Twenty Thirteen in Review

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If I had to sum up 2013 in a word, it would be grateful. For the labels who released my music, for the professional opportunities that presented themselves, for the life-changing time I spent living in Europe, for the support throughout by my family, friends and colleagues – I am incredibly grateful. Thank you.

Here are some highlights from the past year.


  • Got Hitched – On March 30th I married my love, Michelle. In the words of Humphrey Bogart, here’s looking at you kid.
  • Moved to Europe – Took a job with Soundcloud and moved to Berlin, Germany to lead their Product Design team. While there, did loads of travel – Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, Paris, and London. You should definitely read about our time on Michelle’s travel blog, Funny Duchess.
  • Offline Connections – Had a wonderful time meeting and deepening friendships with online friends Christoph Berg, Heine Christensen, Brendan Codey and his lovely wife, Julie (oh, and their gray tabby Nico, though, I never knew him online).
  • New Friends – Met incredible people during my time abroad. To name but a few: Roman & Laurel of Shakespeare & Sons; Christine, Ralph, and Jen of the “Raumerstrasse Writers”; Mike, Kasper, Marcus, Luis, Sarah, James, Eileen, Monal, Tiffany, Gerrit, and Luise of my design team at Soundcloud; Amir, Jami, Matas, Jean, Diana, Sophie, Leona, and countless others throughout Soundcloud, Berlin, and the places I visited while in Europe.
  • Published Interview – The wonderful Smashing Magazine published an interview with me, entitled Be Humble, Be Honest, Don’t Be Afraid To Fail. If you’re interested in listening to me wax poetic about life, design, inspiration, and more, then please have a read. Special thanks to Leona Hu for speaking with me and making this possible.
  • Moved (Back) to America – A confluence of events led to a bittersweet early departure from Europe and back to the states. Let it be said that moving internationally twice in a year is no joke.


  • NPR Music iPad App – I am still on cloud nine because my design work for this app was recognized as a 2013 Communication Arts Interactive Annual Winner as well as a Webby Award Nominee and a People’s Voice Award Nominee. Incredibly honored!
  • Soundcloud – A bunch of work I started while in Berlin will be shipping very soon. I cannot wait to see it all in the wild and to share more with you once it is live.
  • Caffè Lena History Project – Worked closely with folklorist and dear friend, Jocelyn Arem, on some print design and layout work for her newly published book, “Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse”. Out now on Powerhouse Books.
  • NPR Digital Listening – NPR is pushing forward into the digital frontier and we need your help to guide us along the way. Become a part of our mobile beta testing group to preview new listening options we are working on.


  • The Pace of Which – My third solo album was released exactly a year ago (on my birthday) on the wonderful Twice Remembered, Twice Removed record label. The limited edition CD-r copies sold out quickly (thanks!) but you can still grab yourself a digital copy.
  • Twenty Three and Twenty Six – My short EP of improvisations using my Teenage Engineering OP-1 mini-synthesizer was released free as part of the “Places” series over at A Strangely Isolated Place.
  • The Dwindlers – Continued recording towards our third album. Big plans are in the works. Stay tuned!

Looking Ahead

  • Travel – I am planning trips out West to visit family, to New England for respite and fresh seafood, to Ireland for paper-making and traditional cheesy pancakes, and to Umbria with friends because, well, it’s Italy!
  • Work / Life Balance – Continuing to learn how to say “no” and nourishing side projects. My job, as much as I love it, is but one facet of how I define myself.
  • Health – Work harder at bringing exercise into my daily routine. I am older now and I need to take this seriously.
  • Reading – Continue to work my way through some of the “classics” I’ve never read before.
  • Music – In addition to my work on The Dwindlers, I have a couple of exciting collaborations in the works, as well as new solo material that will all see the light of day this year.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support – online and off, in reading or listening, in friendship or collaboration – I am grateful for it.

Until next time, I hope everyone has a creative new year!

March, In Brief

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A lot has happened this past month.

First, I am happy to say that the NPR Music iPad app I designed last year has been recognized by Communication Arts as a 2013 Interactive Annual winner. Huge congrats to my team – Jen Oh, Ben Hands, Chris Koth, Max Pfennighaus, & Dave Wright.

Second, I am excited to announce that I will be moving to Berlin, Germany, next month to join SoundCloud as Product Designer. I will be working on their next generation of applications, helping them shape the future of audio on the web, and continue to grow as the world’s leading social sound platform.

Third, and most importantly, I married my best friend of 10+ years, Michelle. I cannot thank her enough for holding my hand and jumping off this cliff together.

I will be sharing my thoughts in greater detail on all of these beginning very soon. For now, thank you for reading.

Heavy Rotation – Feb 2013

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I am going to try something new for this month’s collection of recommended music. A theme. I really enjoyed putting this set together so if you connect with this new approach I will continue it going forward.

Through a series of serendipitous discoveries, much of the music I listened to in Feb could be classified as “side projects” of well-known musicians/groups. I hope you enjoy!

