Music is a very important part of my experience of life. This is true of many people, but it makes it no less true of me. While I said truly, on the language page, that my brain seems to run natively on language (or maybe sound), there is an extent to which I believe that music is the best way that humans have devised of transmitting emotions from one person to another.

In my life, I interact with music in many ways from listening to producing.

Listening and tastes

Like perhaps most Western people of my generation, I listen to music a lot, usually through digital media. Particularly, my primary mode is through Rdio, though I also frequently use Pandora. I maintain subscriptions to both. While I pirated music when I was younger, I do not anymore. I even have maintained a Drip.fm subscription to Skrillex’s label, OWSLA (the name’s a Watership Down reference!) … though I honestly cannot keep up with the rate of the releases, the quality is always great.

My tastes are rather eclectic. If you really want to know the details, you could check my Last.fm profile for a full picture or the Rdio profile link above for a day-to-day focused-on-the recent picture. But to summarize, it basically goes: (Links below are selected for sources that make it easy to listen to the music if you are unfamiliar, pointing to a favorite/representative song)

All of its pretty mainstream, I admit. But apropos of little, if I am to recommend one more-obscure thing, I urge you to check out the amazing eponymous album of Penguin Prison.

Performing

I played piano for 6 months as a child. I played Saxophone for 9 weeks, and various percussion instruments for 3 years. But mostly, I’ve been a singer. I sang in church choir and elementary school choir as a child, in the upper-level choral group the last two years of high school, and the MIT/Wellesley Toons a cappella group for 3.5 years at MIT. You can find much evidence of me signing background and three times rapping with Toons on YouTube, but only once singing lead (and not super well… but an appropriate quality for the song):

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Curating

I have designs upon being a DJ of some description. I have been known to take control of the music for a party or twenty, though I tend to drive the PA with just YouTube or Rdio. I don’t have any real artful mixes to my name. I have a few playlists to share but they are pretty niche. This YouTube playlists represents the kinda silly shit that backed games of beer pong in my dorm. These Rdio playlists represent intentionally sequenced music for super tired and stewing in abstract sadness, rather tired and kinda stewing in sadness, and Happy-Dancing time!. The first, two are also available as Spotify playlists. I have a couple less intentionally sequenced collections of 90s Alternative (Rdio, Spotify) and high quality Orchestral/string/piano covers of Pop songs (Rdio, Spotify)

While none of these would be appropriate for a club setting, I have some desire to do a “real” DJ set, possibly after going through Dubspot’s DJ program if I have more free time and disposable income.

Producing

February of 2013 I took a one month, weekday evenings course in Ableton Live offered by the MMMMMaven Project taught by Ben “Encanti” Cantil. I enjoyed it and found it inspiring, but have not taken to heart or common practice the things I learned as much as I’d like. Nevertheless I did produce a couple short songs in that class.

OfficePANIC, a hard-to-classify piece created about the time I chose to leave my job at TripAdvisor, using many samples of office equipment (staplers, printers, phones) eventually moving into focusing something Sitar-like. I think there is a narrative you can hear in it:

And AEther, a kinda ambient rock piece, vaguely reminiscent of the Europe’s the final countdown, relying heavily on futzing around with a xylophone synthesizer. Can’t say there was a ton of intention in it, but it came out okay:

Someday I hope to find the time and energy to create more and better music.