At the Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York, I was asked to give the inaugural keynote lecture to the Student Delegation Assembly, which was a great honour. Alongside Professor Justin Paterson, I also delivered a paper and tutorial on our Arts and Humanities research Council funded variPlay interactive music app project, which received a brilliant reception and some valuable industry focused discussions.
My new band Asympt Man played our first gig at the fabulous The Water Rats venue in London, supported on stage by some of my most talented friends. We also launched our third music video for the song Thinking Of You. During September I also presented my research at The Art of Record Production Conference in Huddersfield and hosted the first Audio Engineering Society Mastering Conference at the University of Westminster in London.
The first variPlay interactive music apps, which I have built, all went live in August. Most impactful is the app for Ximena Sarinana who is a huge artist in Mexico, signed to the Warner Music Group record label - get the app free here! Other free apps for Vanessa Knight (Regent St Records) and Asympt Man (Red Planet Records) were also launched. As part of the funded AHRC research project, there will be more apps to come over the next few months...
Book chapter completed for the Bloomsbury Handbook on Music Production, and my keynote lecture at last year's Music Production Education Conference has now been accepted as a paper in a special edition of the Journal on Music Technology Education.
An exciting month - I played guitar for Daisy and The Dark at a wonderful gig at Alexandra Palace - one of my favourite music venues in London!
I had a fun recording and mix session with Verity and Violet in a beautifully equipped recording studio. I also completed development and launched my novel iDrumTune Pro app for Android in the Google Play Store.
A mega mix session on the 29 track Mediaeval Baebes album has seen the project finished! Now over to mastering...
Recording and mixing with Medaieval Baebes - including orchestral harp, strings, mediaeval drums, percussion and voices. The new album will be released on 2018 and it's starting to sound epic!
Back to New York for the Audio Engineering Society conference, where I was excited to present a panel alongside some great Grammy Winning engineers: Mandy Parnell (Bjork, Aphex Twin, The XX), Steve Baughman (Michael Jackson, Dr Dre, Eminem), Adam Gonsalves (Sufjan Stevens, Peter Buck) and Trevor Gibson (Bruce Dickenson, Henry Rollins). I also presented a paper on percussion acoustics and tuning the resonant drumhead of popular drums.
I hosted the Innovation In Music Conference at the University of Westminster, with keynote presenters Imogen Heap, Talvin Singh, Ken Scott, Mandy Parnell, Peter Oxendale and sponsored by iZotope, Focusrite, PMC and Prism Sound. It was wonderful event, and we'll be posting interview and keynote films online very soon...
An excellent month for music production - I spent a week in the studio with Daisy and The Dark co-producing/co-writing tracks which have now gone off to Grammy winner Simon Gogerly (U2, Gwen Stefani, Paloma Faith, Underworld) for mixing. I also had the huge pleasure of working with a great friend and Mercury Music Prize winning legend Talvin Singh OBE, recording a film score piece featuring the Indian Ghandarva Choir while they were on an international tour of the UK.
iDrumTune Pro is here! After months of work my new iDrumTune app is now available in the app store here: http://bit.ly/iDrumTunePro had some great response from drummers and engineers, and launched a new website too, so please go check it out and spread the word of quantitative drum tuning! www.idrumtune.com
May is always the Audio Engineering Society European conference which I participated in a few panel discussions with some of my studio heroes including mastering engineer Mandy Parnell (Bjork, Apex Twin, Jungle), producer/mixer Phil Harding (Kylie, East Seventeen, Dead or Alive) and engineering legend Haydn Bendall (Kate Bush, Tina Turner, Massive Attack, everyone). Fabulous company to be in!
I made a brief appearance on the BBC One Show talking to Dom Littlewood about music apps , fun times :) There's a little mention of it here. I also wrote a piece for The Conversation on analogue mixing consoles and in particular the Abbey Rd EMI desk which was used by Pink Floyd and recently sold for $1.8M - have a read here.
