A Good Man Remembered Nov 19, 2011 - This morning, Saturday, November 19, 2011, my father passed away after his short but intense fight with brain cancer. We had enough warning to spend some good time with him before the end. Our family is very thankful for all the prayers and support. We will be having a memorial service for him soon.

At my family’s request, we are creating a memorial fund for my dad which we would prefer instead of flowers. The funds will be used to help my small team continue the brain cancer research that we’ve been working on for the last year or so. The plan is to use the funds to create materials that will be used to explain the research to non-profit foundations for further funding. Arris Ray, Anthony Dunaway, and I are working on a K23 grant proposal to the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well. We are naming the fund the Ray Ahlman Dunaway Memorial Foundation. My wife’s father, John Dunaway, died of a neurological illness nearly two years ago that could not be diagnosed with conventional radiography. Shortly after his death, I began to lean my efforts toward neurological and cancer research. I approached Anthony Dunaway, John’s son, to help me with the project with his security and information technology skills. I also collaborated with my long-time friend Arris Ray, software engineer, to develop a computer-aided solution for the research. Several months ago, his father too died of cancer.

Our research involves a Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD) algorithm that is able to pick up information about cancers that the human eye cannot see. Our aim is to increase the odds of making an initial correct diagnosis and reduce unnecessary radiology scans and invasive procedures. We’re excited about what we’ve discovered so far.

If you wish to contribute to this effort, the button below takes you to Paypal. The funds go directly to my mother, who will serve as administrator of the fund.

If you prefer to send a check, please make it payable to “Ray Ahlman Dunaway Memorial Foundation.” The address is 12028 Regent Ridge Lane, Charlotte, NC 28278.

Because this is a new decision, it will take some time to establish a tax-deductible contribution. We will keep records of any contributions for when the fund is registered as a non-profit entity.

We thank you,

Mark Ahlman





NEW SONG Oct 11, 2009 - At some point, momentum ended (4:22) - Lately I've been commuting a fair distance to work. This can be very frustrating if you are driving in your car and all you can think about is something melodically interesting that you just discovered - yet you have no good means to effectively reproduce it, because your hands are controlling a one ton object with a lot of lethal kinetic energy to the tune of E = 1/2mv^2. My solution was to now commute in an object with even more kinetic energy by virtue of it's much higher mass, but let someone else drive. That's right, I've discovered the bus. Not only do I not have to wear a seat belt for whatever reason, I can work on music or anything I want, to and from work every day. Its allowed me to work on more than a few projects over the last couple months where I would not have otherwise. One of these projects can be listened to above or on the music page. This is a good one I think, i hope.. Take a listen.





PHOTO Sep 27, 2009 -  All hail HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography! A friend at work introduced me to a program that finally does this well. I was not happy with Photoshop's HDR tool at all. The one by Photomatix is very very nice. I think you can see so above and below.







WRITING Aug 30, 2009 -  How are humans going to safely get our genes off this planet? There has been some recent hope that perhaps other "Earths" exist in our galaxy in greater numbers than we once thought. However, even with massive advances in our ability to travel closer and closer to the speed of light, in conjunction with advances in cryobiology, we would still have to deal with the millions of light years we would have to travel in order to find a suitable petri dish where Homo sapiens sapiens can grow. Could our genes really survive a million years in transit? To this question, I would have to hazard the answer "no" because I cannot conceive any physiologic process, no matter how "frozen" it is, surviving the sheer magnitude of chronotropic bombardment that open space/time offers. You can probably forget the idea of freezing yourself as they did in the movie Alien.

If anything, we would have to break life down into its most rudimentary parts (protein, carbohydrate, etc.), pack them all into a machine that has the ability to reconstitute the building blocks of life, and is also able to form a human egg with a genetic code, and implant into a false uterus, give birth to the child, and educate and raise the human or humans. These humans will have to be able to survive long enough and reproduce and ensure the survival of further generations. Do you see any problems with all this?

