bill van loo – heavyweight trouble

1.leaving MSP 
2.heavyweight trouble memory fades 
4.closing in 


The word “trouble” can have a negative connotation – being in trouble, causing trouble, being troubled. I have certainly been troubled living through the past four years of American politics. Being troubled has a relationship to being conscious of your surroundings and environment and sensing what’s wrong.

The word “trouble” also has a relationship to stirring up or uncovering, however. The traditional Black spiritual “Wade in the Water” talks of how God is going to “trouble the waters” – to stir them up, and make them ready. The late Senator John Lewis talked about getting into “good trouble, necessary trouble” – taking a stand for your convictions and what’s right.

As one way to let good trouble guide me, all proceeds from this album will go to fund the efforts of several organizations whose mission is to empower and bring about a shift in equitable access to electronic music.

AFRORACK™: A Chicago-based audio arts organization with a goal of helping the community develop and thrive through technology resources.

design tools.

Underground Music Academy: a Detroit based hub, which aims to build the future leaders of independent electronic music.

North Coast Modular Collective: a Southeast Michigan-based non-profit, working to increase the skill, knowledge, and accessibility of electronic music artistry through the development of music, instruments, and community.

Music is one of the ways in which I personally frame and order the world. I hope supporting these organizations, through funds raised by this release, can make a difference in bringing that experience to others as well. 


releases April 2, 2021

All tracks composed by Bill Van Loo.

Mixing & mastering by Mogi Grumbles

bill van loo – life in an age of madness

This set of music was primarily written between January and April of 2017, after the tremendous crash and burn of American national politics caused by the 2016 election. Most nights I would retreat to the studio, whether for catharsis, or escape, or some equal mixture of both. I found solace in making music.

For a variety of largely uninteresting reasons, this material remained unreleased until now. I had hoped that some of the issues that arose during its genesis might have been resolved in some way by now, but it seems we are still living life in an age of madness at the time of this writing.

My sincere hope is that you may also find catharsis, escape, and solace through this music, and that in experiencing it, find strength to persist through these maddening times.

All profit from this release will be donated to the following non-profit organizations working to help others. Many thanks for your purchase, which allows them to continue doing the vital work they do. – The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees. – A movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities – Funding teacher-created projects for schools in low-income areas.

Bill Van Loo
June 18, 2018 


10/52: new live recording – chromedecay live 2009

I’m pleased to announce the newest chromedecay release, “chromedecay live 2009“. This release features live performances from Bill Van Loo and Joshua Schnable.

Each of these sets was recorded in late 2009. Bill Van Loo’s set was recorded at the Dreamland Theater in Ypsilanti, MI, and Joshua Schnable’s was recorded at FFMUP in Princeton, NY.

This release is available for purchase via iTunes, Amazon and other digital distribution sites. Check the release page for more details.

Joshua’s live set was recorded on October 12, 2009. It is a collection of new work; a tribute to the Berlin dub techno movement of the mid-1990s.

My live set was essentially a live performance of the Ypsilanti by Night record, with lots of live tweaks and additions, along with a rare performance of my track “FM Study”. You can view video from the first song of my live set below:

Bill Van Loo performs “Ypsilanti by Night” live at the Dreamland Theater from chromedecay on Vimeo.

See also: chromedecay behind the scenes: bill van loo live performance rig, part 1 and part 2, where the gear and methods used to perform my part of this recording are discussed in great detail.

9/52: chromedecay 2010 sampler CD

This week’s 52 things project is the 2010 chromedecay sampler CD. It comes in a handmade cardstock sleeve with one of 5 original photos, and contains a selection of new music by chromedecay artists. It’s $3 plus shipping, or free with the purchase of any full-length release (while supplies last). Read more about this project below.

9/52: chromedecay 2010 label sampler

I often start working on a project idea for 52 things a number of weeks before it’s completed and ready to show here on the site. This week’s project is an example of that type of pre-planning.