Focused iDrumTune iPhone App development happening this month, so it's curtains closed and code away until everything works! Love being in the coding world, I get so embroiled in the challenge of creating something unique, but I can turn into a part-time recluse! Luckily it's only for a few weeks. I did manage to get out to see my good friend and mastering engineer Russ Hepworth-Sawyer at MottoSound in Shipley (a beautiful part of the world) to talk about all things mastering and a new book project we are starting to discuss.
Lots of publications happening - I have written chapters in each of the following books just published, all worth a good look:
- The Singer SongWriter Handbook, Bloomsbury
- Innovation In Music II, Future Technology Press
Back in the studio, this time recording drums for the Mediaeval Baebes on the SSL Duality console. I'm really looking forward to mixing this album with Musical Director Katharine Blake. I'm also working on an updated version of my iDrumTune iPhone App which helps percussionists to tune drums - there will be a new version released later in 2017, watch this space!...
I joined a number of amazing audio and music academics in Denmark for the Art of Record Production Conference, this time presenting more details on the Daisy and The Dark Red Planet App that I built with Prof Justin Paterson at the London College of Music. Here's a little blog post by musicologist Joe Bennett on my presentation and app demonstration - read here...
Moving house and moving my Red Planet Studios to a new location in West Hampstead, London - new photos to come in 2017!
Headed to the Audio Engineering Society conference in Los Angeles to present a panel discussion alongside George Massenburg and Mandy Parnell. I also presented some interesting research on Sonic QR Codes which I have been developing with one of my PhD students, it involves embedding secret inaudible data in 96 kHz music files - see here for more details...
Great to get busy on the SSL Duality console which I now have regular access to. Started off with some fun sessions with singer-songwriter David Greeves and fabulous drummer Steve Maclachlan.
Time for a holiday! Oh, except for mixing the Daisy and The Dark live show and mastering an exclusive Canada-only album release for Ethan Ash.
Having co-produced, mixed, engineered and performed guitar for the latest Daisy and The Dark EP - Circus - I'm really excited to see it released and the amazing video now available on YouTube. We filmed the video on a dark midnight shoot with Daisy and her fire-hupla nemesis sharing a hypnotic dance. Watch the video here... We also performed an amazing sell out launch showcase at Miranda in Shoreditch - read a fab review of the gig here...
I've accepted a new academic job as Professor of Commercial Music and Creative Industries at the University of Westminster in London. Exciting times and mixed emotions to leave my role as Director of the CoDE Research Institute, especially after 11 great years at Anglia Ruskin University. New adventures await!
I worked closely with BAFA winning director Shreepali Patel creating the sound design for a unique multiscreen documentary film on human trafficking - The Crossing. The artpiece was exhibited at the Ruskin Digital Gallery using bluetooth headphones for a unique immersive experience.
I'm a co-chair for the Audio Engineering Society conference in Paris in June, and I'm honoured to have been invted to participate in a panel discussion on 'Mixing Music' by 14-time Grammy winner Richard King. George Massenburg will be on the panel too so it promises to be an energetic debate! Have a look at the workshop details here...
I've co-written a new single with Daisy and The Dark and had a fun time on the video shoot too. Watch this space as it will be released in the Autumn of 2016. I'm also creating the sound design for a unique multiscreen exhibition piece called The Crossing, which will be exhibited in the Ruskin Digital Art Gallery in May.
I'll be hosting the CoDE Conference on Creative Communication in Cambridge in May 2016. Get your tickets here and also check out our great poster alongside.
I gave a prestigious lecture for Cambridge TV on my interactive digital music research, which will be aired on TV shortly. I also gave an interview for Gizmodo website on machine listening and algorithms for predicting the success of commercial music - read it online here
I finished writing a number of publications this month, particularly chapters for the Bloomsbury Companion for the Singer Songwriter and Routledge's Perspectives on Music Production, both books will be available later in the year.
Back in the studio with Daisy and The Dark, this time mixing b-sides for the next single.
The From the Deep album which I worked on as recording, mix and mastering engineer was released to a brilliant reception. The album was reviewed as 8/10 in Mojo Magazine and received a full 3 page feature in Classic Rock Magazine.