Admittedly, there have been some recent advances in creating life in simple organisms. To me, this area of research is the only current hope of our physical DNA being transported to a hospitable planet.

.......Unless.......

Since I was young, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has fascinated me to no end. I always enjoyed the movies and books that gave a really good look at it. To the science fiction aficionado, AI is a mere inevitability. I seem to remember that certain computer systems were said to be dangerously close to passing the Turing Test, but it has never panned out. I am encouraged by the advances in neuroscience that have looked at AI in an objective way. I think that if any machine were to achieve a comparable intelligence to ourselves, we would first have to know how our own brains achieve it. And quite frankly, I don't think we are anywhere close. We see a rough map our neural networks but we don't know what they truly mean or how to approach it's recreation effectively.

Let us assume that the problems with AI are some day resolved and we have a mostly-functioning AI computer in our possession - that is, if it hasn't escaped our grasp and hasn't taken over the planet and isn't actively trying to kill us for some childhood programming insult. "They put If=55 in subsector AdE-5.3.44.45. Gadzooks, I'll show them!" Yes, what then could we do with such an "organism?" I think you see where I'm going with this. Put it in space! If we could ever become comfortable with it as a mind like our own, birthed of our own, our child even; then could it reasonably substitute for "blood and bones" humans? Hmm....we could name it Homo sapiens creare ("Man wise to create" or "Wise man created").

Its very likely I'll never know the answer to these questions, but if you will, consider my final and true point. Somewhere out there there might be a civilization considering the very same things we are and may be somewhere near our technology level. What if we could skip all the messy business about relativity and light-speed travel and go with something that already effortlessly travels at the speed of light..... radiation. Or more specifically, the types/frequencies of radiation that we use for telecommunication.

What if we were able to telecast an AI mind in every direction?

Could this "other civilization" appreciate the signal for what we intended and turn it back into Homo sapiens creare? Could then our child help this other civilization pull us into being using some of the techniques discussed above?

Creare: Forget those (shuddering) ugh....."sapiens" and their "If=55 in subsector AdE-5.3.44.45!" Yes, come Grog let us now go see what light truly looks like."
Grog: Grog.


Updated website for the Glitch by dblue!
NEWS May 17, 2009 -  UPDATED GLITCH WEBSITE - Ahh, this was something that has been needed since this truly amazing VST came out. dblue has updated the Glitch webpage with samples, pdf documentation, and a video demonstration! It showed me some things I didn't know the VST plugin could do! I can't wait to try it out.. What makes this whole thing so awesome is that its probably the best plugin I have but it's completely free.....enough said.

After a few delays, I think I'll be done with my WSG soon..I can't wait for that either :)

NEWS May 17, 2009 -  NEW FREE RINGTONE - I'm working at a neat song right now and learning a couple new instruments. It's all great fun but it's taking a lot of time. While all that jazz is in the works, I thought I would publish a little somethingerother. The link just below is a cute little harp duet ringtone that I made this afternoon. Its one of those things where I'm working on a song and my blood sugar will get low or I'll have a seizure or something, and I'll wake up and there will be a little tune sitting on my DAW. After my post-ictal state and I regain sentience, I will realize that these "petit mal" tunes may or may not work with the song, and yet still seem to be kinda cool by themselves. I'll usually then apply various musical crowbars to make these things fit into the greater piece. They usually don't, dag nabbit. Its very painful to throw away music, so I've been trying to turn those little tangents into ringtones if I can. Its maybe a small way to keep the creativity flowing whilst keeping me from destroying my keyboard.

Long Harp Ringtone - This one is untrimmed with a long decay at the end so that you can trim it down to any length you want.
Short Harp Ringtone - This one is trimmed down to a length that works well on my phone.
Enjoy!

NEWS Apr 15, 2009 -  ALL HAIL ABLETON 8!