Retribution Gospel Choir – S/T

This project started out as a “live only” pairing between two of my favorite minimalist songwriters: Alan Sparhawk of Low and Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon. Unlike their respective main groups, this release is rife with thick, sludgy guitar riffs and higher energy throughout.

Desertshore – Drawing of Threes

Speaking of Red House Painters and slower-paced music. Originally formed by guitarist, and frequent Mark Kozelek collaborator Phil Carney, Drawing of Threes is an incredibly evocative collection of patient, finely-crafted songs.

The Wooden Birds – Magnolia

This project was created by Andrew Kenny, better known as the frontman for drone-pop sensation, The American Analog Set. Full of hypnotic and deceptively simple lines, Magnolia leverages a similar hushed and lo-fi approach to full effect.

Jason Molina – Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go

Shedding his full band for just a guitar and sparse field recordings/found sounds, Magnolia Electric Co. lead, Jason Molina, crafts haunting and somber songs. Not for the light-hearted.

That’s it for this round of Heavy Rotation. Thanks for reading and listening along. Until next month, happy listening!

Heavy Rotation – Jan 2013

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Welcome to the next installment of my Heavy Rotation series. January 2013 saw a bit of travel and lots of shifting weather conditions here in DC. As such, this group of recommended albums is a bit more eclectic than the last. First up…

Caught In the Wake Forever – Against a Simple Wooden Cross

The project of musician & home recording artist, Fraser McGowan, this album is a beautiful collection of somber, lo-fi, bedroom folk songs. Delicate instrumentation and fractured field recordings set the backdrop for his storytelling.

Stan Getz – Meet a Need / Essential Ballads (extended)

This is one of those albums I really wish I could own on vinyl. While Stan Getz is most known for his joyful, faster-paced Bossa Nova melodies, this collection of ballads highlights his lyrical control. Expertly paced and beautifully played, “Meet a Need” is definitely one for the romantic in you.

Martin Schulte – Slow Beauty

Deep, dubby ambient techno from one of the masters, this album is perfectly suited for road trips and focused work sessions. Lush pads and sparse melodic lines slowly reveal themselves at just the right moments throughout this album. A very polished release for this 24 year old producer.

D’Angelo – Voodoo

Released in 2000, this album still sounds as groundbreaking today as it did then. Multi-layered, minimalist soul music with elements of jazz, funk, and hip-hop, Voodoo features an extensive line-up of collaborators including trumpeter Roy Hargrove, guitarist Charlie Hunter, drummer ?uestlove and bassist Pino Palladino. For those interested, this album was also just reissued on vinyl. Highly recommended.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’ve enjoyed some of these albums. Until next time, have a creative and inspiring month!

Twenty Twelve in Review

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As I turn another year older today (yesterday) I wanted to share some highlights from the past year which, upon reflection, was busier than I’d initially remembered.


  • NPR Music iPad App – After 7+ months of intense design & development, we released! To celebrate the launch, NPR Music held a live concert in NYC featuring The Shins.
  • NPR Infinite Player – Affectionately dubbed “the Pandora of News”, we launched the next rev of our smarter listening experience, tailored to your personal interests.
  • NPR for Android – Made significant revisions to our app and pushed into the tablet market, including the new line of Amazon Kindles.
  • NPR for Connected Cars – Still in progress but look forward to making some announcements this year.
  • NPR for Connected Televisions – Also still in progress but look forward to making some announcements this year.
  • Caffé Lena History Project – Worked closely with folklorist, Jocelyn Arem, on some print design and layout work. Lots of exciting news to announce on this front very soon.
  • Smithsonian Institution – Designed a mobile app for visually-impaired individuals in conjunction with one of their ongoing exhibitions.


  • Disquiet Junto – Contributed to this phenomenal project as often as I could. While there weren’t as many submissions as I’d have liked, I am proud of every one I managed to make.
  • The Dwindlers – We released our 2nd album, “Allegories”, began performing out as a duo, and started recording our 3rd album which we hope to press to vinyl later this year.
  • Save the Pollinators – Sadly, this project has not been as successful as we’d hoped. For us this is such an important cause and we really want to put artistic energy toward raising awareness and improving the situation. We’re not giving up and in the coming year we have plans for new ways to draw attention to this project.
  • SoundClouder of the Day and SoundCloud Hero, Washington, DC – My contributions to the Disquiet Junto and my work with Save the Pollinators led to some pretty exciting recognition from SoundCloud. Looking forward to what this next year brings.
  • The Pace of Which – I completed work on my third solo album that, through serendipitous timing, was released on my birthday and is now available in digital and limited edition CD-r varieties.
  • Twenty Three and Twenty Six – I completed a short EP of improvisations using my Teenage Engineering OP-1 mini-synthesizer and am happy to announce it will be released soon as part of the “Places” series over at A Strangely Isolated Place.