Great to be back in New York for the AES Convention, to present my research on interactive music apps and in particular the innovative Daisy and The Dark Red Planet App. You can download my tutorial presentation slides here: AES_NY15_InteractiveApp.pdf
Wow - my iDrumTune percussion tuning app has now received over 30,000 downloads in total since its launch - all drummers and studio engineers out there should try it out here.. there's also a free lite version here if you're not sure!
This month I've also initiated a research working group with the world famous Abbey Road Studios and Big Bear Audio - more details on that in due course...
Back in the studio with Ethan Ash, recording a live EP in a beautiful concert hall in Cambridge, then back to the mix studio. I also mastered a new US single for the Mediaeval Baebes that will be launched to coincide with their upcoming US tour.
During August I led a team of filmmakers creating a documentary with the world's biggest medical research institute, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota - 10 days of on location filming healthcare procedures and interviews with patients and clinicians. A definite adventure!
The Daisy and The Dark Red Planet EP and App is launched to a fabulous reception at Dolby's London HQ. Watch the stunning video to Red Planet which I engineered, mixed and co-produced, and download the app for free here...
We had some awful news in June, that of the passing of our good friend and fearless musician Nick Marsh, with his funeral taking place in July. Nick had huge international success with his band Flesh For Lulu in the 80's and then as a solo artist in more recent years. I helped to record, mix and master his most recent album, a collection of duets with his wife Katharine Blake under the band name From the Deep. The album is to be released on 30th October 2015 and it will be a beautiful fitting tribute to his life and the musical legacy he leaves behind.
I organised and hosted the Innovation in Music 2015 conference at Anglia Ruskin University. Highlights were Tim Exile's fabulous keynote and performance, and I was lucky to deliver the keynote interview with one of my heroes - mix engineer David Wrench (FKA Twiggs, Jungle, Philip Selway). A video of the interview is coming soon...
I visited the Audio Engineering Society Conference in Warsaw, where I presented a tutorial on music apps and chaired a panel discussion featuring George Massenburg, Darcy Proper, Ronald Prent and Mandy Parnell. There's a great write up on our panel session in Pro Sound News here...
More gigs with Daisy and The Dark and the fabulous I Strip For Couples album was released, which I recorded strings for. You can read an article on this recording session in Sound on Sound here..
All systems go with the Daisy and The Dark EP and iPhone app project, which has seen us complete the mixes for the Red Planet EP and signed off the mastering with our favourite goldenears Mandy Parnell. Dividing my time between mixing and writing iPhone app software leads to many a late night!
I also submitted a huge research bid to the European Commission on innovations relating to high-definition music production and playback, fingers crossed for some funding...
Ethan Ash released his Face To Face EP, which was recorded and produced by myself, mixed by Grammy winner Simon Gogerly and mastered by Grammy winner Mandy Parnell. Great to see this EP released on the world and receiving some fabulous feedback.
Daisy and The Dark's debut single Waltzing is released along with a beautiful video directed by BAFTA winner Shreepali Patel. It's great to see the Daisy project moving up through the gears! I'm organising and hosting the next Innovation In Music Conference in Cambridge in June 2015, and we're starting to announce some exciting keynote speakers from the music industry - check out the conference wbsite at www.innovationinmusic.com.
Back in the studio for intense mixing sessions with Daisy and The Dark. Also Ethan Ash launched his new video for Chasing Your Love which we produced together during 2014. My Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Interactive Digital Music project is hotting up. Some fun app development in full swing and looking forward to showcasing our innovations in the near future...
Presented my album-app research at the Art of Record Production conference in Oslo, which meant catching up with many good friends including Richard James Burgess (producer Spandau Ballet) and Phil Harding (Producer/Engineer for Kylie, Dead or Alive and East 17). The book Innovation In Music which I co-edited was published this month too.
Exciting times with Daisy an The Dark, finalising the debut single Waltzing and perfoming at the single campaign launch in London King's Cross. Also out and about mastering the Ethan Ash EP with Mandy Parnell, who has received two 2015 Grammy nominations for her work on the new Annie Lennox and Aphex Twin albums. Also another string recording session for the I Strip For Couple album. My book on digital electronics was also translated and published in Chinese, which is quite surreal! The Mediaeval Baebes album 'Of Kings and Angels' was also released on vinyl, my first double vinyl release.
