I post a lot of photos on Flickr. You can follow me on Twitter.
I'm also a graphic designer and web developer, under the name Symmetriq.
A new collection of mixes called "Twilight" is now available on the DJ Mixes page.
Included are four mixes I recorded between March, 2000 and January, 2001 — tracks from the twilight of the golden age of deep house. Not long after the dawn of the new millennium, the lights came on and everybody went home, and the deep sound has become somewhat scarce since then.
I'm sure we haven't heard the last of deep house, but until the next big wave, here's a look back at some of my favorite records from those days when lush sounds and soulful melodies reigned supreme on dancefloors around the world.
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Free Music Downloads
I've added download links for several of my older tracks on the Discography page. So far I've added 8-Bit Derp, Phoenix, Flotation Device, Metamorphosis and Recap. I have several other older works that I'll eventually add as well, as time allows (some of them need to be re-rendered, and in some cases that means re-engineering the project files a bit).
I also wanted to mention that you can find me on a number of different sites around the net:
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Just wanted to check in and mention a couple things I've been up to lately.
As of January 1st, I've been doing something called "Project 365" — a photo project that involves taking and posting at least one photo per day, for an entire year. Today marks day 120, so I'm just about a third of the way through. You can see what I've been posting in my Project 365 set. Outside of the daily photos, I occasionally post other ones as well; it all ends up in my main Flickr photostream.
Other than that, you can follow me on Twitter, where many of my thoughts end up these days. I mostly link to things I find interesting — articles, photos, etc.
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Goodbye, dear friend
Hello everyone! That's right, you may want to check outside your window for pigs soaring through the sky; I've finally updated my site for the first time in over two years. Please forgive my extended absence. I've got many projects on the go, and lots of things I've been meaning to post, but for today, I've broken my silence to say a few words about the passing of Michael Jackson and what he meant to me.
A friend of mine passed on a link to this article, published in 1984, in which the author discusses several disturbing signs of Michael Jackson's growing eccentricity, which (as we all know now) eventually developed into severe mental, emotional and ultimately physical illnesses.
Apart from providing remarkably early evidence that something was seriously wrong even as far back as 25 years ago, the article gave me a starting point to begin sorting out my thoughts about yesterday's news of MJ's passing.
When that article was published, I was 7, and at that time, I wouldn't have understood what the problem was. Michael Jackson was the biggest star in the world; everyone loved his music; and anything I heard about his crazy mansion and personal amusement park sounded pretty awesome to me.
But I now realize that even back in '84, perhaps the peak of his success and popularity, there were already clear signs of his deep emotional and psychological problems. These are hardly surprising, given the unprecedented attention and pressure he was subjected to as a child star-prodigy — though things may have gotten off to a bad start before his career had even begun.
Aside from the Jackson family's many public episodes of epic dysfunction throughout the years, as young children they were known to be subjected to intense pressure (by their parents, the dad in particular) to develop and market their talents — the more talented of them did so at the cost of a normal childhood and even education.
I'm just musing here; not offering a definitive explanation or judgement, because I simply can't come up with one. MJ's story is indeed a remarkably strange one (I would even say unique in history, as a whole), far too complicated to unravel with any certainty. Personally, I have always felt he was driven to madness, at least in part, by the effects of his overwhelming popularity — especially the uglier side of things, where paparazzi, rumormongers, tabloid writers and other bottom-feeders of society gather like hyenas to feed on wounded lions. However, I believe the fanatics were a problem too; ostensibly they were his fans and supporters, but in such great numbers, a mob of fans has all the respect and consideration of a soccer riot.
When I heard the news yesterday, I was struck by how incredibly sad I felt. Surely this was a foregone conclusion — the inevitable outcome of decades of isolation, dementia and rapidly deteriorating mental and physical health. I would have expected, upon hearing of his passing, to shrug and feel pity and perhaps a little relief that his life of anguish was finally over.
