Black Mountain album - Toby Wren

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I recently watched the final episode of Chef’s Table with Magnus Nilsson and his restaurant Fäviken. Nilsson had classical training but didn’t want to make others’ dishes. I was struck by his creativity and his intensity. He only really started doing his thing after he had decided to stop cooking. Magnus took a job running a restaurant in the middle of nowhere - he actually just fell into it - but he said it was important to be nowhere, because all the restaurants in a given city began to resemble each other - to be ‘restaurant style'. After 2012’s Rich and Famous, I spent a lot of time thinking about life and music and wondering what my contribution was. But music is not something we choose, it is something we do or find ourselves doing. I did other things, I finished a PhD in music, I sat on APRA award panels, I taught at the Queensland Conservatorium, thinking about jazz and Australian jazz, all the time percolating my influences, consolidating my vision.

I think that cooking and music are fundamental - elemental. But cooking does not have to be about reproducing something - the safe dish that everyone loves - it can be about creating something that people have never tasted before. If the technique is impeccable, the conception is singular: this is the stuff of wonder. This doesn't mean creating something that is difficult to understand either - because Coltrane, Bill Frisell, and many other amazing musicians have created something new from the basic tools. The ingredients must be local - you can treat them how you like - preserve them, recontextualise them, stretch them to breaking - but the combination and the focus at every level must be complete. There must be absolute dedication - devotion to the art of making music.

My name is Toby Wren, and I am a guitarist and composer from Brisbane, Australia. Black Mountain will be my 6th studio album, recorded with my longtime collaborators and friends Andrew Shaw (double bass) and Chris Vale (drums). Black Mountain was going to be uncompromising and avant-garde - a dark work that reflected a difficult personal time and a loss of optimism about the state of the world. But the music that came out was not like that at all - it was intricate and beautiful, it was lyrical and heartbreaking. If it started as an exploration of loss it ended as a meditation on strength and overcoming challenge, and an affirmation that whatever the global-political, one of the most powerful things we can do is to create. 

In July we went into the studios and recorded 12 tunes for the album with the extraordinary Matt Hitchcock. We all believe it is the best work we have produced as a group, but unfortunately... you can't hear more than the short excerpts in the video. This is because even though we have recorded and mixed it, we need your help to get it to release stage. That means mastering and manufacturing the recording, and little things like postage and distribution. 

At the basic level of support you can secure a pre-release copy of the new album - either on LP or CD. At higher levels of support you can get extra bonuses such as a set of the full scores, my back catalogue (six CDs of original music), lessons, launch tickets to the Brisbane International Jazz Festival, executive producer credits, or a private gig by the Toby Wren Trio at your next function.

But the offer I would personally recommend is the free steak knives. You get not one, not two, but eight perfectly average steak knives at a super inflated price. Then you could have steak with your friends and listen to the album together.

How The Funds Will Be Used

Releasing a recording is an expensive business. It is rare for musicians to make any money from releasing a recording, but it remains an essential way for us to share our music and to get more gigs. Black Mountain will be released on CD and LP, and the finished product will be one of the most considered and singular recordings I have released. The compositions, recording, cover art and liner notes all contribute to the aesthetic effect, taking the listener on a journey into a dark and dreamy compositional world. 

Your support will help us to realise our goals, and to produce a work of real artistic merit. 

Mastering = ~ $1000

CD manufacture = $891

LP pressing = $1850 

Contributions in excess of the target will go towards a national tour and exploring avenues for international release. 

The Challenges

To be honest, I have never been more sure of a project that I have been involved with. The Black Mountain recording is a new artistic level for me, and one I hope to develop in the coming years with an increased national presence, and forays into international markets.

Releasing the recording is financially challenging, but I am driven to share the music we are making with a wider audience. It is my hope that you can share our passion for this work and help us to make and share more music in the future. 

on 15th Apr 2017 at 10:00am. The payment portal is closed now.
AU$5 +I just want to helpYou're beautiful! I know what it's like to want to help but be short on cash. Thank you!
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$20 +CD "Black Mountain"Pre-purchase "Black Mountain" and have it mailed to you as soon as it is pressed. Thank you!
17 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$35 +CD + Score Book downloadPre-order a copy of the "Black Mountain" CD and get a downloadable and printable copy of "Black Mountain: Complete Scores", the complete collection of compositions as played on Black Mountain for guitar, double bass and drums and composed by Toby Wren.
4 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$40 +"Black Mountain" Vinyl LPThe ultimate way to listen to Black Mountain. Pre-purchase "Black Mountain" in beautiful Long Playing vinyl.
8 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$50 +Black Mountain CD and a free set of steak knivesEating a nice juicy steak with your choice of accompaniments while listening to Black Mountain is one of the joys of life. I can almost taste and hear it now! Get a set of 6 very average steak knives to help you realise this dream. Steak not included. This reward also includes a descriptive text written by a six year old to enable you to get the most from this multi-sensual experience.
1 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$100 +The whole enchilada - back catalogueThe Black Mountain CD and my complete back catalogue of 5 CDs including: Rich and Famous Carnatic Jazz Experiment Everything Must Go Umlaut Babel: Fat Lip 81
2 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$150 +Music Lesson (incl. CD and scores)Get the CD, Complete Scores, and a lesson with Toby Wren (guitar, composition), Andrew Shaw (double bass) or Chris Vale (drums). Don't play an instrument? Have a 'meet the music' session for you and your friends, where Toby will introduce the music from Black Mountain and answer questions. 1 hour. For locations other than Brisbane, you will need to arrange transportation and accommodation.
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$500 +Commission a new compositionCommission a new work by Toby Wren for the trio, or another ensemble (in negotiation). The new work will have "commissioned by ..." when it appears on CD or in concert programs.
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017
AU$1000 +Private ConcertA private concert for you, your friends and family. Hear first hand the music of Black Mountain and talk to the musicians. Bookings outside Brisbane will need to arrange travel and accomodation. Includes a free copy of the LP or 2 x CDs, and a copy of the complete scores for Black Mountain.
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2017