Monday, December 22, 2008


You know, I just posted about how I don't have gear-lust anymore.

That's true.  But it doesn't mean I don't have gear goals.  : )

I have a massive (!) amount of debt.  I am making good progress removing it, but it will be a good three to five years before I am actually earning what I'm earning, rather than dumping 60% of it into fixing past mistakes.

When I get there, though, I may "upgrade" my studio. The plan, at present, is to buy a Virus TI, and a Machinedrum. I'll continue to use Ableton Live. I'll hang on to Stylus RMX for the drum-sample-ish loops, but I'll stop using most other soft-synths. And that's it.  ...I mean, if I find the TI isn't giving me adequate voices, I'll get a second one.  ...But the point is those are the the best tools I've experienced for music-making, and I would love to dig my heals in and master them.

...Not to say that will be the end. I'm sure Access and Elektron and Abelton will continue to make new products in the same vein, and I'll happily upgrade if they are true improvements. The point is more that I'd really like to have a minimal studio, but an excellent one.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best Demo I've Seen

Best demo I've ever seen:

...You are, of course, watching a movie, but it was rendered in realtime, folks.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


...Shhh... this is a secret, just for readers of this blog.  (...and, I guess, anyone who stumbles on it...)

I've posted a "pre-release" of my upcoming EP on the Archive. It's called "...Of Control", a play on my artist name ("inversion of control" is a term used in software design. One of the tracks includes a sample of me reading the definition of the term, though it's pretty muffled and difficult to pick out.)

It's only three of the four tracks, and I reserve the right to make more changes before the actual release date.  They are also relatively low-quality files, and there is no album-art associated with them.

...But it will give you an idea of what the final product will be like.

I'm proud of these tracks.  I put a lot of work into them (a lot of work!), and just felt like I really had to "get them out there", sooner than later. In fact, I've completed entire albums faster than I've written any one of these tracks. ...Well, early albums, anyway.  : ) While you may not like the style of this music, I hope you will at least find these tracks reasonably well-mastered, deeply textured, and filled with interesting details.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music Piracy

Downloading copyrighted music is like shoplifting.  (This message is cross-posted on my personal and music blog.)

...That's what most people will tell you (example), and I disagree.

Personally, I think selling MP3s is like selling water. Misguided and ultimately abusive.

I understand artists need to make a living doing what they do. I understand that thousands of jobs revolve around the existing music industry, and I understand that stealing music is stealing money from those people. I'm sorry about that.


...The industry was built on a house of straw.  Sad though it may be, those people's lives will have to change when it tumbles.  ...just as it is with any industry that isn't sound. And, frankly, I don't think any of them will be out of a job when the dust settles: it will just look different. Well, except maybe the executives. They might suffer most. But industry executives are, in no uncertain terms, taking more money from the pockets of artists than we are. My heart will not bleed for them.


No product is being stolen. There's no box, no wrapping, no store. No effective way to prevent it. It's not shoplifting, and the ananlogy is a harmful one.

What's being stolen are services, and in such minute quantities (after it reaches an adequate number of ears) that the "debt" any individual incurs from their transgression is negligible.

Pay-per-download is not an efficient economic model. MP3s could be subsidized externalities. There's an opportunity here. Music is an enormous part of our culture. Enormous! In my humble, the industry needs to stop crying foul (they can't stop it) and do something productive. There are at least a half-dozen superb ideas to accomplish this already: I won't bother repeating them*.

I have no qualms with people freely downloading music, as long as they ultimately support the artists they appreciate.

And remember: I release my music for free**.

* Not often suggested, but: what if you put MP3s in the public domain? This could be the greatest thing since the Public Library System!

** Actually, I once made a few hundred bucks, at, which was subsidized, freely-downloadable music.  That model failed: it was too early and their math was way off, but that's a story for another day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Notes While Making the Next EP

I have spent quite a bit of time in Ableton Live this past week, trying to craft a four-track EP for release early next year. Some observations/notes:

  • I love Vember Surge. ...Not as much as Predator. But close. It's brilliant. Very digital, very bright, very electronic. Predator has become my go-to synth because of it's ease and flexibility, but Surge is the synth that I use when something needs to stand out in the mix. ...And that it does!
  • I've tried my hand at playing some live percussion (in the form of loops). In so-doing, I realized that I have a complete lack of rhythm. And so I've been working on it: really pushing myself to get the timing right and not just rely on quantization and hand-tweaking recordings. I'm getting better. But not good. : )
  • I sold my Virus. This is huge news, since it was definitely the best instrument in my rig. But I switched machines (from a PowerMac to a MacBook), and didn't have the slot for it. And I needed the money. : | To be honest, I'm not really missing it yet. Weird. I suppose part of the reason for that is:
  • I have become less focused on synthesizers. They've shifted from being "what makes music fun" to... just an instrument for creating fun music. I don't spend any time looking at other synths. None. I don't stop in to Guitar Center to check out the synths. It doesn't even cross my mind. I unsubscribed from most of my "gear lust" news feeds. It's just not as important to me any more. Predator does the trick, Surge adds some interest. Which reminds me:
  • I am not really using Atmosphere any more. I wish I could... but it just doesn't work on a MacBook, period. I mean... it works, but it's annoying and prohibitively slow. I still usually find cause to put one track of it into any given mix, but I have to immediately freeze it and move on: it's really just THAT slow.
  • I decided to go through my (small) music collection and pull out the tracks that were most inspirational: the kinds of tracks (at least, elements of which) I would like to emulate when writing my own music. I ended up with 46 exemplar tracks. 15 of them are mine... so that says something. The other recurring artists were Nine Inch Nails (yes, really), Tangerine Dream, and Esem.
  • I am enjoying these four new tracks. I hope you will, too. ; )