But to my surprise, I was overwhelmed by the news. Though his life was clearly FUBAR in the truest sense, had been for a long time, and couldn't have conceivably ended well anyway, it was as if this hastily-written ending to his fairy-tale-turned-nightmare served as final confirmation that mankind had succeeded at last in destroying the life of a man they claimed to cherish.
I don't mean to suggest anyone actually intended to destroy him. Clearly something was wrong with him in the first place — or at the very least, his rise to superstardom as a young child and resulting abnormal childhood, had some severely adverse effects on him.
My feeling is not one of resentment toward the general public for driving him to madness and then mocking him for it (this does greatly piss me off, but the entire world is not to blame for it). Rather I feel a deep regret that someone so incredibly talented and beloved was so obviously sick and suffering, and we couldn't do anything to help him. Because I really don't think anyone could have helped him — and I'm sure a lot of people tried.
So it's not a sense of indignation I feel; rather, a futile wish that we could have somehow helped him, or at least found some way to treat him with dignity and respect, instead of chasing him away like a leper as he descended into madness. Nonetheless, I'm glad his suffering has finally ended, and I hope this will (in typical human fashion) at least inspire a renewed appreciation for the man and his many gifts to the world of music (and to the world, in general), now that it's too late to show it.
MJ's music has been an important part of my life since before I could even walk — much less strut backwards in that most famous of his signature dance moves. Many of his > 20-year-old songs are in my iTunes library and still get played regularly. And, I couldn't help noticing that even those people who claimed indifference to the news of his passing had gone out of their way to say so.
Whether you knew and loved his music, or only knew or remembered him as the shattered (and quite literally tattered) remains of his former self, his passing was felt around the world.
It's hard to believe he's really gone.
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Photos Section Updated
I've just added seven new images to the Photos page. These are some of my favorite shots from over the last six months, including some photos from Japan that I haven't gotten around to posting on my Japan site yet.
I took the photo on the right as I was about to land in Vancouver after spending a couple weeks in Calgary for Christmas. Check out the rest of the new shots on the Photos page.
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New Drawing: Kaori Mochida
It's been quite awhile since my last artwork, so I decided it was time for a new one. Here's a pencil drawing of Kaori Mochida, the singer from the popular Japanese group Every Little Thing. I got into these guys while I was in Japan last year (which reminds me to mention: I returned to Vancouver last November, after my one year visa was up), and their infectious blend of very-blatantly-80s synth pop and various other styles has grown on me like a rogue weed.
This time I mostly used my mechanical pencil, though I did use HB and 2H pencils in a couple of spots, and of course, a tortillon. I spent about 6-8 hours on this one.
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New Site Launched
Welcome to the new Stormchild.net. After 6 years, and numerous abandoned attempts to redesign my site, I have finally come up with a new design that I like. The previous site was launched in August 2000, and — while it served its purpose — I've been wanting to redo it for a long time.
One of the highlights of the site is the new image viewer, which you'll see whenever you enlarge any image on the site. In the art galleries, there are back/forward controls for moving between images, and you can use the left/right arrow keys on your keyboard for that as well. In all images, you can exit and return to the page you were viewing by pressing the 'esc' or 'x' key on your keyboard.
All pages and CSS have passed W3C validation. The new site works correctly in the following browsers:
- FireFox 220.127.116.11
- Safari 2.0.4
Should work in Safari 1.3 (I'm unable to test it though).
Safari 1.0 is not supported (it has a bug that makes a mess of the navigation bar).
- OmniWeb 5.1.3, 5.5sp17
- Camino 1.0.2
- Opera 9.0
- Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 · Windows
The Mac version of IE is discontinued; I don't have a copy, and I can't test it anymore.