A trip to the Audio Engineering Society Conference in Los Angeles brought lots of new contacts and inspirations. Excellent times at studio parties at Ocean Way and Steven Slate's event at NRG Studios in Hollywood. October was also consumed by working with Grammy winner Simon Gogerly on the final Ethan Ash mixes for his forthcoming EP.
A busy month including some mastering for the Mediaeval Baebes and final production tasks for Ethan Ash's next EP. Daisy and The Dark's Take Cover EP was also released, along with the video for the final track Maps.
July / August 2014
Back on the road playing guitar for Daisy and The Dark, including performances at The Secret Garden Party - view photos here. Also presented my Album App research project at various events - see here for more details.
I gave a series of lectures at the Natural History Museum titled 'The Future of Music', discussing a number of concepts and research projects relating to how we make and distribute music now and in the future. Watch my lecture here...
I also published an update to my iDrumTune iPhone app, which helps drummers and sound engineers to tune and setup drums, check it out here...
Intense production work with Ethan Ash and Daisy and The Dark continues!...
Back on stage playing guitar for Daisy and The Dark at a few gigs, as well as mixing and mastering the first single from Sarah Kayte Foster's solo project. I also ran a workshop at the Audio Engineering Society Conference in Berlin alongside award winning sound engineers Mandy Parnel, Andreas 'Lupo' Lubich and Jonathon Shakhovskoy. I've also been working in production with Ethan Ash and Grammy winning mix engineer Simon Gogerly - some exciting new tunes are materialising!
I've been working on the new Francois and the Atlas Mountains album - Piano Ombre - in helping develop the first ever album in the form of an iPhone App. This app is the first to be chart eligible so represents a brand new way to buy music, including artwork, song lyrics, producer credits, bonus tracks and more - all the things we used to get from vinyl. I've also been talking about this project and the future of music formats in general on various BBC radio stations.
Mixing and mastering the new From The Deep album, which is sounding fantastic and really putting the new studo through its paces. I also presented at the Institute of Acoustic's symposium on Sound Recording Techniques - here's the link to my presentation slides.
My string recording session with I Strip For Couples was written up as a Sound On Sound feature - here's the link to the online article.
Back in the mix room with Ethan Ash, Daisy and The Dark and I Strip For Couples - busy times!
A full two weeks in the studio with Daisy and The Dark kicks off 2014 in style, including a few sessions with the fabulous Claudia McKenzie on bass. Also tracking strings for the new I Strip For Couples record which is going to sound amazing!
Mediaeval Baebes album Of Kings And Angels (engineered and mixed by Rob Toulson) is released, reaching the top 10 of the UK Classical charts and receiving 4/5 star reviews in both The Times and The Sun newspapers. The Mediaeval Baebes perform a sold out UK Christmas tour and appear live on ITV on Christmas Eve and on BBC Radio 2 on Christmas Day.
Rob interviews mulit-platinum producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Paloma Faith) in front of a live audience at the Innovation In Music 2013 Conference in York, UK. A number of papers are also presented by Rob on new research in music production, in collaboration with legendary mastering engineers Barry Grint and Ray Staff.
Rob delivers a prestigeous Audio Engineering Society lecture at Dolby Laboratories' London HQ. The lecture covers a number of cutting edge sound engineering and music production research studies.
Rob leads a workshop titled Mastering Our Future Music at the Audio Engineering Society 2013 convention in New York. The workshop panel also includes Grammy nominated mastering engineers Mandy Parnell (Bjork, Sigor Ros), Michael Romanowski and mixer Jonathan Shakhovskoy (Shakira, U2, Beady Eye).
Prduction and recording with Daisy And The Dark, including a fantastic drum session with Alex Reeves of Dizzee Rascal and Bat For Lashes.
Ethan Ash's single Haven't Got There Yet is released (produced and engineered by Rob). Rob and Ethan also work on songwriting and demo recording with Janet Devlin.
Rob is mixing the Mediaeval Baebes album Of Kings And Angels and a number of tracks for female fronted metal band Pythia.