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)

What’s On The Other Side?

Here’s that second album I mentioned. We’re incredibly proud of it.

Be sure to check out
the Kickstarter campaign which funded it!

My earliest published lyrics (1999)

Written for esoteric rock band “Lefty’s Head”, who had insisted on naming this song after my (then current) website for some reason. The title was originally my email address, but I was able to talk them out of that much.  The SPAM quotient would have been horrifying.

These lyrics replaced their own for the song, which were originally about an insurrection of moustaches who had broken free of men’s faces and violently taken over the world. For better or worse, I don’t have a copy of that version to share.

Anyway, I felt invested because of the website tie-in, and wanted the song to represent the themes I’d been going for in naming that site. The following is what resulted, and what ended up on their 1999 album “50 Years of Lefty’s Head”.

Lyrics by Aaron Levitz
Music by Lefty’s Head

Remember when they said the sky was falling,
and we were sure it couldn’t be true?
‘cause we were list’ning to the future calling
with out hopes all planned out — if we only knew!

Remember noticing the edges sagging,
and our stomachs twisting into a knot?
In that one moment, our fears went from nagging
to a full fledged panic, right there on the spot.

The world was covered in a cloudy blanket
and the buildings crumbled under its weight.
The water flooded in and people drank it,
filling up their lungs, and going to their fate.

Held down and smothered by the thing we trusted,
there was comfort still within its folds.
But looking up, we saw the skyline busted,
like some eerie sign of what the future holds.

Each day we get up and go through the motions.
Each night we watch the stars burn where they fell.
They melt the ice caps and dry the oceans.
Where heaven meets the earth, we enter hell.

But we’re adapting and a new sky’s forming.
The old ones fading, along with the pain.
Our strength is thawed and I hope it’s warming,
but we’re still afraid it could fall again.

*(I’m not sure whether “our strength is thawed” is accurate or not.  It’s the most sense I can make of the recorded vocals, with no printed record in front of me.  It’s an awkward turn of phrase, but I can’t think of a better one offhand.  I honestly can’t remember what I was thinking.)