble of activity. Brian and I were luck enough to have some fruitful sessions early on in the pandemic when we could still be inside together but some of the pieces had to be written by correspondence. Never our favourite way to work. Still, I'm quite proud of what we accomplished when just getting the season done and out feels like an accomplishment.

Blast from the Past - parts 1 &2

My long lost, long dead band Hummer has finally been dragged into the future and onto the internets. Hummer were a short lived rock & roll band that existed in the lull between the Toronto indie rock booms of the early 90's and early 2000's. The band was made up of myself, Brian Poirier, Mark Hansen and Ron Hawkins. We released one record, made a second but didn't put it out and with the exception of a handful of shows existed mostly in our own imaginations. 
Brian and I started the bedroom recording project that would become FemBots during Hummer's last year ('97 I think). Mark joined Ron in the Rusty Nails.

You can find both of our long lost records in all the usual spots - Bandcamp, Spotify and the rest. Go listen to me learning to sing and sounding like I'm having an aneurysm.

In Principio (Incantations I) - Heather Dale

In Principio is the first release from Heather Dale's Incantations project. If my info is correct she'll be releasing a song every month from this project.
Incantations takes an ambient approach to early classical and medieval melodies. We did the main recording in late spring of 2019 at the Junkshop with Heather on vocals, keys, flutes and hammered dulcimer, Ben Deschamps on synth guitar and all manner of stringed instruments, Ben Grossman on percussion and hurdy-gurdy and myself on tape loops and studio treatments.

I've been mixing and mastering the songs here at the Junkshop.

More to come.....

FemBots - Back to the Junkshop

After a 10 year break for life, kids and other diversions my band is back in the studio making new music. We started at the beginning of December and tracked 5 songs over a somewhat relaxed weekend. This time around we're working live off the floor as a mostly acoustic quartet. Our old friends Nathan Lawr or Greg Smith round out the band on drums and upright bass.
It was a tight squeeze getting everything set up in my tiny studio but the results are sounding really great. My set-up photos are below. 
More to come....

    My station - vocals, guitar and piano
    Brian's world - acoustic guitars
The piano and acoustic guitar stations viewed from the drum area
Same as above with a view of the "control room"

Whitetails - Havin' A Time

Here's a great one that I mixed for the Buffalo NY band Whitetails. They tracked it themselves at home (and really nailed it) and I mixed at the Junkshop. Hopefully we'll hear a lot more from these guys. They're fantastic.

Matt Foy - Standard

Here's a new entry in my long series of collaborations with Matt Foy. This one was recorded to 6 track cassette (!) at Cosmic Dave's in Sudbury. Mixed and mastered at the Junkshop. As always, Matt wrote the songs on the spot in the the studio and played all the instruments.

The cassette 6 track used is a Vestax MR66 made towards the end of the cassette multitrack boom in late 80's or early 90's. It's a great machine that can give surprisingly good results. It's tons of fun too.


Howard Buckstien - King Of Mars

King Of Mars is Howard Buckstien's 7th record and his second collection of children's music. Although it's aimed at kids calling it children's music does it a bit of a disservice. Howard tells universal stories of growing up, birthday parties, bikes and breakfast and wraps them up with smart, funny lyrics and clever arrangements.
Howard and I have been making records together since the early 2000's. In my humble opinion this is his best work yet.

Guitars Alive - Latin Groove

Recorded live off the floor at Cosmic Dave's in Sudbury. Mixed at the Junkshop. Mastered by Andy Magoffin at The House Of Miracles.

Tracking with Ali Milad

Here's my set-up shot for a session with Ali Milad.
1940's RCA Varicoustic for the vocal. AKG 414 and D224 on the guitar (plus a DI for fun processing down the road).
Ali's guitar is the whole band so we're aiming to capture it well.


Heather Dale - Sphere

Heather Dale has released her 20th record. She, Ben Deschamps and I produced the record over a few weeks in the spring of 2018. Tracking happened at Sonology and mixing was done at the Junkshop. The record was mastered by Andy Magoffin at the House of Miracles.
The record expands on Heather & Ben’s Celtic influences and incorporates a heavy does of electronics and world music to the mix.

The record was release with a concert at Trinity Church in Toronto. 

