Canadian music producer Peter Joseph Moore passed away on November 11, 2023. His creative, low-budget recordings of the Cowboy Junkies were what initially made him famous. In 1976, while attending the University of Western Ontario (“UWO”) in London, Ontario, Peter and a few other students started a campus radio station, CHRW-FM. Being the on-air DJ for the new music show, he did covers of new wave and punk rock.
It was hard for the station to fulfill its mandate to play “33% Canadian content” at the time because most of the records of the contemporary musicians were imported from England. The lack of Canadian releases led Moore to start recording live performances of touring Canadian punk rock bands at his own expense and airing them on his radio show, “The Simon Less Radio Program”. In 1979, while still completing his degree in anthropology, Peter founded the record label Silent Head Records and provided his neighborhood’s punk movement with a rehearsal space in his rented house.
By 1981, his self-taught engineering and producing skills had reached a professional level, and he started experimenting with jazz and classical music. After graduating from UWO in 1982, he founded MDI Productions, which he moved to Toronto and incorporated in 1986. Moore continued to write music for rock, jazz, and classical records in Toronto, as well as for television series and motion pictures. He was hired in 1985 by Adcom Electronics, Canada’s largest professional video supplier, to create and manage a new audio area. 1989 was his last year, and he made more sales than 1.8 million.
All of Canada’s professional music, film, and television studios—Film House, CBC Toronto, Pathe, Manta, CBC Montreal, Sounds Interchange, Eastern, PFA, Sound House, and CBC Vancouver—were under his design and outfitting supervision. In 1988, Moore recorded The Trinity Session, the now-famous Cowboy Junkies one-microphone recording. First released by Latent Records in Canada in early 1988, the album was then republished worldwide by RCA New York City in 1989. It was filmed on November 27, 1987, at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Ontario, with a Beta VCR connected to a single ambisonic stereo microphone.
It became an international success story after selling over 1.5 million copies in its first year of release.The source: He left his position at Adcom to focus on music creation, mastering, and restoration full-time. In 1993, he produced Willie P. Bennett’s album Take My Own Advice. He was the mixer, engineer, and music producer for the 1996 movie Hard Core Logo. He co-wrote three of the tracks with Swamp Baby, while Hard Core Logo played the rest songs to replay. For their efforts on Hard Core Logo, he and his co-writers received the 1996 Genie Award for Original Song. He later appeared as a recording engineer in the sequel “Hard Core Logo 2”.
More recently, Moore has come to be known as a Master in the re-mastering of analog media for the digital age. Moore “painstakingly restored each minute of the 40-year-old tapes” after a long-lost tape from Joni Mitchell’s Amchitka benefit concert was found. This finding helped spur the foundation of Greenpeace. Moore encountered a similar predicament when Garth Hudson of The Band decided in 2013 that it was time to digitize the Basement Tapes, which he had recorded in 1967 when Bob Dylan was recuperating at Music from Big Pink after his 1966 motorcycle accident.
Although a few poor, unofficial versions of these recordings have surfaced over time, no official edition has ever been released. Twenty quarter-inch tape reels held twenty different performances. Moore claims to have “mastered the set, transferring the originals.” Garth Hudson stated that “Peter Moore with his incredible talent …. assembled and revived tape that had been crinkled, stretched.” “Several reels were mouldy and Moore had to delicately unwind and re-spool some 1,800 feet of ‘very, very thin’ reel-to-reel tape by hand on a few others to ‘flatten them out.'” Critics liked the finished product greatly, and Moore was recognized with a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album in February 2016.
A Celebration of his life will be held Saturday, November 25, 4-6 PM, Church of the Holy Trinity, 10 Trinity Sq., Toronto, ON M5G 1B1. Please use the South Entrance, on the west side of Eaton Centre.
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