  • Milestone Anniversary – Celebrated 10 yrs w/Michelle whom I still adore to this day.
  • NH Vacation – As part of that celebration, we spent some time running around New England. We’re smitten and plan to return to the area more often.
  • FL Vacation – Got to watch my niece graduate high school with honors. Super proud of her.
  • NC Vacation – Got to watch a dear friend return to dancing after years of not being able to move, suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Offline Connections – Got to meet online friends, Team Parris, in person for the first time and bring them to that aforementioned awesome party in NYC with The Shins.
  • Online Connections – Too many to mention, but this past year was really great in terms of making new friends and collaborative partnerships. You know who you are – thank you.
  • Rdio and Buying Music – Since joining in 2011, I’ve had a return to my audiophile roots. As a result, I have bought more music in 2012 (on vinyl) than in the previous 5 years.
  • Photography – While I thoroughly enjoy shooting with my iPhone, I have been wanting to take photographs of the world more closely akin to how I see it – single point of focus. So, I’ve bought a new camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 + Pancake Lens) and am just getting started.
  • Health – A short while ago I began experiencing a heart murmur that was causing shortness of breath. After doctor/cardiologist appointments I am pleased to say it was benign and I am in great health (low blood pressure, normal heart in sound/structure). We think it was caused by an extended period of insomnia.

Looking Ahead

  • Travel – I’d like to do more, a lot more, and maybe even jumping the pond.
  • Time Management / Life Balance – Learning to say ‘no’.
  • Biking – I’d like to do more, a lot more.
  • Photography – I’d like to continue capturing the world around me and learning the language/rules so I can more purposefully bend and break them.
  • Writing – I’d like to do more, both personal journaling and blog posts (many of these bullets are blog-posts-in-waiting).
  • Sleep – I need to continue to nourish a healthy sleeping habit so my body can heal itself naturally.

Lastly, I’d like to just say thank you all for your continued support – online and off, in reading or listening, in friendship or collaboration – I truly appreciate it.

I hope everyone has a creative new year!

Heavy Rotation – Dec 2012

I love music. I love rdio. When I’m not writing, playing, or recording music, I’m listening to it. Inspiration runs deep. I am also a music nerd. I love the genealogy of music – who has played with who, on what label(s) have they recorded, etc. I love to chase the rabbit down the hole. It’s through this serendipity that I often find new music I might not otherwise know about.

It’s because of this that several of my colleagues recently suggested I start writing a monthly blog post about some of the music I have been most into or have newly discovered. Winter is always a contemplative time for me so this first installment will reflect that mood.

The Sight Below – It All Falls Apart

An alias of composer, Rafael Anton Irisarri, this album can best be classified as “ambient techno”. Lush pads, subtle melodies, minimalist beats – this is perfect music for focused work.

Brambles – Charcoal

Another fine release from the Serein label, Brambles are masters of texture and mood. Piano, strings and field-recordings play prominently on this beautiful debut album.

Nils Frahm – Screws

After suffering an accident that left him w/a broken thumb, these are 9 songs pianist/composer, Nils Frahm, recorded during the period his hand was in a cast. Delicate, fragile, and immensely evocative.

Billow Observatory – Billow Observatory

A long-distance collaboration between Jonas Munk (Manual) and Jason Kolb (Auburn Lull), Billow Observatory’s release took 10 years to create. On it, they give us an incredible double-LP of ambient/soundscapes produced solely with guitars. Fans of Hammock take note.

That’s it for this time around. Hopefully some of these artists will be new to you. Until next time, thank you so much for stopping by. Happy Holidays!

New Design, New Focus

Welcome to the next iteration of my site. Believe me when I tell you that this has been a long time coming.

It all started just over 3.5 years ago when I was about to relocate from North Carolina to Washington, DC. I was interviewing furiously with organizations ranging from staffing agencies, to universities, to non-profits. So I began building a site to showcase an enormous breadth of work I had accumulated in an effort to prove my “wide” and “diverse” range of skills. However, in the course of pushing that ball up the hill I came to realize my site had become unruly and hard to maintain. I had design work, video work, dance score work, music composition work, works-in-progress, collaborations, and more, all spread across multiple hand-coded pages. The combination of eventually landing a dream job and the fact I had pushed the design as far as I could led to my site becoming a lovely piece of fruit that began slowly rotting on the vine.

Now, I never stopped producing new work or striking up new collaborations. I just stopped sharing them because there was too much friction in the process to get them posted online. So I began researching content management systems (both database driven and flat file) and eventually settled on kicking the ‘ol WordPress tires. My desire was to be able to, in as few of clicks as possible, get some new work out there for people to take a look at or listen to. My biggest challenge was finding a theme that struck a balance between simplicity and function. It also had to be easy to modify/bend to my will. I am very fussy like that.

Skip ahead. This new look/feel represents my new focus: whether design, music, or writing, it will be content first. Hopefully my love of whitespace, pacing, grids and typography come through as well. Inspiration kindly provided by some talented folks I’m lucky to call friends – Max, Dave, and Able to name but a few.

A few caveats: I’m still getting the lay of the WordPress land so some things might be borked; as the 301 redirects slowly propagate for my old site some of you might have come in through a side door; and I’m still dialing in the mobile-friendly versions of the site. Kindly bear with me. Lastly, I will be adding more updates over the coming weeks so come by again won’t you?

Thank you so much for stopping by. Always be making.