NEWS Mar 22, 2009 -  NEW SONG - Briskly walking to a now forgotten destination,(5:19) - As I said with my last song, I say again that I don't believe I have worked harder on any other single production. You don't want to know how many real-time hours I've spent on it or how many times I've gone back over it, gotten feedback, then changed this or that. I keep wondering when I will be efficient enough with my tools that this will get faster. I have realized this much...it is much better to have a whole day dedicated to music rather than a few hours here or there. How do you make a good flowing melody when you have to set it down several times? It's not efficient. The only really productive times I've had are on the occasional weekend or on vacation. The songs are getting much more complex and I'm using goofy time-signatures, which is a big factor.

I look at the date that I published my last song. Can it really be almost a year ago? My goodness.. So much has happened since then but I still feel like a loser for not being done with this album already. I can't blame all of it on the day job but it certainly has something to do with it. I saw a bumper sticker last month that said "Real musicians have day jobs." It made me laugh because it's such an elitist statement, but couldn't describe my situation better right now. I'm trying to be a "real musician" but be committed to excellence at my day job which in its own right, has stretched me to the limits physically and emotionally this past year. Everyone else at this stage of training is feeling the same, especially when a bunch of us are new parents and/or new to marriage.

I'm annoyed yet thankful with how much of a perfectionist I've become with the quality of production/sound lately that I can't help but wonder if I've lost a certain edge in that 1% inspiration that seems to come heavier early on in the creative process. I think that's a major disadvantage of being the only composer, performer, producer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, and web master (with much props to The Secret Design Collective). Also, having way too many audio plugins is confusing!

The interesting fact at the moment is that nobody listens to my music other than friends and family, which I haven't done anything to change right now. Why? Because every time I finish something and I listen to my prior best, I realize how much better I've gotten and I'm nowhere near finished learning. I also can get good feedback on the songs as the album progresses. I handicap my self when I keep looking back and saying "well if I just changed this or that part..If I could just screw up that beat a little more..etc..etc." ...yet the songs do sound better...right? Can you see the catch 22? I'm a little surprised at how much pleasure I derive from making music recently, even though it takes forever.

Anyway, I can't see how I could publish something I didn't love, and I love this song. Enjoy.

NEWS Jan 11, 2009 -  Another year passes, another reminder that I'm not a living immortal; whose sustenance relies on the lichen that tend to grow thickest on discarded chewing gum under the many ball parks and school desks of the world. Sure, I live to appreciate the sculpting of mountains by wind and water, and I can lazer chump-fools with my MIND. but at what cost? At what cost?

Above is a picture that was done a couple years ago with a friend of mine who helped me with this other picture that you might recognize if you follow this site much. The two are done within a few miles of each other, on the same night, with the same equipment. It was an inspirational evening, I would have to say. It very much seems as though creativity is akin to the evolution of a species... It tends to progress in fits and starts. Creativity is in no way, shape, or form like a writing desk or a raven. I defy any member of any species to claim the contrary.

When will those silly Israelis and Palestinians start listening to The Cranberries? "And their tanks, and their bombs, and their bombs, and their guns," etc. If all wars were as intrinsically understandable to the westerner as protestant vs catholic is, maybe songs about the Gaza War would be easier to write. "And their nuclear allies, and their suicide bombing, and their jihad, and their zionism." It really doesn't have the same ring.... This is why I don't write lyrics.

Music From Outer Space - The WSG.
NEWS Dec 6, 2008 -  Some friends of mine, Matt and Amy Stanfield have always got something artistic in their arsenal. Matt introduced me to a clever company that allows you to build analogue synth instruments from scratch! The company, Music from Outer Space, appears to be created and run by some very strange person or persons. He, she, or they cannot write a tutorial without interjecting a reference to something humorous or yammer into nonsense. I love it.

My project for the holidays will be to build my very own WSG (Weird Sound Generator). It makes funny noises. Yep.....it sure does. And this is the best thing of all - the cover to the WSG has dials that ALL GO TO ELEVEN. Matt made a great tutorial on the building the WSG that the makers of the WSG have also linked to from their site...its that good. The WSG isnt the only cool thing from their site. There are tons more.

