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in 1989, just shy ov my tenth birthday, my mother's uncle gifted an 8088 IBM PCjr computer to my family; this early moment in my childhood revealed an uncanny internal talent, and i quickly learned to understand and speak with computers and computer-based technologies; this obsession also rapidly led to an interest in electrical engineering and I built my first AM radio transmitter when I was 13-years-old

by the age ov 14 I had already crucified and ressurected an entire fleet ov 8088, x286, x386, and x486 machines and taught myself to program in BASIC; between sessions ov circuitry slaughter and frankensteining thrift store finds into workable servers and terminals, i played guitar in punk and hardcore bands and taught myself to play the piano; and it was also in 1994 that i discovered the PC tracker and demo scene; i spent countless days on dial-up BBSes accumulating samples and copies ov impulsetracker, screamtracker 3, and modtracker to create my own music; the frequency addiction quickly took root

by my mid-teens, i acquired my first hardware ROM sampled synthesizer and taught myself to DJ; as the years passed, my studio grew and my methods ov composition took every direction from field-recording samples to harsh noise and brutal instrumentation to cascading analog filter gardens; to this day i strive to push my art and sonic exploration and often find accidental surprises that inform an entirely new direction in my work

this unrelenting dedication to audio and visual art forms has given me the opportunity to perform in unique and eccentric venues alongside established and upcoming artists -- from hundreds ov renegade parties and underground venues across north and south america to the now defunct Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and the earth-quaking 75,000+ watt Root Society sound system at Burning Man; i intend to continue this journey deeper into my creative work by moving to Berlin in early/mid-2020 to be centrally located for my professional work as a video artist and programmer for touring rock bands and my lifelong love ov electronic and electro-acoustic music




Astronaut - CTM 2020 Radio Lab Proposal


lim·i·nal
/ˈlimənl/
adjective
TECHNICAL
1.
relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2.
occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.



Abstract

We traverse liminal spaces throughout our lives. Our first explosion into light through the birth canal, the daily ebb and flow of the solar transept, the final tunnel of light at the end of our life – these broad thresholds and borderlands are punctuated by countless transitions and intersections that inform and shape us. Our relationships, choices, and navigation of the world all influenced by the information and experience we draw from this incessant flow of transformations and shifts in our environment and circumstance.

Astronaut explores shortwave, VHF, and amateur radio transmissions mixed with generative and performance synthesis to embody this chaotic gossamer – culminating in a transcendent ocean of frequencies and waveforms that transport the listener into a world of sonic energies and emotions portraying contemporary life on Earth.


Background

The name Astronaut is taken from a series of shortwave radios produced by Realistic Electronics in the 1970s. A close friend of my wife introduced me to this shortwave radio during a studio jam session a few years ago. Corey unfortunately passed away this summer quite suddenly and unexpectedly from health complications, but I will never forget that evening in my studio.

During that session, we set the Astronaut 6 to a random meter range and as it shifted back and forth between amateur radio broadcasts,, international radio stations, and random static, with the soft, warm fuzzy hum of its transistors tickling our ears, we mixed over live synthesis, hardware sequencing, and rambling waveforms generated via feedback and effect manipulation.


Composition

Exploring the bandwidth of shortwave, single sideband, and VHF, one will quickly discover everything from air-traffic control to amateur hobbyists broadcasting doomsday prophecies from their garage. And in the in-between spaces exist mesmerizing pulse, sine, and square waves ripe for realtime sampling and looping. This diverse assortment of frequencies, from mission-critical communications to eclectic ramblings and randomness, is an incessant outpouring of liminal spaces and information: flight path data, old-time religion, political theater, emergency response dispatch, and so forth. Each one informing a transition or initiation; each one occupying a unique position on the radio dial.

That studio session from years past sets the groundwork for Astronaut in 2020 – I will layer multiple shortwave receivers with a host of synthesizers, effects, and generative instruments to produce a new incarnation of that singular studio session I was able to have with Corey before he passed.


Performance

Considered as a singular composition, the project will culminate in a 30-45 minute performance of cascading shortwave radio transmissions, live performed synthesis using amplitude and frequency modulation from the radio outputs, control voltage matrices shared between the synthesizers, and improvised accompaniment and sampling across all instruments implemented.

In addition to the musical composition, generative graphics produced with Notch software script programming by my alter ego and video artist, OPTIC, will take triggers and frequencies from the live performance to project an audio-midi-control-reactive visual environment.





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