randy jones is a musician and instrument builder whose work i’ve long admired. his designs exemplify vision, invention, and integrity in equal measure, brimming with care and a thoughtfulness that reveals the human behind the technology. he’s created an astonishing new sound palette with kaivo, designed an interface with the soundplane and still manages to find time to expertly control the dance floor with these machines and a microphone.
morgan packard has a creative-technical process that explores participation, cooperation and group dynamics. his audience-guided compositions, collective built environments and immersive pattern-exploration instruments invite thoughtful engagement. his music exudes deep technical proficiency. think sonic robots, wandering dialog, and the impulsive changing of subjects- an ordered chaos that exemplifies a rigor, informed by jazz and classical studies. listen closely!
robbie crabtree synthesizes prismatic nostalgia and futuristic melodies both in music and architecture– conscious of what came before yet looking to the horizon ahead, enthusiastically delving into new adventures, falling off skateboards, climbing entire mountain ranges, low-dancing at the funk club, building with cut up dinosaurs and piles of woodchips. robbie is also “ok” at table tennis. he’s taken the family trohpy a few times. i’m still trying.
aaron fisher combines, juxtaposes, and recontextualizes a variety of genres and unlikely pairings to bring a party to its proper place and feet to the dancefloor. and also to liven up the workplace– his mixes have been played quite often here at our studio. if we had the wherewithal to hire a full-time workplace DJ aaron would certainly be in the running.
raja das harnesses a terrific amount of energy which is channeled through multiple personalities: crafting meticulous music, producing extensive programming tutorials, organizing community. his writing overflows with humor, honesty, and perplexity– taking us on some strange journeys now and again but above all demonstrating the power of participation.
i’ve witnessed brian allen simon perform with a saxaphone entangled in a heap of technology. he produced convincing evidence that this configuration was indeed versatile and evocative, weaving flurried tones and rhythms into what seemed a grand composed arc all while maintaining the naturalness of a practiced improviser. all with remarkable grace.
nick rothwell is an enabler; his history of collaboration, sharing of code frameworks, and the technology workshops he teaches confirms this. with a deep proficiency he seems to coax his machines into delivering much beyond their reasonable capability, eliciting a sort of magic. i draw inspiration from his close attention to precision and clarity, and his ability to remember our animals’ names even after years between meetings.
matthew goike is a good listener. this perhaps under-appreciated but most important skill makes for delicate decision making and exceptional fine-tuning; qualities which also apply to his craftsmanship as one of the foremost modular case designers. but he is by no means quiet– in the past i’ve coaxed hours of high desert stories, glimpsing a wordless and complex dialog he may be having with his natural surroundings.
while modern life tends towards sensory overload, jared smith somehow funnels and focuses this mass of distraction into a beautifully curated, prolific stream of creative work. visually and musically his sensibilities range far and wide, always resonating with appreciation and discovery. his generosity reminds me to listen, observe, and breathe.
for many years now tom dinchak has been applying his extensive programming skills layer upon layer to the technical octopus that is his performance setup. a close-up of a cross-section reveals equal parts grace and complexity. in addition to his own music, phortran’s software is utilized by a great many artists– his helpfulness, openness to suggestions, and willingness to share makes him one of the finest tool makers and collaborators within our community.
both in performance and dinner conversation ezra buchla has an astonishing talent for the unpredictable and a knack for captivation. he is an intensely sincere musician, a jaunty encyclopedia, a worthy table tennis opponent, and a like-minded lover of sugary treats. as a collaborator we’re very happy to have a high level dual class mathematician/mage along for the journey.
rodrigo constanzo is among a generation of exceptional composer-performers who are also exceedingly adept technologists. yet he does not guard his long-labored tools for solely his own use– quite the opposite as we’ve witnessed him encourage and support others’ musical exploration through his open-source patch releases. still he is unquestionably the master of these tools, transforming tiny gestures (a tapped kitchen utensil, a disconnected patch cable) into fluttering sonic clusters. a joy to behold.
marcus fischer focuses closely on the fine details of things- his sonic and visual work reveal an unfolding process of meticulous patience and refinement. where this sort of perfection-seeking normally alludes to sparse output, marcus is remarkably prolific in his varied creative practices. we’re not sure he sleeps because we can’t figure out when he gets it all done. beautiful music, glorious treehouses, family adventures, stunning photography- so inspiring.
last year jay gilligan visited our faraway farm for an epic twenty four hour adventure, astonishing us with his extraordinary skills and storytelling. the next day we both agreed decidedly that we missed him. born in ohio, now living in europe, jay is pushing boundaries teaching his craft of juggling at a leading circus school. sound is woven throughout his performances– sonic sensibilities influenced by a complete immersion in motion and physicality. and new shapes. and new machines. jay makes them all float.
in the late 00′s a flurry of videos appeared featuring a man dexterously pounding a lunch box. a carefully built lunchbox of buttons, that is. nicholas dematteo continues to push boundaries, making live electronic music that sounds, looks, and feels, well, refreshingly live. he’s got nothing to hide on his screen, but don’t let his mannered politeness fool you– things will be very loud indeed. and there will be celebration.
in a recent studio visit i found david primus luta dodson buried under prototype circuitry, soldering irons, band-saw split panels, various sound-distance-voltage measuring machines– in an earnest search for hidden energies. yet he also buries. his concrete mixtape is quite literally entombed, to be discovered or not. i expect more sonic treasures will be unearthed using a new device he’s been perfecting. we’re patiently waiting.
my first encounter with vlad spears involved a mysterious max patch he’d written which appeared to be equal parts math and magic. soon after another cryptically titled patch appeared, this one had a fascinating hidden detail: the question your beliefs license. a deep believer in the power of ideas, vlad channels energies from disparate realms into sculpted sound and digital operations. we’re dying to read the next chapter.
his attire might suggest anachronism but musically speaking alfred darlington is quite present. he exhibits unbounded determination in his process and his dedicated curiosity for a wide range of genres and instruments leads to compelling pairings and unexpected sounds. it is this seeking and searching that we find infectious. we’re always learning something new from alfred- be it the meaning of “put a donk on it”, a glimpse into the world of coffee specifics, or the multiple ways to tie a tie… it goes on.
a catalyst for some of the most memorable monome gatherings and post gathering diner breakfasts, raymond embodies a fine balance of playfulness and seriousness, focus and openness. these qualities come out while performing as altitude sickness, and likely when studying photonic crystals– his research at cal tech makes me more optimistic about our energy future. i suspect he knows all the best taco trucks.
peter segerstrom has a great sense of humor and really nice hair. the evolution of his music making process combines an academic technical mastery with an overriding message to enjoy life fully. a very long time ago he and i played art gallery shows to audiences of six. more recently he’s been playing alongside our early heros and sending listeners on mystic californian journeys.