I’d been thinking about putting together a sampler CD that would contain new music from chromedecay artists for 2010. It’s important to me that chromedecay releases be unique in some way. The obvious trend has been toward digital-only releases, so I felt the unique quality for this CD sampler would be to emphasize the visual and handmade aspects of it.

I got an email from Snapfish at the beginning of the year, advertising 50 prints for 50 cents (plus shipping costs). I started thinking about what I could do with 50 prints, and realized they’d make great cover art for a small CD-R release.

I then started going through my iPhoto library, looking for photos that would make good covers. I settled on using these 5 photos, with 10 copies of each, for a total of 50 prints:

The prints were 4×6 inches, so I uploaded versions that had a 2″ strip of black to one side in order to produce a final image that was 4×4 inches square. After they arrived, I spent 15 minutes or so cutting off the black strip to produce a final 4×4 square image:
Starting to assemble the covers Cutting the 4x6 prints down to size

After a bit of work, I had all 5 sets of cover photos cut down to size:
the completed 4x4 prints

I then set the cover photos aside, waiting for the right time to complete the assembly of the covers. This week, I spent some time in Photoshop creating the overall cover layout, including placement for the cover photo.

I also used the time between the first of the year and now to solicit new material from some of the chromedecay artists. I got great material from both Joshua Schnable and Rob Theakston, longtime contributors to the label. The final tracklist ended up being this:

  1. Cultivating – Rob Theakston
  2. 1970 Sumeria – Joshua Schnable
  3. 11-14-2009 – Bill Van Loo
  4. 5/52 (Rhodes & Reaktor) – Bill Van Loo
  5. 1970 Sumeria (Bill Van Loo’s JPL remix) – Joshua Schnable
  6. Vostok Station – Joshua Schnable
  7. Overextended – Rob Theakston
  8. The End of It – Bill Van Loo
  9. Dust Bred – Bill Van Loo

After finishing the layout for the CD sleeve, it was time to print, cut, fold, and glue. Here’s a short video describing that process:

9/52: chromedecay 2010 label sampler CD behind-the-scenes from chromedecay on Vimeo.

You can see more photos of the whole process below:

9/52: 2010 chromedecay sampler photos on Flickr

I’m very pleased to announce that these are now available. As mentioned above, it’s $3 plus shipping, or free with the purchase of any full-length release while supplies last.

8/52: Bill Van Loo “The Ghost of an Idea” now available digitally

I’m pleased to announce that a 4-track EP of my ambient guitar work entitled “The Ghost of an Idea” is now available for purchase digitally. This week’s project was getting a page built for it on the chromedecay site, and organizing all the other stuff associated with publicizing the record’s digital release.

This record came together at the beginning of December 2009, when my longtime friend and musical collaborator Rob Theakson sent me the following text message:

The fateful text...

That was on a Monday night, giving me 6 days to produce 21 minutes of music. Now, if this had been anybody but Rob, I would probably have laughed at the idea, and given it no further thought. However, Rob is one of my best friends (as previously mentioned) and he has a way of convincing me that crazy ideas are actually good ones.

I found myself staying late at my church on Tuesday of that week and recording a bunch of guitar improvisations after band practice ended. I had a very loose idea of what it should sound like, along with a rough conceptural framework to hang it on.

The title of the record, “The Ghost of an Idea”, is taken from the prologue of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”; the four track titles are abbreviated forms of chapter titles. As I started thinking about the story and how it’s structured, I was inspired by the complex and emotional memories in it, as well as the idea of the Holy Ghost inhabiting and inspiring artistic works of diverse forms.

That gave me just enough to go on. I took a guitar piece I’d previously recorded for Rob but which had never been released, and that became “The First”. The other 3 pieces were based on these guitar improvisations, which were edited and layered in Logic Audio (much like “6 strings for a winter’s day“, my earlier ambient guitar work).

The cover image is a photo of a house in Ypsilanti that I took last summer:
Ypsilanti house

Once I delivered the final mixes to Rob, he quickly pressed up 50 copies of the record as a 3″ CD, which is one format that his boutique label releases music on. A number of copies made their way to me, and I sold the majority to recipients of my email list in the following week or so. I have a few left to sell at shows, but that’s it, so I realized it made sense to also offer this digitally.

