works in progress

Over the last week I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with some new friends–Dutch artist Beer Geer and Icelandic musician Anton Kaldal (aka Tonik)–on a project of Beer’s. Beer’s been working on a (really cool) Flash project to create visuals using brain waves. Early in the artist residency here in Reykjavik, we talked about applying a similar process to music. Based on your level of meditation (essentially, mental calm), you can control the amount and type of music you hear. I’ve recycled a bit of concept and code from the Song That Never Ends project, but most of this owes to Beer’s application.

Here’s a (pretty long) example track, in which I’ve tried to model what the experience might sound like for a user (based on musical collaboration with Anton and rules determined by Beer and me):

Aurora Project, Nests Mix (First Draft)

I’ll probably post a proper mix soon. I’m also keen on hearing some mixes by Beer and Anton, hopefully.

Stay tuned for updates on the (currently named) Aurora Project.

Back to basics on this guy–super simple, pretty riff. It’s a bit reminiscent of stuff on my first album, actually. The good old days of 4 track recording.

Iceland Experiment #4

I’m not sure what prompted this excursion into heavy drone-land. Maybe it was the 10 minutes of Barn Owl I heard in Rotate This! a few weeks ago. This is probably far too long, given my recent move into shorter, more manageable songs, but it is more true to its roots at its current length.

Something like a cross between Jesu and Hum. In many ways, probably closer to my Ineffable Robot stuff with Simon, than my usual Nests stuff.

Iceland Experiment #3

While certainly influenced by the better tracks from bands like The XX and Phantogram, I think the pseudo-danciness of this track owes a lot to working down the hall from Beer (Van Geer). There’s a constant, pleasant flow of electronic music from his studio which is probably growing in my subconscious as I type this very post.

iceland experiment #2
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I’m ashamed to admit that this experiment starts with a bit of stupidity on my part. It turns out that merely buying the North American > European adapter doesn’t mean that all of your American electronics will work in Iceland. There are also different voltages (North America = 110 volts; Europe = 220 volts). I think I knew this, but since many modern devices, like laptops, are dual-voltage, I didn’t think as much about it as I should have.

So, on first test-run of my ART preamp, I fried it (or, ideally, just blew a fuse). This resulted in a pretty length hike around Reykjavik in search of a suitable replacement–this time a USB-powered preamp. Stuff is generally pretty expensive here, so I had to check a few different places before deciding (not surprisingly) on the Apogee One. After an hour and a half of walking to exchange a faulty input, I finally had a little time to experiment with my very limited toolset: an acoustic guitar, some drum sticks, my laptop, and the One (I also found an old electric guitar at the Residency we’re staying at–but haven’t tested it yet). This is a lot different from being in my basement studio, but sort of a refreshing challenge.

I made this up as I went, and only spent about an hour or two on it, but here’s the first experiment with my current setup:

Iceland Experiment #1

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