Art + Music + Technology


Performing Arts





August 2015
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31


The largest US manufacturer of Eurorack Modules is Pittsburgh Modular. They are inexpensive, sound great and are readily available from a lot of retailers. The company also produces a set of pre-loaded systems that make it easy to get started in modular synthesis, and has created an excellent bit of documentation to go with them.

I was hoping to talk to the owner, Richard Nicol, for the podcast; with the help of Jim and Elisabeth at Synthtopia, it came together for this episode. Richard talks about his start as a fledgling builder, his work with other circuit designers, his vision for the product line and his perspective on module creation. It was really intriguing to hear about his ideas, but also reassuring to see a plan laid bare.

An awesome interview, and a great way to understand how a database developer becomes a "modular mogul" (triple-grins to this - wait until you hear about his personal modular system...).


Direct download: podcast_094_RNicol.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:39 PM

One of my favorite people to hang out with at Cycling '74 gatherings is Jeremy Bernstein. Jeremy is a long-time developer with C74, and has left his fingerprints on all sorts of Max system - his work on Jitter visual systems, the pattr preset system and the Max for Live system have all had a major impact on the media arts world.

But it's really interesting to not only learn where he came from, but where he is going as well. Jeremy has been bringing his obsessive personality to the chess world as well, and has even found a way to mesh chess and Max through his chess-runner object. But overall, we get to see the life of a smart, interesting and engaging guy.

Take a listen to me talking with a friend about the past, future, and the bredth of interests of a pivotal figure in Max development. Enjoy!


Direct download: podcast_093_JBernstein.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 6:59 PM

I first met Dennis DeSantis when we was working with Ableton as a presenter during the NAMM show. He was always super level-headed and seemed able to weather almost any storm. I've always appreciated his musicianship, his deep knowledge of Live and his ability to help bring people together for almost any project.

But his most recent effort - the development of the book Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers - has sort of put him in the spotlight. He was kind enough to chat with me about his background, his passion for providing answers, and his perspective on talent and working style. This was a fascinating insight on an industry professional's view of his landscape, but also a view of the difficulties assembling the career that you'd like.


Direct download: podcast_092_DDeSantis.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:32 PM

Dan Trueman is one of those people whose list of accomplishments will blow you away. He's an accomplished fiddler, specializing in the Hardanger fiddle. He's the inventor of the laptop orchestra, having started it out of his teaching position at Princeton. He developed a number of new Max objects, as well as developing the PeRColate object set, which opened the door for using Perry Cook's physical models in the Max environment. And he's written and performed a ton of music in a ton of different situations.

So, how do you get to be That Guy? Turns out, it's all about having a passion for playing, coding and composing - all simultaneously. In this chat, Dan talks about how he manages the process of working in several contexts without feeling like he is required to 'blend' them. The result is an amazing body of work.

You can find out more about Dan's work at Many Arrows Music.


Direct download: podcast_091_DTrueman.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:21 PM

Talking with Miller was amazing - he was in town (Boulder) to do some work and performances at CU-Boulder. I dropped him a line, he was up for a chat, and Eric Lindemann was kind enough to let us use his kitchen (after a nice dinner).

Wow - what a great talk. But that damned Tascam recording screwed me again, so the audio quality for the first 30 minutes is a mess. I pulled all of the software strings I could to make this interview work, because there is a lot of information being presented for the first time (that I know of...).

Miller is performing this coming week at a local planetarium; if you are in the area, you need to check it out. But if not, you'll want to keep up with Miller's work at


Direct download: podcast_090_MPuckette.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 6:00 PM

I first got to know Ben Griswold as an instructor at DU when I was there as a student. He led one of the most insightful classes I'd ever taken (it was about art and the senses, including smell and touch - ewwww!), and we ended up getting to know each other over time. I've always been blown away by his work (a show he helped develop - Blink! - is simply the best-presented new media show I've ever seen), and reached out to see if he'd be up for a podcast-chat.

Well he was, and here is the result. I think it is surprising to hear about the twists and turns involved in the process of showing an artist's work, and the different ordeals that come up during that process. Ben is incredibly thoughful about everything he works on, and it shows in the way he talks about the work. He shares a lot of detail with us, and I hope that you find it as interesting as I did.

You can find out more about Ben's work at

Direct download: podcast_089_BGriswold.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:39 PM

Most of my podcasts are with people that are established in a thing that isn't going to change - they are builders, musicians or coders that have chosen the tools and directions of their craft, and are sticking to 'em. Har is different - he's decided to step away from one milieu and into another. I didn't know much about this at the time that I reached out to him, but as he filled me in on his transitions, I realized that this was a great opportunity to see someone as they change tack.

My original goal with talking to Har was that he is an ambient musician that doesn't really use keyboards; rather, he uses guitars, basses, Chapman Stick and other stringed instruments. When I played with him at a planetarium gig, I watched with awe as he set up a rig with perhaps 50 guitar pedals in a ring around the stange - and proceeded to use 'em all! The sound was both beautiful and mighty and something that I'll remember for a long time as a completely unique experience.

Anyway, in this podcast, we talk about his instrumentation and his style, but we mostly talk about the process of change: leaving behind his internet radio show, embracing a new style, learning new skills and starting a new project with a here-it-all-is video.

You can learn more about Har's work here:


Direct download: podcast_088_Har.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:26 PM

It's cool when I get to talk to one of the artists that I consider my personal influences. Tony Gerber's style of contemplative but present instrumental work speaks to the way that I hear music, and it's clear that I'm not alone - he's a widely followed performer with a worldwide following.

What's interesting is that a lot of his performance is done in virtual space. His solo work is perhaps best known in Second Life, where he (as Cypress Rosewood) has performed over 1600 shows. He also experiments with video concerts (most recently on Concert Window) and has a lot of music available through various online outlets.

But one of the most interesting things about this chat is our discussion on how, after all these shows, he continues to be creative. Therein lies the heart of a true, in-the-moment artist. I was inspired by this talk, and hope you are as well.

Enjoy! And check out more of Tony's work at the Gerbtone site.

Direct download: podcast_087_TGerber.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:16 PM

I have to admit being mesmorized by motion control since I saw some early body-suit performances in London. But thank the gods, the technology has really advanced since those early days. With the advent of the Microsoft Kinect, artistic use of motion control for visuals and sound has blown up, and the Ethno Tekh team has been at the forefront of the work.

Chris Vik took time out of his schedule to chat about motion control, his use of the Kinect and some of his performing experiences - including one of the most harrowing tales I've heard about crap-yourself tech problems. Any time you are taking technology out of its natural home (and let's face it - the Kinect is meant for your living room, not the C-Bit stage...), it can get a little wooly. But Chris and his working partner Brad Hammond take it on, and we get to hear about some of the fallout.

You can check out Chris' work at his site: Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_086_CVik.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:52 PM

I've always been a huge fan of Tiptop Audio's products: from their rock-solid Z3000 oscillator, to the center-of-my-universe Station 252 case, to the simple elegance of the Stackable cables, I've always found their products to be reliable, artful and best-of-class. I've also always wondered about the person behind this stuff, because it was clearly an interesting person.

Wow, what an understatement. Gur Milstein was super enthusiastic about being on the podcast, and we got a chance to run through his history as well as his design process. And, as part of the process, I came to further respect him - and be charmed by his friendliness. This interview is one of my favorites, because I started off not really knowing the person, and ending up developing a friendship with a person I really respect.

If you want to check out Gur's work, please jump over to and check it out!


Direct download: podcast_085_GMilstein.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:30 PM