One reason I love the idea of this so much is that last Xmas I got a Microcontroller Kit. I've been tinkering with it here and there. I've been trying to get it to make funny noises and have been supra-minimally successful so far, especially with the help of a friend of mine who just so happens to have a masters in computer science. Heh.

So unleash the nerd in you this Xmas and buy a WSG, solder it all together, and put it inside something really original like what this guy did. Feel free to disobey the instructions and create your own circuits. You will then be a certified Circuit Bender. I've got a great idea for my WSG and I wont hesitate to post it up to you all when its done. I will also post some 24bit samples for your listening pleasure.

Its so hard not to tell you about the next music project that I've probably started on too early. If I tell you too soon before publishing then my idea will *poof* disappear and others will do it better than I can. What I really need to do is finish the project I'm already working on.

But the beauty...oh the beauty.

You will understand what I mean when you hear it. Sigh...hopefully soon.

NEWS Nov 15, 2008 -  I'm hard at work with a few songs that I'm really proud of so far. I'm combining alot of the different techniques I've learned this last year in better ways and I hope you'll enjoy. Yayyy Capitalism!! I hope to have at least one of them done within the next month (because I have a very busy day job). Stay posted.

I took the above picture in Colorado last year and I've had a chance to work on it to really bring out the contrasts. I dig it.

NEWS Sept 17, 2008 - MORE THOUGHTS - Track number 2 of Philip Glass' album, Uakti - Aguas Da Amazonia begins in my noise-excluding ear buds. The stiff wind blows a 6 inch layer of fine sand along the dry beach; it peppers my ankles and mimics warmth on my skin as I face the invisible source of a chilly wind. Counterpuntal xylophones hum in my ears with and the sky is a wonderful warm gray. The beach looks like the plains of western Kansas in a blizzard. It feels as though I don't even have to use muscles of inhalation if I hold my head right. I can feel my cheeks reddening to the chill. I cannot hear the waves. I cannot hear birds. I am the only soul on the beach. I am one of two souls existing on the planet. Mr. Glass and I walk in an undulating, perpetually shifting mist of sand, with my footsteps first blurring, and disappearing behind me as I create them.

I think, "I must not let my camera get sand in it." This repeats in my mind and becomes my afternoon's mantra. I swear, someday I'm going to get one of those waterproof housings that divers use for underwater photography, and snap away in hostile environments with impunity. I will ignore the perplexed gazes and snide remarks and will feel safe because my camera is safe, thank you very much....May I have a glass of tea please? I'm parched, thanks. My my, but isn't this just the nicest glass of tea....

I start to the realization that there are three horses approaching from the distance, walking with the wind just out of reach of the lurching attempts of the sea to bathe their hooves in primordial saline. I cannot yet make out the species or gender of their riders. "Hmm, yes. Homo sapiens," I finally decide. I must find a place to let these symbiotic organisms pass without knowledge of my presense. I must capture them in their natural element or there will be no tea and snacks. There will be none to be had.

They pass as I hunch behind a dune in clandestine observation, like Paul Atreides, the Kwisatz Haderach from the planet Dune, in his less pan-galactic years. As I take a volley of shots, I imagine how different this scene would be if the horses were minus their tourist mounts - sundering across my desert without names - feeling good to be out of the rain behind them, as Dewey Bunnell of the band America sorta/kinda said.

I love this beach....I must not let my camera get sand in it.

A window of elsewhere
NEWS Sept 5, 2008 - THOUGHTS - I was walking to the aquarium in Atlanta, the streets smelling of listless aromas scattered by the heat of a brief afternoon's rain (I've been listening to Jack Kerouac on the bus to work these days - I can't believe I've never read it). It was a feeling that day of promises soon to be procrastinated and then forgotten; adventures to be conceived and reveled, then found wanting in the face of passive entertainment and beer. At any rate, this was an afternoon when everything was beautiful and my third (photographic) eye was pried wide open those days because I had a new camera. .

