Yes, it’s quiet, and here’s why

We’re launching a new website. It’s actually live right now, but has a lot of stuff missing. However, the entire contents of this blog have been moved over to the new site, so you can dump this link and instead use the following as your one-stop shop for me, GypsyWitch, and the forthcoming RadioSpiral streaming site: Radio Spiral

Thanks very much for your ongoing support; the new site is already as capable as the old site plus this blog, and will only get better. See you there!




Fading into Existence

As mentioned in Gypsy’s recent post, I performed at the Asheville Electro-Music Festival last month, and gave two pieces their live premiere: “Fade To Blue”, a live improvisation for solo iPhone, and “Fade To Red”, a live performance on solo iPad.

These two tracks join “Fade To White (Glimpse)”, which appears on the CD sampler for the 2015 festival (available for purchase at Greg Waltzer’s Kunaki store), “Fade To Green” (on the beautiful charity compilation This Music Plants Trees, downloadable at The Sound4Good Bandcamp site), and “Fade To Silver”, yet to be released. All of this music was performed on iOS devices, with different apps and controllers and workflow (except for “White” and “Red”, both in Gadget).

So what, you ask? Well, I have to be honest with you… this whole “creating music on an iOS device” thing was an early interest of mine, but it’s only been recently that the tools have gotten to where I am comfortable with them and the iOS devices themselves have gotten powerful enough so that I can use them the way I want to. I’ve been making music on iOS since the first iPad was released, but iOS music didn’t really start to take off until the A5 chip was released, and didn’t really get seamless until the A7… and the A8 and A8X in my current devices are amazing in that respect. Sure, iOS 9 will come out and screw everything up this fall, but until then, I’m making music at a pace unheard of in my recent history. (So much so that I haven’t had much time to blog, alas.)

The current plan goes something like this: “Fade To White” needs to be expanded to full length (there were time strictures on the sampler CD that limited its length); “Fade To Green” needs to be revisited and possibly polished and expanded; I need to capture a good rendition of “Fade To Blue” without clams — it’s done live and recorded in stereo, one mistake means I have to start over; “Fade To Red” is very rough and messy and needs a proper arrangement and mix; and “Fade To Silver” needs to be recorded (and possibly released elsewhere)… once that’s done, I have enough for an entirely unexpected and unforeseen metlay! album, which I will probably release on Bandcamp/Kunaki (in addition to reuploading CD versions of my free albums on the Earth Mantra netlabel). Between that and getting the second Labrathisattva album out the door, I’ll be plenty busy for a while…

…but not too busy for Internet Radio and Second Life. My show has moved to 8 PM EDT/7 PM Stillstream time/6 PM MDT/5 PM Second Life Time every Sunday evening, and I may have a big announcement about a Second Life performance coming soon. Thanks for sticking with me.


Smokin’ in the Smokies!

Yes, it’s been a long time no blog, but here we are again, with a report from the Asheville Electro-Music Festival 2015, where Spiral was one of a plethora of performers to delight their audience with some seriously smokin’ electronic music goodness.

Fade to Blue - Live

Fade to Blue – Live

The Asheville electro-music festival brings some of the world’s finest electronic and experimental musicians together to offer a series of concerts, workshops, demonstrations and collaborations in addition to the live music and live video art. The intention is to offer a multi-media experience. I think it’s safe to say that the organizers reached their goal – if only from the delighted Facebook comments that were being sent during the performances!

Fade to Red - Live

Fade to Red – Live

Spiral offered two pieces for the audience’s delectation, and they were very favorably received. Fade to Blue and Fade to Red are just two in a collection of colorways that Spiral is producing – watch this space for more details as and when they are available. Both of these are interesting tracks as Fade to Blue was done entirely on an iPhone as Spiral stood before the audience, and Fade to Red was done entirely on one iPad.

For now, though, you can enjoy these two tracks live – courtesy of the videos produced by EMAVL Steve Mokris. Just click the links, sit back and enjoy!

Fade to Blue:

Fade to Red:

«Gypsy Witch«

Concrete Mixer Live – it’s all in the mix!

