Geektown Anthem

My friend Kurt launched a pod­cast, called Wel­come to Geek Town, in which he tries to demys­ti­fy all the back­ground info it feels like you need in order to enjoy just about any­thing these days. He asked me to write a theme song.

We agreed that it should­n’t be too eso­teric. No odd time sig­na­tures, no twelve tone rows, no climb­ing inside a piano to play the strings with my teeth.

Here’s what I came up with. It’s way too long:

If you’re look­ing for the dance remix by Zephyr, that’s over here:

Any­way… Go give Kurt’s show a lis­ten, and then hit him up with some ques­tions.


Way back in the day, my sequencer (I want to say Mas­ter Tracks Pro, but it might have been Cake­walk at this point) had a func­tion where I could stretch a block of MIDI notes to any dura­tion, inde­pen­dent of tra­di­tion­al mea­sure divi­sions. So, effec­tive­ly, you could make parts of your ensem­ble play at dif­fer­ent tem­pos than each oth­er (march­ing to the beat of their own drum­mers, as it were).

“Why would you want that?” is the obvi­ous ques­tion, and I don’t real­ly have an answer for you except “I was at CalArts.”

I made a piece there, where every instru­ment in the orches­tra (split into pairs) was play­ing Bach’s Inven­tion #1, at inde­pen­dent but very slow tem­pos.  (At full speed, it would have been an impen­e­tra­ble mess. But at a glac­i­er’s pace, the chaos feels like delib­er­ate choices.)

It’s hard to describe, real­ly. Your mind would pick out repeat­ing motifs, but could­n’t iden­ti­fy a loop­ing pat­tern. New melodies would emerge, and feel like they’d always been there. If you left and came back, you’d hear some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. But if you’d stayed to lis­ten, you would­n’t have felt a tran­si­tion from one realm to the next.

I believe the expe­ri­ence last­ed for sev­en­teen days from begin­ning to end.

I was nev­er able to con­vince human per­form­ers to take on this chal­lenge. And even if I had, there was no media capa­ble of record­ing it back then.

I’m sure the only ver­sion that exists is on an unla­beled flop­py disk (which I no longer have dri­ves to read), in a pro­pri­etary file for­mat (for soft­ware that does­n’t exist anymore).


Soft­ware does­n’t real­ly let you do that anymore.

So, I built some­thing this morn­ing which restores this ability.

Again, the “why” part is hard­er to pin down…

There’s a few things to clean up, still.
I’ll share the device when I deem it “not dan­ger­ous,” and make a video when I fig­ure out what it’s for.

Mean­while, what do you think I should call the thing?

(I’ve been going with work­ing title “Trans­porter”, because it acts as a sur­ro­gate for Live’s trans­port.  But dad jokes aside, that’s not what a trans­porter is…)

“Orbituary” arc demo

Just an explo­ration of sim­u­lat­ed physics-based audio con­trols.  The video explains itself some­what bet­ter than I can in text.

I pro­grammed this back in 2011, but am plan­ning to revis­it the idea soon. The big change being, rather than four pre­re­cord­ed audio loops, I’d like to dynam­i­cal­ly gen­er­ate those loops with a grid based step sequencer interface.

Any­way… if you’re a max/msp user with first gen­er­a­tion monome arc hard­ware at your dis­pos­al, and want to dig into sev­er­al drafts of my ancient source code for some rea­son, that can be found in this forum thread.
(I would be “greaterthanze­ro” there)