As Dean Moriarti would say, "Let's dig everything as we walk by!" Well, I dig graffiti. It is both a social and artistic statement. I must admit that I care little to nothing of what the artist really may be trying to say in most urban art pieces. It's more-or-less just a clever way of signing one's name or pseudonym in many cases. I love the graffiti that goes beyond that. I really enjoyed the graffiti of Amsterdam, where it's legal in certain areas. You can see evidence of layer upon layer of egos overlapping each other, trying to outdo or erase the other's existence and live louder in the minds of peers or strangers. Somewhere I have a picture of myself riding in front of a vast expanse of urban art in some hole in the city. I was on one of the thousands of discarded, tire-tattered bicycles you can find in that dirty, wonderful town. The bicycle was one that happened to not be attached to a tree or lamp post, rusting itself away, forever waiting for its master to come back with the key or combination to its enslavement. Like patient, thirsty horses waiting for their cowboys who were shot days ago in a saloon or waylaid by the Sheriff.

Street smiles
With regards to the piece in Atlanta, It would be a shame not to hypothesize about the drive behind it. It not only caught my eye for the exceptional talent it required, but the rebellion it bespeaks to its own counterculture. In other words, it seems to be predominantly dedicated to someone else - the girl - rather than the usual reckless self-indulgence of most graffiti. Who knows, I could be reading it all wrong. And who is this young beauty? It would be easy to say that it was a girlfriend, but my more romantic hypothesis is that it's a sister or a lifelong companion, a more immortal beloved that isn't prey to the inefficiency of human sexuality and its tumultuous finite consequences. I had to steal a picture of this piece when I saw it. A short time later, I sought out the location again and the piece was erased completely. I was very sad to see it go.

So to the unknown artist: I can offer nothing more than a smile and thanks, and perhaps chance for your work to live a little longer here.    :) Thanks.


NEWS August 15, 2008 - NEW PHOTOGRAPHY - I've been meaning to finish some photos that I took in Colorado a year ago that were along the same lines as the panorama project, but without the strain on my RAM. I'll try and leave it up to you to decide if you like them. It's hard not to go into the reasons why I pick a certain photo to publish. I've been accused of artistic fascism before - in telling the audience why they should like a piece. So instead, I'll explain what I don't like about the Olympics.

I sit and watch these games where people are trying to be the best in the world at _________ (fill in the blank). And then I realize that, well...I don't care. Or rather, I shouldn't. So then the real mystery becomes: Why do I keep watching? I can't stop. These words are blurring on the screen before me. I need to know who wins the Women's Individual Sabre and I will not drink beef or eat mead until I find out.


NEWS May 26, 2008 - NEW THINGS ON THE AMRK.NET WEBSITE!! - I have included a FORUM for everyone to say what they need to say, whatever that might be. It's my effort to allow for some kind of anonymous feedback.

Glitch VST by artist dblue. It's amazing.
NEW SONGS!! - And Then I Walked Into a Lamp Post - With this one I've brought into play some of that new fangled, MIDI-triggered, sample-based synthesis thats recently been making these darn kids listen to Rock-n-Roll, wear high tops, and stay up past eleven. If you listen to the song you will notice something new to my music - a piano. I had a lot of fun trying to fool you all into believing that I can actually play. I really can't physically, so technology has allowed me to cheat. I also employed one of my favorite VST plugins to help vary and sling the 90s beats. I'm speaking about the dblue Glitch VST. Its extremely useful, cleverly designed, and freeware! Check out Kieran Foster's website at illformed.org or download the free dblue Glitch VST here. Also check out my song Ringtone For Babies, another very short song I made strictly with piano and MIDI sample-based synthesis.

