Monthly Archives: October 2008

Unbroken Glass

This time marks a pivotal period. I’ve done something good: I have resurrected Glass Door. My friends over at Anal0g.org are putting out another Wires compilation soon, and the deadline is this friday. So, instead of digging up, rehashing, and remastering old shit that I wrote seven years ago, I’ve decided to actually write new material.

I got Acid, Reaktor, and MIDI-OX working on my laptop and a week ago I sat at Genuine Joe’s Coffee and pecked out a slow melody. It was then that I decided to commit to it and to actually get some hardware so I wasn’t so reliant on the “limitless limitations” of software (the one-mouse one-keyboard interface is a major limit), so I bought a drum machine (an Alesis SR18) and a USB audio interface (Lexicon Lambda). I pulled out my long folding table and set it up in my bedroom; all my equipment’s splayed out and wired up. MIDI controller keyboard, drum machine, audio and MIDI interfaces, speakers, laptop, lamp, and an all-important notepad. Now I have a usable setup. Once it’s all physical, then it makes sense, and I’m motivated.

I am once again a bedroom musician.

So I wake up to the sight of that. Its presence in my room is soothing and pushes me forward into motion. It’s something tangible, evidence of the work of my own hands. The song’s coming together. Tentatively titled “Stars in the Window.” I’ve been doing some reworking and rearranging of the melody; can’t proceed with the other parts until the song structure is right. The whole thing’s been a learning process (re-learning shall we say). Learning how to deal with sound drivers and softsynths and MIDI. Learning about musical structure, phrases, chords, keys, crescendos, glissandos, and so on. It’s almost like work, and at times it can get quite unfun (especially when trying to manipulate MIDI controller messages in Acid). But I’m going to keep at it. I’ve got to finish. I’ve got to win.

In about another month, you can hear for yourself when Wires 6 is freely released to the masses. I also have material on Wires 4 and Wires 5. If you don’t have any of releases in the Wires series, do yourself a favor and grab them from Anal0g.org like you’re stealing. (Wires 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Subtractive, Reductive

Math is the foundation of abstract thought. Actually, they go hand-in-hand.

I faltered years ago and skipped over some important mathematical fundaments and got lost, sowed the seeds of confusion and grew the crop of poisonous mental ineptitude that killed the young abstract thinker in me. I have trouble thinking past my immediate surroundings. It knocked me out of architectural school, a computer science degree, electrical engineering. I have always been technically-minded, but my weakness in math has been my stumbling block.

I was listening to this woman talk to a kid here in the allergist’s office. He was saying that he wanted to go to architecture school. The woman (not his mother) asked what grade he was in, what math class he was taking. Ninth grade, algebra. She went “Ew, algebra. I don’t think I need to know what X and Y are doing.”

That hurt my brain to hear that. I wanted to speak up in defense of math, but held mute. Damn my shy nature. My behavior is annoying, but hers is terrifying. Don’t revel in your ignorance.

Maybe I should heed that lesson.