Why I'm Streaming the Making of My Next Album

I’m live streaming the making of my next album on Twitch.

Streaming the Album

Some streams will be focused on sound design. We’ll listen to the same loop over and over again while I finely adjust various sonic parameters.

Other streams will be focused on synthesis. We’ll take the primordial elements of sine waves and white noise and build them up to richer, more complex waveforms.

Yet other streams will be focused on jamming/writing. These will will serve as mini concerts but are practically guaranteed to include spectacular mistakes. Sour notes, mis-synced beats, system crashes, all of it.

Drone Patch

I’ve produced a lot of music. The releases I’m proudest of tend to have some some number of unique aspects: a new instrument, a dream, a new apartment, a breakup… one of these aspects that I’ve only recently become aware of is the notion of “just enough experimentation”. When there is too much experimentation, the scientific method dissolves, there are no controls, and the work ends up unfocused and incoherent. When there is not enough experimentation, the work is just boring.

This is a spectacularly public experiment. I’m only a week into the project but it has already completely warped my process and I love it.

  • Folks drop in chat and have ideas to steer the direction of the music.
  • I’m working faster because I know people are watching.
  • I’m working more consistently because I want to stream every night.
  • I’m having more fun writing because I’m hyper aware of “dead air” time, so I queue up little ambient loops while I work on tasks that typically wouldn’t generate sound.
  • The whole project is being publicly performed and archived.

Yet I don’t think this is “too much” experimentation at all. In an age of content, it feels really nice to turn the whole thing inside out and welcome the world along the journey with me. And why shouldn’t this be interesting? The old axiom, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” rings especially true here. I’m opening up one of my most personal and intimate experiences to the world and it is exhilarating.

Sound Design

The EOY Info Sessions

Summer, 1974

I tire of reading about this year, thinking about this year, considering what this year “means” in the broader historical context of this bewildering project known as The Human Race. But, alas, it would be unfair to my future self to not document my lived experience while inhabiting this particular fold of temporality.

One thought I cannot shake: things are going to get objectively worse, for a long while, before they get objectively better. Just today:

World Health Organization experts have warned that even though the coronavirus pandemic has been very severe, it is “not necessarily the big one”, and that the world will have to learn to live with Covid-19.

The “destiny” of the virus is to become endemic, even as vaccines begin to be rolled out in the US and UK, says Professor David Heymann, the chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards.

“The world has hoped for herd immunity. […] It appears the destiny of SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] is to become endemic, as have four other human coronaviruses, and that it will continue to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, especially in areas of more intense admission. […]”

Fall, 2006

Despite a record high number of sleepless nights, “Is this real life?” moments, and other existentia, this year was a creative renaissance for me. I haven’t had a year like this since that golden summer of 2009 when Endless Field Studios burst onto the scene.

This year, I got involved with the monome community. Learned Lua. Started learning modular. Made dronecaster, arcologies, Yggdrasil, and other scripts. I wrote and released the first Northern Information (sans “movement”) album. I mobilized The First Arclogists. I made lots of videos, conducted workshops, contributed to podcasts, and gave talks.

I read a lot of books and discovered a ton of new music.

We successfully navigated Highland through what was perhaps the company’s most complex season in its 21 year history.

I moved to California.

Winter, 2026

The most unexpected phenomenon of this time is how many new friends I’ve made. The norns study group has been a true joy and source of geniune connection and learning.

On NYE we shall celebrate with the 4th Lines Community Stream.

Sunset Twenty Twenty

Spring, 2146

These images of plants are screenshots from my last script of the year. It cycles through the seasons, playing generative music. Oddly, it fills me with incredible hope seeing the years tick up.

One day we may look back on this and say, “that was all a dream.”

Let’s cut out the middle man.

This is a dream. We’re all dreaming each other and our dreams got all tangled up.

So please, hang on to each other, it’s a desert out there.

That Which is Unique, Breaks

Simon Sarris, writing for The Map is Mostly Water:

People and places and things are not as different from each other as we were lead to believe. We exist together in an ecology. Unique places form unique people, who create unique works. These may be fragile, it is up to us to value them or not, but in history they have been our collective pride. I think if we have another renaissance, think for a moment of what the word means, it will be a rediscovery of the beauty of these things. I will speak of this to you again another day.

Remember: History happens only once. There is no reason things must remain or return to any particular state. We are always free to find our own values. But what will it take to value the ecology that fosters the unique, the creations that made some places and things so special that we call them works of art, or travel across the world just to see them?