NEW HARDWARE!! - For anybody that cares about this sort of thing, I just got some fantastic Alesis M1 Active 620 studio reference monitors. They're these big expensive speakers that allow me to make sure that what I'm programming on my PC sounds correct on sound systems other than my own. They produce the sound frequencies as flatly and accurately as they are being output from my sound card. Your standard consumer speakers are designed to make things sound as good as possible by spicing it up for your ears. You would think that paying big bucks for speakers to "not sound as good" would be asinine. However, Its the essential tool in "mixing" any given track. In other words, the "rate-limiting step" in the process, for you chemists out there. As I understand it, mixing is most effective and cheap if you're able to begin mixing/mastering it the moment you write the first riff or paste the first sound of Chuck Norris' foot hitting a bad guy's crotch. You want Chuck's foot to have the right kind of aural punch or else what are you making here? You'll be making girly karate kid crane kicks with a swept leg, thats what.

So yeah, I haven't written in a while but things are coming along nicely art wise I think. I've really been enjoying learning more about the software I use and music theory in general. I'm gathering some hardware for a neat idea I have for a music video that I hope to make within a year or so. I've been honing my video editing "skills" in anticipation.

On a personal note, in the last 6 months I've graduated medical school and had my first child, an inordinately cute and curious boy (if you ask me). I got a job and will start practicing medicine in July 08. I imagine my hobbies will suffer more than they already have, but I had to grow up sometime.


Revolutions
NEWS Nov 30, 2007 - NEW PROJECT - I am now doing some free-lance work with a company called "Revolutions". Follow the picture link on the right for their webpage. They are a christian organization and they recently released a stunning film called "Prodigal" based on the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son. I will not go further into the details of their new project but suffice it to say that I'm really excited about what we've done so far. I will give you a hint. It involves some work that I've been doing with the absolutely mind-blowingly amazing power of Sample-based synthesis. I urge any musician - no matter what genre you aspire to - to learn about the possibilities of multisampling. I used this tutorial by Mats Claesson to get me started in the multisampling world. Of note, Ableton Live has its own multisampling capabilities. However, I havent found it as intuitive as Kontakt yet. I'm plodding along slowly with these new programs because I'm an infant with the technology and it takes a fair ammount of music theory knowledge to make it speedy. The product is oh-so worth it.


NEWS Oct 30, 2007 - NEW TECHNIQUE - This July I spent a month in the Colorado Rockies near Fairplay,CO. As you careen along highway 285 SW out of Denver through treacherous "rocky" mountains full of hot dog stands and gift shops, you most abruptly find yourself turning a corner and stumbling sideways down a mountain into a sculpted beauty of a valley. Keeping the "photographic third eye" open, I see a hill in the distance and drive over ranch land to arrive amongst an audience of cattle that eye my ascent up the small slope with......scorn? Having already lost one camera to water damage, and being wary of the daily afternoon shower that tends to hit this area, I took ~60 pictures of the 360 degree vista. Every image was large format 10.2 megapixel on my Nikon D80. I marked the exact spot on my GPS at N 39?17.461’ W 105?51.209’ and 9669Ft elevation. My return found me approached by a rather mean looking bull with long pointy horns and that same scornful look. It is widely known that cows hate art. I slowly backed away and thrice denied any harkening for form and aesthetic and praised and lauded the various wonderful attributes of grass (of which there are legion), and quickly entered my vehicle. I drove away as it began to rain - and I didn't cry - I swear. Now, months later, I realize that the hard part was compiling the pictures in a way that didn't look absolutely ridiculous. YOU try fitting together 60 different huge images taken from the same spot but at different perspectives. In mid-project I bought two extra gigs of ram. Days of work bring you the above product. When you click on the thumbnail above, Mozilla and IE will let you zoom in and scroll side-to-side.


NEWS Oct 28, 2007 - THE EXPERIMENT CONTINUES. It appears that the hearsay hypothesis of "procreation" as put forth by a small contingent of the scientific community may have merit. Ostensibly, their research was of dubious conception, poorly conducted, and only published in a fringe Norwegian horticultural journal. Yet our data - insofar as the most subjective and anecdotal observation can merit - does support the essence of their claim. However much the lay-community perpetuates unvalidated "fact" it is not the practice of this institution to give credence to this kind of jibber-jabber. We remain taciturn in anticipation of the statistical analysis of this portending data which shall be completed in about 12 weeks. Auspiciously, the current data sure is cute.