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New DJ Mix: "Light It Up"
Pardon the long hiatus. I moved to Japan last November, and I've been pretty busy here so far. I was teaching English until the end of April, and I've moved three times in the last 6 months. I'm now in Kyoto, relatively settled, and I've been able to get back to producing music and DJing lately. Since I'm only in Japan for a year, all of my gear is still back in Canada. However, I've got my laptop, all my usual software, some good headphones, and recently bought an M-Audio O2 (a very compact MIDI keyboard).
I recorded a new DJ set today. Since my turntables and records are all back in Canada, you might be wondering how I managed to do that. The answer is: Ableton Live. A "Lite" version of the software was included with my M-Audio keyboard; I recently got into using it for DJing, and I like it a lot. I'm using the knobs and buttons on the O2 to control it, and it works very well. I bought the tracks as WAV files from Beatport and Stompy. There's also a new, unreleased track of mine in there, which I wrote in one night last week, in a sudden spurt of inspiration. Enjoy.
- Subjekt: Step Back (Square One Remix) · Freerange · 2005
- Rhythm Plate: Rain · Winding Road · 2006
- Johnny Fiasco: Salsanova (Jacob London Edit) · Agave · 2005
- Stormchild: Nacchi · (unreleased) · 2006
- Mario Fabriani: Headrush · Fetish · 2005
- Trevor Loveys: Turn It Up · Freerange · 2005
- Style Of Eye: You Got That (What? Luv Dub...) · Classic · 2005
- Hot Toddy: Mind Trip (Schmoov! Edit) · Winding Road · 2004
- Office Gossip: Paper Chaser · Flat & Round · 2006
- Office Gossip: Into The Lite · Winding Road · 2006
- Audiomontage: Bounce 2 The Ounce (Squelch Mix) · Freerange · 2006
- Kerri Chandler: Bar A Thym (Tom Middleton Cosmos Mix) · Nite Grooves · 2005
+ Nail: Low Cloud · Classic · 2005
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New Drawing: Ai Otsuka
I've just finished a new pencil drawing of my favorite JPop star, Ai Otsuka.
As usual, I used a mechanical pencil, as well as HB, 2H, B, and 6B pencils, and a tortillon. I used an eraser to "draw" the highlights in her hair. I lost track of time while working on it, but I would guess it took about 15 hours.
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New Illustration: Miki Fujimoto
Here it is...my newest illustration. The subject is Miki Fujimoto — a Japanese pop singer, of Morning Musume fame.
I spent about 30 hours on this one...which is probably why I don't do many of these anymore! As usual, it was made entirely in Adobe Illustrator. I might make a desktop picture version of it; I haven't decided yet. If I do, I'll either have to cut off half the image, or fill the extra space, since the image is portrait- rather than landscape-oriented. We'll see about that.
Here's a collage of the production sequence, with snapshots taken during the process.
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"Arithmatrick" Ships With Reason 3
Reason 3 (a popular music production program) was released today, and features a new, updated version of my track "Arithmatrick" as one of its demo songs. The new version is a lot warmer and punchier, thanks to the new MClass Mastering Suite in Reason 3, which includes an excellent new compressor, limiter, EQ and stereo imager. Reason 3 also features a new Combinator device, which allows you to build your own, new instruments and effects by combining any of Reason's other devices. I used one of these to pack up my SubTractor drum kit (all of the sounds in the song are made with SubTractors, including the percussion), and another to pack up an effects chain.
The song is included as an RPS file in the Demo Songs folder when you install Reason 3. You can download the MP3 here:
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New Track Released On "Roxy Re-Modeled"
A new track of mine ("Thru An Angel's Eyes") was released today on Roxy Re-Modeled, a tribute to Roxy Music featuring new house and downtempo versions of their classic songs.
My track is a remake of "Angel Eyes". It does have the original lyrics in it, but you'll have to listen carefully, cause I spoke them through a vocoder and blended them in as if they were an effect.
The website has more info and samples of all the tracks. Those of you who are Roxy Music/Brian Ferry fans should definitely check it out.
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