Concrete Mixer PosterAre you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Musique concrète, according to our friendly Wikipedia: “can feature sounds derived from recordings of musical instruments, voice, and the natural environment as well as those created using synthesizers and computer-based digital signal processing.” In other words, it is music formed from processed sound, rather than a sound made directly from an instrument you’re seeing right in front of you. Sounds are recorded and messed with, then spat out again for your listening pleasure. Why do you need to know this? Simple – so that you can be prepared for a singularly unique experience when Spiral plays musique concrète at Concrete Mixer IV on Friday 30th January 2015 at 8pm Pacific, 9pm Mountain, 10pm Central etc.

Whether you are close enough to Denver to attend at the Walnut Room, whether you want to just listen via Radio Spiral, or whether you would like to join me in Second Life to listen, there’s a way for you to be there and a way for you to connect to others attending. Be prepared for loud, improvised and very unusual music from a collaboration of some great names in ambient and synthesised sound.

I hope you’ll join us whichever way you can, and enjoy the unique experience of Concrete Mixer. Spiral’s chat room (in the sidebar) will be open for business, to, so I’ll see you there!

«Gypsy Witch«

An Evening Of EEK!

On Saturday night, December 27, I relaunched the Eklektik Elektrik Kolektiv, or EEK!, in a “flash festival” at the amazing La Vita Bella coffee house in Longmont, Colorado.

EEK! got its start some years ago, when my good friend Tony Gerber (Cypress Rosewood in Second Life) asked me to sit in on an Earthdance Festival in SL, the day before I was scheduled to drive to Arizona for a Different Skies event with my friends Nick Rothwell, Otso Pakarinen, and David Herpich.

We threw together a collaborative improv set and wowed the audience (although I’m not clear if it was actually, “Wow… THAT was different”), and since then, EEK! has been a vehicle for gangs of crazed musicians taking over a stage with no preparation and making noises at an equally unprepared audience.

EEK! live - Wes Milholen of ANTIDATA demonstrates his modular for fellow musicians and a growing audience at La Vita Bella

EEK! live – Wes Milholen of ANTIDATA demonstrates his modular for fellow musicians and a growing audience at La Vita Bella

This time, EEK! came about when I quite suddenly got a slot to play a Saturday night at LVB, a fantastic venue for music. A few days later, I mentioned it at a meeting of the Boulder Synthesizer Meetup (“A drinking group with a synthesizer problem”, as founder Mark Mosher calls it), and impulsively threw the roster open to anyone who wanted to join in. Within 15 minutes, I had a slate of eight musicians on board including myself; Mark Mosher had to back out due to family commitments, but a few weeks later I was piling onto the tiny stage with six other people, a couple of whom I’d never met before they signed up for the show.

We had Dino JA Deane on his little rig of looping groovebox and iPad Samplr, Wes Milholen (ANTIDATA) on modular synthesizer, Rick Reid on Moog Theremini and assorted effects boxes, Allen Goodman (Desert Mystic) on guitar and virtual instruments, Chris Frain (Lenn Cicada) on Moog Slim Phatty and dueling iPads, and me at the end… because I was jockeying the house mix and running the streams to Second Life and Radio Spiral (my very own stream for events like this) as I went, the only equipment I had room for to actually make music with was an iPad and an iPhone.

In addition to the six players, Don Hume of NIIO Analog had a rig with an Eventide reverb and his own mix-modulation-EQ device for messing with it, which which he processed signals from the other musicians… only occasionally screwing up the entire mix by accident. (Sorry, Don, my bad for not having thought through the routings before showtime!)

Gypsy Witch's beautiful virtual concert hall, with Spiral Sands playing keyboards

Gypsy Witch’s beautiful virtual concert hall, with Spiral Sands playing keyboards

I provided a live mix of the musicians which was fed to Second Life via my own streaming station, Radio Spiral. Naturally, my trusty SL factotum Gypsy Witch (Diana Smethurst in the UK) was on hand with me in Second Life, having constructed a beautiful virtual stage for my avatar Spiral Sands to use, performing to an appreciative online audience.

