What a hectic two months that was! As soon as I was done creating my set for SoundQuest Fest, I went straight into editing, mixing, having mastered, and releasing a new album – my first in 20 years – and then into creating a new web site to support my musical efforts.

That new album – Alias Zone: We Only Came to Dream – marks quite a bit of personal evolution for me. The original Alias Zone album was the result of “being the drummer” in an ensemble (as detailed in the February newsletter). After I got back into modular synthesis a few years ago, my first gig was an Alias Zone reunion, replacing my sample loops from 20 years ago with my percussion-focused modular gigging case. Although I have played a few short solo sets with that case, my focus was still playing with others.

Then the pandemic hit. Unable to do in-person collaborations, for the first time in my life I turned my attention to composing long-form solo works, using all of the tools I had available to me. It started when David Soto of the Colorado Modular Synth Society invited me to compose and play a 20 minute “space music” piece for October Skies last year. It would be an understatement to say that things accelerated quickly from there!

The new album contains a remixed and mastered version of that October Skies performance (Ash Tree Window), as well as my SoundQuest set (Náhuatl) plus a set I did for Resident Electronic Music (Dream Catcher). The album versions of those last two also feature processed flute overdubs by my good friend Richard Bugg, who got me into the whole live performance and improvisational thing when he invited me to be a member of his Cosmic Debris ensemble back in the 1990s.


New Videos & Blog Posts

Based on a discussion we had during a Modulation Sound Lab session on listening while playing, I made another article originally written for Patreon available to everyone for free: this breakdown of what I was thinking and doing while playing an improvised set with Aaron Higgins of 1010music during Knobcon 2019.

I was also the guest artist on the Five12 Vector Deep Dive webcast in March, which is available for replay on YouTube. I gave a pair of patch-from-scratch demos of how I use a combination of chance operations and drummer-based trigger patterns to create (hopefully!) more interesting percussion and melodic sequences. That’s the movie above, pre-queued to the place where I start talking about my philosophy behind sequencing.

Modular Courses Updates

Learning Modular Eurorack Expansion Extended

Remember that if you bought a course at any time through the web site, you have access to it indefinitely. Your user ID is the email address you used to create the account; if you forgot your password, simply click the “Forgot Password?” link below the LOGIN button on the login page to reset it.

Patreon Updates

Despite creating a new web site and finishing an album last month, I still managed to create several posts for my beloved Patrons – including starting a new series on applying generative patch ideas to “normal” melodic and rhythmic parts.

The following articles are available to all Patrons with a current subscription:

The following articles are available to current +5v and above supporters:

Note: If you have subscribed to my Patreon channel (thank you!), and then Patreon at some point had trouble processing your credit card, there’s a chance you might have lost access to the courses that came with your subscription; if that’s the case, email me through Patreon or using the form at the bottom of this page and let me know so I can fix that.

Upcoming Events

I have arranged to play a short set for the 2021 edition of the SoCal Synth Society Summit on May 21. I’ll have more details as to time and URL when the date gets closer; in the meantime, here is a link to last  year’s event.

I will also be a member of their panel discussing generative patching and composition at an upcoming meeting. The date for that has not been set yet; it is tentatively planned for late April or early May. If it happens before the next newsletter, I’ll announce it on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

By the way, I am looking for more opportunities to play streaming events this year – if you run such an event, and would like to have Alias Zone involved, please feel free to contact me using the form at the bottom of this page.

One More Thing…

Steve Roach interviewed me for SoundQuest Fest’s “Timeroom TV” segment, focusing on the compositional process.

At SoundQuest Fest, I found myself surrounded by musicians that had been doing this for years or decades, while I had been composing long-for solo work for all of six months. I was a new name to most of the people who watched that show (and many thanks to those of you who know me from Learning Modular who came as well), but received a lot of supportive comments and made a few new fans. I feel like I’m starting yet another career from scratch, but I also couldn’t be happier. It’s nice when chasing a dream actually does end up with you being in a better place.

with gratitude –