Hi! I hope you’ve been having a good 2024 so far.

I started it by attending the most recent NAMM show (as well as the parallel Buchla & Friends modular-focused show), and just two weeks ago construction started on my new studio. Indeed, as I write this, there is the sound of jackhammering reverberating through the house. But I still managed to get a few things done – so let’s get to it:


  • featured articleThe first time I was interviewed for NAMM’s Voices that Matter series, I talked extensively about the early days of MIDI, as well as what the synth landscape was like in the 1980s and 90s.
  • Alias Zone updatesAn unusual “music video”: watching the DAW timeline scroll by during my latest composition, giving you a peek behind the curtain of how it was constructed.
  • Learning Modular updatesI was part of a panel at NAMM about the past and future of modular synthesis; I was also interviewed by Waveform Magazine for their most recent issue.
  • Patreon updatesExplanations of how the Korg PS-3300 polyphonic modular synthesizer and how frequency shifters work, a modular patching idea for layering sounds, and an explanation of how you can tame multiple audio interfaces in your studio.
  • upcoming events: I’m taking a break until this fall.

Alias Zone Updates

I mentioned in the previous newsletter that I was planning to compose some new shorter pieces to go along with the long-form works I’ve already recorded for my next few albums. Above is the “short” track (7 minutes is short, for me…) that will be on the next album, which is undergoing final mixing right now.

Since I multi-tracked this piece rather than performing it live, there is no performance video to go along with it. So instead, I decided to share the Ableton Live timeline scrolling past, meaning you can see what all the different musical parts were as well as when they came in and finished. I hope you find it educational (as well as musically entertaining).

(For those who want more details on how this piece was created, I wrote a post about it for my Patreon +5v and above subscribers. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial to the +5v or ±12v tiers and view this as well as the literally hundreds of other posts I’ve written on Patreon.)

Learning Modular Updates

While I was at NAMM this year I also participated in the Sound Synthesis Club’s panel about modular synthesis, also featuring Anthony Marinelli and David Mash, and moderated by Oscar Caraballo. I feel it gets more interesting as we go on and loosen up; the end section also had a lot of great questions from the audience that we tried to answer in detail.

Also, I am interviewed in Waveform Magazine Issue 12, which came out recently. it covers a lot of my past, including my time in the music industry working for Sequential Circuits and others. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can buy online or print versions from their web site.

Patreon Updates

Another thing that happened at NAMM is I got a chance to play Korg’s re-issue of their classic PS-3300 polyphonic modular instrument. For those used to modern polyphonic synths (or modular synths, for that matter), some of its specs may be confusing: It has three “Channels” (each a complete synth), and full polyphony (meaning every key on its new 49-note keyboard plays its own voice). And somehow you can also patch it with one set of cables, instead of 49. What kind of voodoo is this? I explain how it works in this post for Learning Modular Patreon +5v and above subscribers.

The PS-3300’s three-Channel configuration also got me thinking about an alternate approach to building complex synth patches – using each layer to create a component of the final composite sound, rather than multiple “full” patches that are just layered on top of each other. I am told this component approach is also common in sound effects design. I explore these thoughts in this post, also for +5v and above subscribers.

Sometimes, article ideas come from Patreon subscribers asking questions. One asked me how can amplitude modulation be used for frequency shifting. I explain how it works here, in a post available to all subscribers.

As I focus on equipping my new studio, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into audio interfaces. There’s a few strategies you can use to coordinate multiple interfaces in your studio, which I share in this post which is free to everyone.

And finally, I updated my detailed Track Breakdown for my latest composition “Premonition” to include the video shown above of the DAW timeline scrolling by as it plays (+5v and above).

As always, I encourage you to check out the index for my Patreon channel: There’s a lot of content up there, and a 7 day free trial if you want to try out a subscription and access a particular post that’s not already free.

Upcoming Events

Studio construction is going to be my main focus for next several months, as well as finalizing mixes for my next three(!) albums. Aside from possibly a short local gig (Albuquerque, New Mexico), I will be staying off the road until this fall when I hope to get out again, playing new material. The first of those performances will probably be Knobcon this September.

If you are interested in having me play at one of your events, please get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of this web page (or at the bottom of the Alias Zone web site).

I’m quite excited about my new studio space – but I also know it’s going to be a big distraction while it is being built, and will take a while to move everything in, patch it up, and make it work. Let’s just say it’s going to be a good exercise in delayed gratification!

trying to balance noise and silence –