Category Archives: music



Recently, someone sent me a link to Herbert’s Manifesto ( and asked if I’d read it.  I have now, and I’ve decided to write up one of my own, partly in response to it.

My first thought is to say that, while I like the idea of having a framework of principals you use in your creativity, I find it to be too limiting and ultimately destructive to the creative process if you aren’t willing to be flexible.   Raising these guidelines up to the level of ‘manifesto’ is, therefore, not what I’m doing.  This is partly response to his points, so it may not really work as a function manifesto anyway. goes..

Personan Contract for the Composition of Music:

  1. Any sound which I have access to and the legal access to use is allowed.   This shall include drum machines, synthesizers and their presets.   If my dog burbs and I can capture it, its fair game.   If I feel the composition requires a grand piano, then I’ll use a sample of a grand piano on a syntheseizer, because who has fucking room for a grand piano.
  2. Any sound generated at any time as part of any process is available for use.   I may have recorded your hampster passing gas in 1997, but if I find that sample works in a track I’m working on in 2018, then so fucking be it.
  3. The sampling of other peopls music is allowed but, since it doesn’t interest me, never happens anyway.  If it did happen, such use would be governed by copyright laws and getting the appropriate license.
  4. Synthesizers, my primary tool of creation, were not built to create new sounds but as emulators.  In fact, all of the bread and butter sound types have their equivalents in the orchestra (bass, pads, leads…etc.).   All sound is derivative.   Get used to it.
  5. The inclusion, development, propagation, existence, replication, acknowledgement, rights, patterns and beauty of what are commonly known as accidents, is encouraged. Furthermore, they have equal rights within the composition as deliberate, conscious, or premeditated compositional actions or decisions. (on this point, I absolutely agree).
  6. The mixing desk does not exist.  The software slate is always cleansed.
  7. If the preset reverb works, I’ll use it.  Because fuck it if I know more about creating space than the guy who programmed it.
  8. I don’t even get what the fuck this one means.  It’s my sample, and I’ll truncate what I want.
  9. meh…let em guess.   Most people don’t honestly care
  10. See #9
  11. Remixes should be completed using whatever results in the most pleasing outcome.  Fuck rules.



You know what really burns me?  When I have a very clear vision of what I want to do with a piece, but I can’t because I either lack some element that is required.   In the case of my current piece, I need about…7 human beings willing to let me record them saying various phases or telling me storries.

I know what you’re thinking: crowdsource.  Exploit your social network.  See who’d be willing the help out.

Well, you see, I have thought of that and tried.   The problem is most of my social network lives quite far away and/or just doesn’t have the time to contribute.  Its fucking annoying.

This is one of the problems I have with the relative geographic isolation I feel in the place that I live (Chicago NW suburbs).   This is not a place may creatives call home.  In fact, this is a place of accountants and soccer moms.  People who are fine in their own right, but their only exposure to creativity is when their 6 year old brings home some mutilated santa ornament from kindergarten.  While I find nothing wrong with that, It does make it difficult to find people to talk to  when creativity is the driver of your life.

<<long sigh>>….oh well.  For now, I guess I’ll put this track in the can until I think of another idea for it, or find some willing participants.


Roland TR-8s micro-review

When Roland released the Aria series TR-8, I was very excited.   While I’m not usually one for clones, this one was different.   It represented an actual digital reproduction of the original by the original creators.  I had high hopes and, as usual, I was let down.



See, while the TR-8 had almost the perfect performance interface and an awesome sound, it emulated the original a little to closely where memory mangement was conscerned.   While it was a great live jamming device, it seemed to be almost intentionally frustrating in studio situations.  I was sad.  I sold it suspecting Roland, kings of repackaging their tech, would do a better version.

That better version, the TR-8s, is sitting on my desk, pounding a way at a beat as we speak, and it almost seems like Roland was spying on me when they spec’d it out!  SD memory, sampling, sample playback, better memory management…it’s all there (almost). I’ve been using it for a few weeks now (broken up with a several months long studio renovation in the middle) and, simply put, I love this damn thing.   It’s very easy to use, even without the manual.  Its got the sound I’m after, but its pallet is not limited to *just* 808/909/707.   You can actually back up the memory and organize projects.   The FX..well…yeah.  Skip those if it’s not just for live use.

Not much else to say about it.   It’s simple.  It’s reasonably priced.  Go get one.



Today, there was *finally* progress on getting the studio setup again.  The gear is back int he room, now I just need to arrange everything and then get it wired up!

I took tomorrow off work to get it all done.  Because I fucking need this.


To be continued…

That title seems to sum up my feelings about music making at the moment.  My studio is currently in storage while the basement of my house is renovated.  The work is almost done now…just painting left.   I think if it takes much longer, I’m going to lose my mind!

This is the longest I’ve gone without a functional studio space since I was in highschool, and it’s showing in my mental state.   I have so much that I need to get out of my head but can’t.   I’ve got a notebook where I’ve got about 20 pages of notes on what my next album is going to be, right down to song structures and sound design concepts and I just CAN’T start working on it yet.   I honestly can’t remember the last time I planned out a song on paper.  I think it was in the late 90s!

So that’s where things are and why the blog has been so quiet.  But I’ll be back soon, and with a TR-8S review.

Stay with me.

Moving On

The Virus is Analogue Keys is gone.   The Radias, too.  The virus is in a box waiting to be shipped.   The hardware is all disappearing.  I even sold my MacBook, since the iMac is fine and my job bought me a laptop that’s completely servicable.

Stands, cases and cables are next.  I also have a mountain of software, some of which I can’t remember the last time I used.   It’s a lot to go through and parse out.

But I feel good about it.  I really actually do.

Letting go of all of this stuff is like letting go of a huge chain I’ve been dragging around for years.  It’s been slowing me down, honestly.   I spent more time in the last few years trying to figure out the perfect way to hook it all up than I have actually using it and creating music.  If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

So its good to see all this stuff go, in a way.  Good to see change happening.  Good to finally feeling good about moving on from all of that and letting it go.  It’s a good year for letting go.

Off to the UPS store.

Price List

Since many have asked…

Access Virus TI2 Darkstar (Mint, with box) $1850
Korg Radias Rack (Great condition) $700
DSI PolyEvoler Keyboar (ser#14 or 28…know its low) $1750
Elektron Octatrack Mk1 (Great Condigion) $800
Elektron Analogue Keys (Good Condition) $1000
Yamaha 01v96v2 (with extra ADAT card, Gator case and Rack ears) $850
I’ll have to inventory the racks and accessories. There is a lot more to come.