Photo by nomilknocry. CC-A.
Photo by nomilknocry. CC-A.

My mornings often start the same: a sunny alarm jingle. A lingering war with the snooze button. A reluctant trudge from the bedroom to the shower. Highlights from last night’s Daily Show or a brief spin of Nils Petter Molvaer. Finally, a bowl of freshly-made oatmeal… accompanied by lots, and lots, and lots of freshly-made coffee.

Coffee, either black or with a splash of skim milk, is a key thread in the fabric of my life. I have a cup in the morning, a cup in the afternoon, and often an emergency cup before class (likely needed because of the amount of coffee that I drink, but whatever).  It’s not just the caffeine that fuels my coffee addiction. It’s the sensory assault of complex, yet rewarding aromas and tastes that shocks one awake; the remarkable ability of a brown-black liquid to simultaneously speed up and slow down time; the delicate balance of water, grounds and time – which I haven’t yet perfected – that will determine whether the five-minute drinking experience is a rich bath of smoky, chocolaty velvet or a charred mess of disgusting, caffeinated water. Coffee is more than a start to the day: it’s a concentration etude, a meditation. To borrow a phrase from Vonnegut, it’s a “Buddhist catnap.” (more…)

Now that we’re officially in 2013, it’s time to make a few changes, starting with the website. Welcome, one and all, to the new look for! The content is the same – you’ll find score samples, audio, and upcoming events, just like the old site – but I’ve added more stuff and a few easier-to-navigate menus. 

And as part of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 I’m getting back to blogging! For now, every Sunday and Wednesday this space will feature some new stuff to get your day started. Feel free to comment, look around the site, and get in touch using the Contact tab any time. Welcome to the new site!

Before I was became a highbrow, elitist composer, I was a wayward teenager of the late nineties. My clothes were baggier, my hair was highlighted, and my musical tastes were much, much worse. More importantly, I was one of the first teens to get his gawky hands on Napster, the icon of turn-of-the-century music sharing. For those of you who may need a refresher, Napster (as well as its fellows Limewire, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc.) were ways to anonymously and quickly download music files from other Napster users, while sharing your ever-growing collection with them. In the wake of the DMCA, and due largely to a well-funded smear campaign by the RIAA and many independent labels, these file-sharing giants dropped left and right, and most people, save for a dedicated contingent of online subversives, forgot about sharing music illegally.

People didn’t stop being people, though, and the market for software that makes music available free (legally or not) hasn’t gone away. (more…)