madcap ontic

The field guide to madcap ontic

July 20th, 2009  |  Tags: ,  |  5 Comments

Yesterday — as Tim, Greg, and I were heading back from an epic road trip — Greg mentioned that he had been meaning to listen to my song “An exciting film” from the first FAWM compilation (more info and an amusing story here; the song itself is available as a download from iTunes or Amazon). While this probably has the most exposure of any pop song I’ve written, I don’t regard it as my best work.

I haven’t had time to finish any productions in a while, but I’ve written some stuff that I’m still pretty happy with. Here’s a list of what I believe are the best songs of the madcap ontic and William Afham catalogs so far, in roughly chronological order and with some RIYLs; song title links are generally to MP3s:

  1. natural lemon flavor (archery target mix)” I wrote this while waiting for students to show up to my office hours one day when I was teaching CS 537 in the summer of 2005; as such, it probably has the highest bang-for-buck ratio of any time-wasting I did as a graduate student. Production info is here.
  2. akvavit” is probably the best of the William Afham songs; it’s more ambient and abstract than most of the madcap ontic material. Production info is here. (If you like this sort of thing, you may also want to check out the drone-based “exophora.”)
  3. I wrote “grains of snow” for FAWM 2008; the idea was roughly: “what would a lament aria for synthesizer sound like?” I like the way it draws on my hip-hop, dub, and glitch influences while remaining melodic and accessible. Production info is here.
  4. Recently, my productions have been influenced more and more by dubstep artists. “twilight” is probably the best of my dubstep tunes. (If you like dubstep, you may also want to hear “sometimes you are not so fond of me” and “provocations, too,” both of which are more cinematic and less dystopian.)

You can listen to the madcap ontic tracks mentioned above if you have Flash installed:

Of course, I welcome listener feedback, even if it’s just to say that you enjoyed (or hated) one of these songs.

In another possible world

February 15th, 2006  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

This isn’t going on because it’s more of a curiosity than a song; furthermore, it demands far too much explanation.

Burr Settles posted a nice review of the 2005 FAWM compilation CD (“14 songs in 28 days”) from WI music magazine Rick’s Cafe. The CD is great, and you can support FAWM by buying a copy from their site.

I (as madcap ontic) had a song on the compilation called “An exciting film.” It was a very simple (albeit sort of catchy) electronic pop song; the reviewer was very kind to compare it to Orbital.

In the run-up to getting final tracks to Burr for the CD, I was working hard on improving my production and getting a bit tired of the song in the process. I tweaked a bit (you can hear some results) and even reworked the whole track from scratch several times. (I eventually hired Colin Fairbairn to bring a professional and objective ear to the mix.)

One of my ultimately-futile reworkings is the subject of this post. The file linked below is cliche-ridden, overcompressed, and hilarious. However, I think it adequately illustrates the depths of my audio-related despair when working on “An exciting film” last summer. (Of course, it was a lot of fun to try and hit so many genre conventions in a short piece of music.)

I present for your entertainment and amusement: An Exciting Film (excerpt of incomplete, rough 12″ dance mix)

February 11th, 2006  |  Tags: , ,  |  5 Comments

I’m pleased to unveil, where you can download (primarily) electronic music written by me and my various pseudonyms. There’s a podcast so you can automatically get new songs with iTunes or another podcast client. Not all of the old madcap ontic songs are there yet, but they will be. (Some desperately need revision and new productions.) For now, there’s a new ambient track that I finished yesterday.

New track

November 19th, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

I wrote an ambient/minimalist piece this summer called “natural lemon flavor,” got some feedback from a couple of friends (thanks, Mark and Matt!), and remixed it last week. Download the mp3 (3’43“, 6.5 mb):

    natural lemon flavor (archery target mix)

As usual, your comments are welcome. (I’m especially interested in feedback regarding the production, but if you hate the song itself, tell me why.)

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An exciting film (redux)

May 19th, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

In February, I posted a track called “An exciting film”; now, I present the “preface paradox” remix of “An exciting film” (4.2 mb MP3). Please let me know what you think. (Thanks to various usual suspects and some folks on the idm-making list for feedback on the original.)

New track: “namespace pollution”

April 21st, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

There’s a new “madcap ontic” track out, called “namespace pollution.” You’re welcome to download an MP3 here.

Electronic music nerds may be interested to know that this track was entirely produced with Urs Heckmann’s Filterscape plugin bundle: nine instances of FilterscapeVA for all percussion, pads, and bass, and three instances of Filterscape (one on the drum sounds, one on the “FM crotales,” and one on the pads).

Urs has been porting Filterscape from Mac to Windows lately (the Windows version is in public beta and will be officially released soon). Every electronic musician should own a copy. I bought mine around Christmastime and it has worked its way into almost everything I’ve done since.

Of course, whether you’re an electronic music nerd or not, you’re more than welcome to listen and to leave feedback.

“An exciting film”

February 19th, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

Since when have I held myself to the same standards as others? Here’s something to listen to — a pop song without words: An exciting film (160kbps mp3). (It’s a bit rough, and sounds better on headphones. Also, a pop song should really have a bridge — one is planned for the future.) I’d appreciate any feedback, constructive or otherwise.


November 17th, 2004  |  Tags: ,  |  2 Comments

Here’s a rough mix of another track I’ve written this month: autoplow. Of course, comments are welcome. (See my previous effort here.)

Here’s a tune

November 16th, 2004  |  Tags: ,  |  3 Comments

I’ve been working on this “album in a month” deal. (For a variety of not-particularly-complicated reasons, I am recording pseudonymously as “madcap ontic.”) I have a few songs so far, but the mixes are extremely rough. Here’s one that doesn’t sound like mud on my stereo: peer drimma.

If you download it, please leave a comment or suggestion here to let me know what you think. Enjoy!