Mojo’s Pick of the Week – TDR Nova Dynamic EQ

It’s one of those things that I knew was over my head when I first downloaded it, and now that I know a little bit more about what the hell I’m doing, I happily remembered that I already had this tool in my arsenal to fix some tricky mastering EQ problems.

What Nova basically is, is a multiband parallel dynamic EQ with optional high pass filter and low pass filter. So instead of picking an EQ band that is problematic and adjusting it once for the whole track, you can quickly and intuitively dial in dynamically responsive EQ taming or boosting.

TDR Nova

What a bonus for, say, mastering, where you don’t want to affect the whole song, just the spots that need some EQ adjustment as they arise. It’s extremely easy to use, very responsive, and extremely transparent sounding. It does way more than that, including acting as separate EQ and compressor, but that’s the basic use case.

The original Nova plugin was called Nova 76 and was written by the amazing Vladislav Goncharov of Molot and Limiter No 6 fame… for a CONTEST. So he released it free, with a very basic UI Even as I downloaded it years ago I knew that even the concept was over my head at the time, but I trusted it would come in handy someday.

Vladislav’s partnership with Tokyo Dawn Labs has resulted in a new, slick, and very intuitive update to Nova called TDR Nova, sporting much the same look as Slick EQ and the Kotelnikov compressor (also both free, and both great).


4 band parallel equalizer with auto-gain.
Optional high-pass and low-pass filters.
Full-band frequency dependent and/or split-band compression.
External side-chain support.
64-bit internal processing.

And, did I mention that the basic version is free? I highly recommend all of Vladislav’s plugins and all of Tokyo Dawn Labs plugins as well. Glad to have this one in my bag of tricks.

Tokyo Dawn Labs
Vladislav Goncharov / Vladg

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The Rush of the New

Revelations, this one.

GearsLike some of you, I bounce from task to task and project to project, in love with beginnings, not endings. Some part of my brain knows it’s important to finish strong. Or frankly, to finish at all. My heart and the rest of my brain loves the beginnings. The new. The learning. The rush.

This weekend it hit me. I’m addicted to the rush of the new. And it occurred to me that it’s the same for a new project, or class, as it is for a new love or relationship. It’s that “all synapses firing” feeling of everything being exciting and new, that RUSH. It’s the same creating music as it is falling in love. It’s the same starting any new project or class, or new book, or movie, or picking up a new piece of gear. It’s that focused feeling of a brain on fire, and it’s fantastic.

But what happens if you have a project that goes past its sell-by date? The bloom has worn off, the rush has faded, there are a hundred new things to take its place and there it sits, half done and unable to inspire the energy to finish it. This is where the struggle begins. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it — that ‘get an impossible amount of creative work done in a short time and then nothing done in a long time’ situation.

This is when it’s time to settle in and do the work for work’s sake. No project finishes itself, no relationship sails smoothly indefinitely. There will always be the need for conscious, deliberate, targeted work to be done. Do the work. Finish the task. Repair the relationship. If needed, go back to the beginning and remind yourself how it felt at the start, recover some of that energy. Then, grind it out.

Knowing this is extremely helpful. Going forward, I will look to finish projects while still in the heat of the rush. They will be imperfect, but they will be finished, and full of passion and life. As for the rest, well, that’s where maturity matters. It’s about the long game. Start strong, finish strong. What happens in between is not as important as long as you persevere, and stop letting yourself get distracted by the rush. Keep grinding.

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Mojo’s Favorite Indie Albums of 2016

Let the indie bands hang with the big dogs where they deserve to be? Or let them shine on their own? Tough call. Next year I think I’ll bring it back to one list, but for now, I wanted to highlight some great indie releases under a spotlight of their own. These were my favorite discoveries this year.

Kyng Breathe in the Water

This album grows on me more each time I listen. It’s like Spiritual Beggars with a sprinkle of Alter Bridge. Melodic, soft and heavy in turns, and just flat out good. I saw them live in San Francisco with Clutch and Zakk Sabbath, but they were too loud for their own good and the music didn’t get a chance to breathe the way it should. However, this album is definitely worth picking up, it’s the only one that I’ve bumped the new Metallica for lately. I would have put this on my top five of the year if I had only one list.

Breathe in the Water

Year of the Cobra ..In the Shadows Below

The debut full length release of this Seattle duo is a revelation of slow burn sludge, tasty and timeless. White Wizard is an instant classic. Amy rocks the bass and vocals, __ kills it on drums. There’s still a little of the LA rock fuzz punk from her previous band HDR in tracks like Temple of Apollo. The rest is pure slow stoner bliss.

The Watchers Sabbath Highway

Debut EP from new San Francisco stoner supergroup of sorts – the Watchers is made up of members of Spiralarms, Orchid, and . They’ve been touring heavily on the west coast since they put this EP together, catch them if you can!

Sabbath Highway

WhiteNails First Trip

Damn this is some solid heavy rock. Right in there with some of the best stoner type rock I’ve heard lately, this Quebec City band’s debut gets you going right away with Damn Judas and just ramps it up from there. Dead in Time is just flat out killer. Keep an eye on these guys.

Electric Citizen Higher Time

Balls out female fronted rock and roll with a 60s/70s throwback feel and a punk attitude. This Cincinnati band kicks serious indie ass.

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