Each performer had a 15 to 20 minute set, followed by a break and then a few collaborations. Because these folks hadn’t played together before, there were only a few such interactions during the evening, but the people who took part had a lot of fun, and the audience (the biggest we’ve ever had at LVB, a packed house) seemed to really enjoy everything.

End result? The proprietor of LVB wants us back! So… later this spring, look for more EEK!age coming your way….

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EEK! Mr Spiral and friends play live… don’t miss it!

You’ve got less than two days to clear your calendar! With the holiday season on us, there are plenty of offerings for your seasonal entertainment. If you wanted to go to a club and listen to the latest winner of The X Factor, you’d not even be reading this blog, so chances are, you’d like something a little different. Well EEK!

EEK! It's music, but not as we know it...

EEK! It’s music, but not as we know it…

EEK! for your information, is The Eklektik Elektrik Kolektiv – a group of some of the great and good of the electronic music community in the Boulder area of Colorado. Along with our very own Spiral Sands aka Mike Metlay (whose evil genius masterminded the event) the Kolektiv will be playing live at La Vita Bella in Longmont. Home of some of the wickedest desserts to ever tantalize your tastebuds, La Vita Bella will be hosting the Kolektiv for most of Saturday 27th December 2014 at 6pm SLT/ PDT, 7pm Mountain Time (local time), 9pm Eastern… and you’re invited!

“But Gypsy, I’m not in Colorado!” I hear you cry…

Never fear, you can join us in Second Life and hear it all streamed live there, as well as get a taste of the new set I’ve been slaving away at building (more on that later).

“But GYPSY! I’m not on Second Life and you can’t make me go and I don’t want to… but I want to hear EEK!” I hear you say (you did, right? Please keep up!)…

Well, yet again, never fear. You can now listen to the live, improvised performance via the computer you’re using to read this, and don’t you dare tell me you haven’t got one of those, ‘cos I know you have! Yes, you can listen right here on this page, just click the “Radio Spiral” widget in the sidebar when the show is due to start and off you go!

The Mystery Skybox

So, having assured you that you are not excluded and encouraging you to listen, let me tease those of you in Second Life that are planning to come. If you know Spiral’s HQ, you’ll know it’s a building with a small stage, comfy chairs, free mugs and lots of light and space with a decent view to the sea. Well, that’s where the show is normally streamed from and where you might be expecting to hear this show. You’d be wrong.


The Mystery Rings

Up in the skies over Spiral’s HQ is the mystery skybox you’ll see in the picture. What’s in the skybox? Well, right now, it’s what you can see in the picture below, complete with a grid, what looks like a fried egg, and me. Not impressed? Not even by the mystery rings in the picture to the right that’s there simply to make the page a bit more interesting?  Well, I think you might enjoy what’s in the skybox even more now you’ve been teased… so you’ll have to come along to find out! As a sweetener, if you think you like the look of the EEK! shirt I’m wearing, then you can pick one up free just for attending! In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the SLURL, although you can click the button on the widgety sidebar for speed, too.

Mystery Grid

The Miss in a box

So, to summarize: this is a performance not to be missed, a Second Life set that’s worth the trip (not to mention the very coolest free shirts for those that make it) and a rare chance to hear this talented group of musicians. So what are you waiting for! EEK! on the 27th!

«Gypsy Witch«

Paws for a new release!

I’m delighted to be the bearer of good news and announce that Mike has a new album out on the excellent Aural Films label. Continuing with its collection of “Fog Music”, Mike’s album (under his solo name of metlay!) is titled “on little cat feet” and is number 27 in the series. It’s beautiful. Evocative, easy to listen to but still nicely evolving. I was charmed, and I hope you will be too. Let’s find out, shall we? Listen to it right here, and see what you think! Please do take some time to comment, Mike’s keen for any and all feedback. If you have time to Like or contribute via the various ways the label offers, it would be much appreciated. I hope you enjoy this lovely piece of descriptive and atmospheric music.

«Gypsy Witch«