Lowest Of The Low Play the Weakerthans

On the hottest day of the year, in a studio with no air conditioning the Lowest of the Low and I recorded Pamphleteer by the Weakerthans for a charity tribute album. We started at the Dining Room in Little Italy but the heat killed the computer so we relocated to the Junkshop for overdubs. The main tracking was live off the floor with a guide vocal. We redid vocals and overdubbed back ups, acoustic guitar and horns. Ron mixed everything at home and it was done and out pretty quickly afterwards.



Heather Dale - Ambient Spaces

At the start of the summer of 2019 Heather, Ben Deschamps and I started work on an ambient project tentatively titled Ambient Spaces. The concept was to make a series of ambient songs based on early classical music. The arrangements are largely vocals, synth and percussion (provided by the amazing Ben Grossman) interspersed with hurdy-gurdy, hammered dulcimer, viola and violin.

The project has begun to sprawl but we're approaching the finish line and it should start rolling out shortly.




Ben & Heather in the "lounge".

Oli Palkovits Up For Best Album at NOMFA

Congradulations to Oli Palkovits on being nominated for a Northern Ontario Music and Film Award. His record Flower of Atacama is up for best album. We made the record together back in 2017 over three nights at Cosmic Dave's and I mixed and mastered it at the Junkshop. It's a gem.

Orchestral Bells!

Joe LaBine hard at work trying to figure out how to play these things. Apparently it involves a ladder and rubber hammers.

Guitars Alive Quartet - November 2018

Who are these mysterious, faceless men? What are they hiding?
Here are my mic positioning photos and notes from my first session with the virtuoso Guitars Alive Quartet making what will become a record called Latin Groove.
We recorded 12 songs live over two weekends at Cosmic Dave's in Sudbury. I mixed the record at the Junkshop and Andy Magoffin mastered it at the House Of Miracles.
Latin Groove will be released in June 2019.

U87 on Philip Candelaria's classical guitar.
Paul Dunn on steel string acoustic with an AT4050
Gary DiSalle's Princeton Reverb mic'd with a Shure SM59
Paul and the AT4050 again. The tape on the floor marks mic positions for acoustic and dobro guitars.
That's Gary off in the distance. Room mics in the foreground. 
Tom Linklater's bass amp mic'd with a Beyer M88
My cheat sheet with mic/player layout and signal chain notes.

Heather Dale - String Session

Here we are at the Music Gallery tracking strings for Heather Dale's new record Sphere (out June 2019 on Amphis Music).

Farm Crime Soundtrack - FemBots Reunion

After an eight year hiatus Brian Poirier and I revived our band (FemBots) to write and record the soundtrack for the CBC documentary series Farm Crime. After such a long break neither of us were sure if or how things were going to work. It was a little awkward for about three minutes and then we fell right back into things as if we'd never stopped.
We met for writing and recording sessions once a week (usually Thursdays) for about four months and were given the freedom to do whatever we'd like. Everything was recorded on the trusty old Tascam 488 eight track cassette machine and then transferred to the computer for editing and mixing. It was hands down the best, easiest and most fun soundtrack gig I've ever had. I wish they could all be so good.
We wrote a lot of music and have decided to keep going with our weekly sessions. I'm sure there's an album or two (or three or four) in there somewhere. Stay tuned for details as they unfold.

Farm Crime season one is now streaming. View it by clicking HERE.


I’ve been doing more and more live comedy recording this year. Much of that work has sprung from my long running association with Vish Khanna’s Long Night talk show. Vish puts on a monthly live talk show as part of Toronto’s Long Winter festival. I’ve been recording it for his Kreative Kontrol podcast for the last four or five years now. The shows range from one on one interviews and live performances to lengthy panel discussions on topics of the day. It’s always a good time

My work with Vish has lead to down the rabbit hole of live comedy recording. It’s a field of recording that never crossed my mind but I have to say that I’m glad I stumbled into it. It’s been a really fun and rewarding trip.

In the last year I’ve made records for -

Sara Hennessey (They Know Too Much)

The Williamson Playboys (Still Alive For The Holidays)

Flo & Joan (Kindness of Stranglers and Victory Flaps),

Andrew Johnston (Sips Tea).

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.