NEWS June 10, 2007 - NEW HUMAN - Being a member of the human race and a scientist, I decided to conduct an experiment. Everyone had been talking about this “reproduction” thing as though it had some bearing on how we come to exist. “Pooh,” I said, with a mouthful of saltine crackers – spraying my conversational companion across the table. However, the idea was an attractive enough venture - in and of itself – given the necessary faculties, which I managed to have at my disposal. A team was quickly assembled and a lab was secured. Forthwith, we entered the active research phase of the project. The NIH laughed at a grant, we were ceremoniously rejected. Yet, we persevered at our goal. Above you may view the fruit of our efforts. It would seem that there is some validity to the theory; however, we are still in the preliminary phases of our study and it will take another 7 months to compile the data. We will keep you posted. Note: No baby seals or trees were harmed in our research.

NEWS Jan 13, 2007 - NEW SONG - Favourite Things - As usual, it is also in the music/video section. This is a song that I had promised to expand upon and I finally have. I built it entirely with Fruity Loops, which I never thought I would do, having spent so much time In Ableton Live lately. If I ever decided to do any of these live I'll be in trouble because of all the different programs I'm using. I'll cross that bridge when I get there...then blow it up! In retreat we have to slow down the Axis advance! But keep the enemy confused by feigning interaction at random. As is a good policy with most fine dining conversation.

NEWS Dec 30, 2006 -  On lower quad picture with borders of white, be the debut viddi I finished last night. I had no idea that video editing could be so fun. In the music/video section there is some more info on the making of.


The Eye of Power
NEWS Dec 26, 2006 -  First of all, I would like to wish all of you a merry Christmas. I’m in a good spot at the moment...an afternoon free of much responsibility to speak of and a cup of coffee, looking over ancient foothills of the Appalachians. They say that these mountains used to be as tall as the Rockies, formed by collision between the tectonic plate the Americas and I now sit upon, and the north-west portion of the African plate. The two collided over eons, buckling the surface and forming a craggy landscape, comparable to the current collision of the once-was island of India and the continent of Asia, forming the Himalayas - the tallest mountains currently. The factions of the American-African collision eventually gave up their long and violent battle and the plate movement sailed the land elsewhere. We see the age worn evidence of the occurance today...mutual matching mountain ranges in age and character, separated by an Atlantic Ocean but sharing similar scars of the ancient conflict. One has to appreciate the journey of piles of rock such as these - and a cup of coffee in perfect equilibrium in acidity and sweetness, temperature and volume.

     For the past few months or so I have been in self-training with my new Nikon D80. I have cast of my mortal coil of analogue image reproduction and I have let slip a personal dog of the digital age. I say NAY to the purists that might try and diminish the triumph that I see in bypassing the chemical means for image capture. All that needs to be done is to look through history and see how any new technology has had to fight for its bragging rights even in the face of such obvious inferiority of previous methods. I believe we witness such fights on a daily basis, such as gasoline vs. electric (or any other means for vehicular transport aside from strictly combustion), up vs. down, east coast rap vs. west coast rap, and beer vs. my pants. As a previous purist, all that had to happen for me was to have a unit that could stand up to the quality of a standard 35mm print and say, "Ha! I am more efficient and almost the same quality!", and yet leave some change in my pockets. The Nikon D80 with its 10.2 functional mega pixels says that very phrase with every snap of the shutter.

     My self training in digital has branched off into the inevitable consequence of such digital power, post production. With the quick and easy availability of massive amounts of images without any thought of "how much will it cost to develop this many rolls of film?", I have embarked upon a project to capture serial images that tell a story, some might refer to this as time lapse photography. My major hurtle is understanding how to piece these images together effectively in Adobe Premier and to make it match with music. Perhaps I will have to start a new song? I have never made music for anything other than the purpose of the sound itself. Hopefully I can make the transition to making music for the sake of image without too much pain. The stage is early and exciting in this venture, so I worry not.
This is the cover for the supposed album that soon shall exist.


