I had two gigs in October, and then two medical procedures – including long-planned hand surgery – in early November. Combined with the upcoming holidays, this all means I’ve decided to roll the November and December newsletters into one, and will then resume my normal schedule with the January 2023 edition.

Of the nine live concerts (plus one streamed) I’ve played this year, three of them have been in quad. I’ve also been hearing more talk about releasing music in the Dolby Atmos surround format. By contrast, I saw a module manufacturer and active performer recently ask why we even need stereo, let alone quad or surround. So, I’m going to share some of my own thoughts and experiences on the “how many channels?” issue, particularly as it relates to modular musicians.


  • featured articleMono, stereo, quad, or beyond? How many channels of sound should we be thinking about when it comes to creating our modular synth compositions and performances?
  • Alias Zone updatesThe new album is almost ready! Should I have CDs made as well?.
  • Learning Modular updatesUsing a utility mixer to decode and encode mid-side stereo audio.
  • Patreon updatesPosts on electronic music genres, putting together a DAW-less percussion case for the Synthplex gig, and on the modulation plus effects sections of my live performance system.
  • upcoming eventsI’m putting together a mini-tour for April 2023. I’m also curious to hear your suggestions on where else I should play.
  • one more thing:  Recent hand surgery means I’ll be taking a break from the road – but not the studio!

Alias Zone Updates

Learning Modular Eurorack Expansion Extended

After a delay, my new album – Water Stories – should be out by December on the Alias Zone Bandcamp page, and soon thereafter on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. I am aiming to have it ready for Bandcamp Friday on December 2 at “name your own price” (as I don’t want money to get in the way of sharing it with you). The image above is a teaser of what the cover will look like; that is a piece of physical mixed media I art I created called “Once, There Was Water.”

In addition to streaming, I am considering making a limited number of physical CDs for each release. I have a survey currently going on with a public Patreon post about what you would prefer for a physical release (if anything at all) – I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Learning Modular Updates

Since I was talking about mid/side (MS) encoding in the main article above, I’ve decided to share a video and post I had previously created for my Patreon subscribers about why I like to capture all of my field recordings in MS when possible, and how this allows me to play with their stereo width using utility mixers in my modular. The video from that post is above; click here for the full post.

Patreon Updates

As I mentioned before, the Learning Modular Patreon Channel is the “access all areas” pass to what I’m currently working on and learning about. Posts I’ve written since the previous newsletter include:

  • Electronic Music Genres: There are dozens to hundreds of sub-genres listed for electronic dance music (EDM)…but less than a handful for all other styles. Both seem off the mark. (Free to everyone.)
  • Going Hybrid Live, Part 8: Modulation: Reviewing the envelope generators and continuously-varying control voltage generators in my performance system, why I chose them, and how I use them – in short, it’s to pretend I have more hands while playing! (For +5v and above subscribers.)
  • Going Hybrid Live, Part 9: Effects & External Sources: I finished the survey of the modules and plugins I’ve been performing with this year, with a focus on effects. (For +5v and above subscribers.)
  • A DAW-less, four-channel percussion + effects case: When I was preparing to perform as a duo with Jim Coker in his ensemble MeridianAlpha, I decided it would be easier to create a separate satellite case to play along with his composition, than to re-patch on the fly. Here is what went into it. (For +5v and above subscribers.)

Click here to check out the index of all past articles I’ve written for Patreon. I give two months free for an annual subscription, so for $50/year at the +5v level (a lot cheaper than most modules) you can get access to all of those, as well as all the new articles I write over the next year. 

Upcoming Events

This year, I performed live nine times (plus once on video, for Synthfest France). For those, I composed four different 20-30 minute sets, plus a human-driven generative performance that lasted three hours(!). Three of those performances were in quad. It’s been a very creative time.

This winter, I’m going to take advantage of a forced break from the road (more on that below) and spend more time in the studio, editing those performance into album tracks while also working on new material.

Then starting next spring, I hope to start working in some more live performances into the schedule. Where do you think I should play? I open to gigs from festivals to living room concerts – including bundling those together on the same trip. Let me know your thoughts; introductions to potential venues are also always welcome.

Meanwhile, I’m in the early stages of booking a mini-tour of southern Arizona & California in early April, leading up to the NAMM show. Already confirmed is Saturday April 8, when Jill Fraser and I will be playing at FurstWurld in Joshua Tree, California. Make a weekend of it, shopping for vintage funk in nearby Yucca Valley, and enjoying one of the more unusual of our national parks in Joshua Tree. Dates before and after that are also tentatively booked; more later.

One More Thing…

I’ve had osteoarthritis in both thumbs for some time now. This past year it got so bad in my left hand that I had to modify how I played – for example, engaging aftertouch on a normal electronic keyboard caused pain; I’ve moved to pad-based controllers as a result. 

As a result, I had the left hand operated on, just a few days after my last gig of the year at Synthplex. I’m in the early stages of a recovery that will supposedly take three months to get full function back (and longer for the pain to recede), but so far I’m very encouraged. (For those interested in the details, I posted about it on Facebook.)

That means for the next three months I am barred from lifting heavy objects, which would include the cases for my live performance system. However, I can still use a computer, and should be well enough to patch my studio modular soon – so I’m looking forward to using this winter to rest up, release some new albums, and learn some new things. Which, of course, I will share here, as well as on my Patreon channel.

Thank you again for your support throughout the year – I really appreciate it. I hope to reward it with more musical adventures next year.

healing up –