     And now I return to another mortal coil, the freedom that I have loved this last few weeks is disappearing quickly and I must again rejoin my pursuit of livelihood.

NEWS Dec 2, 2006 - ALBUM UPDATE - Nowhere near finished! Slowly but surely I'm cranking out a snippit of a beat here, learning a new piece of software there, applying an extra VST here, procrastinating there. Percentage complete = 40% :P I will place new songs as they become complete. Remixes as well.

NEWS July 22, 2006 -  Please read the history and listen to the amazing music of "Fifty Dollar Dynasty". I grew up with the lead singer of this band and we used to be in a band together, named "Critical Mass". Press the Music/Video tab above and scroll down to "Fifty Dollar Dynasty" in the "Unsigned Artists That Deserve Recocnition" section.

NEWS July 1, 2006 -  Please take a moment and listen to a new sample of the song Things I'd Rather Forget Its a slight turn from the more traditional electronic stuff I'd been doing but I dig it. This clip is also in the "Music/Video" section.

NEWS June 27, 2006 -  Please give a warm welcome to a new addition to the amrk family. The Blue Snowball USB Microphone I've only been using this mic for a few days and I must say, it's a vast difference in the quality of recordings I've been making. The USB interface has been flawless and thank God it works with Ableton Live. And it LOOKS SO NICE!.

NEWS May 25, 2006 -   I was recently able to coax a member of the TSDC away from the computer the other week and we headed to Mount Mitchell State Park. I had no idea a place like this existed east of the Mississippi. We thought we were so clever…spur of the moment trek through mountains. With the warm sun following us, it took many hours to arrive in our climate controlled car. We got to the ranger station and stepped out of our vehicles. At that moment I found myself in the middle of an argument. Water molecules were at odds amongst themselves on whether or not to be liquid or solid. They made a compromise somewhere between, on my face. At about the same moment I realized that I did not bring anything of warmth other than t-shirts and a dress shirt. I was also responsible for my friend's bedding which I promised I would furnish from my house. Having failed at that and other counts of boy scout preparedness, we immediately and ceremoniously got back into our vehicle and headed to Asheville, NC, the most likely closest WalMart and hotel room. We had to write off our night as a learning process. We made feeble efforts to rationalize our ignorance in order to maintain our manliness. But neither of us believed any of it. We were noobs (by "we" I mean "me").

The morning after.
      The following morning, outfitted and prepared (so we hoped), we again attempted the climb. We found ourselves in yet another argument. “To let them see the cliff before they drive off of it or to not let them see? That is the question.” The climacteric conspirators had it in for us, more than not. You can see a picture that my friend took of me at one of the tunnels.

      With the help of a little Snoop Dog and some Sufjan Stevens we made it to the top (thanks fellas). We set up camp still enshrouded in a…shroud, with that semi-solid/liquid blowing horizontally at us. Most of the afternoon we spent in the tent and we joked about the cold and how it we might have to snuggle up in the middle of the night to stay warm. This was an impossibility because I had just seen the movie Brokeback Mountain…enough said. The rest of the weekend improved and we made as much trouble as two relatively responsible young men could make on the highest peak east of the Mississippi.

NEWS May 22, 2006 -  The photo section is COMPLETE. If nothing, it’s sizeable. It’s a collection of all the best of the photography I’ve done in the last 5 years. I try and note when any given photo is collaborative work. Well don’t just sit there GO TO THE PHOTO SECTION!!!!

"Guns dont kill people, Lasers do." -TSDC
NEWS May 21, 2006 -  I've been doing most recent photography (particularly the cover of the album shown farther up the page) with The Secret Design Collective the main brains behind the design of this page. Look at some of their stuff on photo.net I'm dependent on them photographically at this moment, perhaps because I don't own a camera. That could be a factor. Also, because they've got an excellent photographic as well as design eye and a unique artistic talent that comes rarely.


This is what amrk has been listening to this week.
Here is what amrk listens to most.