After looking into my options, I found that RouteNote seemed to make the most sense for this release. Its major difference from other digital distribution companies like CDBaby (who I use for most of my digital distribution, especially for releases that are also available as physical CDs) is that RouteNote doesn’t charge a fee upfront, but instead takes a slightly larger percentage of each MP3 sold. For a release with such a small number of tracks, it would take quite a bit of sales to recoup even the $55 setup fee that CDBaby charges, so it seemed to make sense.

I’m very please that this is now available; RouteNote has distributed it to the Amazon MP3 Store and eMusic. It will be available via iTunes very soon.

You can also check out the growing selection of other releases on chromedecay, both by me and others.

spring sale, new digital release, and video & photos from Sync08!

As spring slowly arrives, the overflowing shelves of chromedecay releases needs to get cleaned out. For a limited time, you can now pick up any two chromedecay releases for $15!

Check out our sale page here:

Spring 2008 Sale!

I’m very pleased to announce the latest chromedecay digital release. I’ve played a number of shows with Ann Arbor sound artist Bubblegone, and cdigital011 marks the first release by Bubblegone on chromedecay.

“Record of Memory (live)” explores thought and memory through aural media. Like memory, the sounds and textures are sometimes clear, sometime muddy, often scattered, and always evolving.”

Bubblegone: Record of Memory (live)

The recent Bill Van Loo & J. Schnable live performance at the Sync08 performance was quite a success. You can check out photos and a full-length video of the performance below. Thanks to all who attended & supported us!



cdigital010 released: rob theakston – grand traverse bay EP

I’m very pleased to announce a new release on chromedecay digital, the free download branch of chromedecay. For cdigital010, my longtime friend and collaborator Rob Theakston presents 4 new minimal electronic compositions, with 2 additional remixes by me (Bill Van Loo) and our Thinkbox compatriot Chris McNamara.

rob theakston: grand traverse bay EP cover image
rob theakston – grand traverse bay EP

The cover image for this release features a gorgeous photo by Ypsilanti’s Matt Callow, entitled “Voigtlander Pinhole: Grand Traverse Bay” (from which this release’s title was also drawn).

bill van loo & j. schnable – raindays: now available!

I am extremely pleased to announce that the Bill Van Loo & J. Schnable full-length, “raindays“, is now shipping.

We’re very happy with how “raindays” turned out. It was mastered by Joshua Eustis, half of the acclaimed Hefty recording duo Telefon Tel Aviv. Both J. Schnable and I knew he’d be perfect, and he did a great job. Thanks, Joshua! You can download 2 free mp3s from the album, as well as check out photos from the production process.

Bill Van Loo & J. Schnable – Raindays

cdigital009 released: bill van loo live at the dreamland theatre

I played a live show this Saturday (October 21) at a little venue called the Dreamland Theatre in Ypsilanti, MI. After a few days’ work, I’ve got photos, videos, and MP3s available from the performance:

bill van loo: live at the dreamland theatre (cdigital009)

I presented material from several projects, including “5 sketches for thinkbox” and “chromedecay tracks pt2: 2001-2005“, as well as several unreleased compositions.

Here are direct links to the Flickr photoset and the YouTube video clips, too:

Photos on Flickr:

Videos on YouTube:

Some technical info about the performance: I used Ableton Live on my Powerbook to run loops, using 4 channels of audio loops and 4 channels of MIDI loops. I had a weighted-key MIDI controller playing the Emagic EVP73 Rhodes plugin through Live’s Saturator plug (to dirty it up a little) and the Trigger Finger to play in live drums and control some effects. The Peavey PC1600x was set up as a master mixer (8 channels for levels, 8 channels for delay send level). All that was set up on the Deltex stand I use, with the Trigger Finger set up on a mic stand (such a great feature of that piece!).

I also ran my Line6 PodXT Live for the first time, as both guitar processor and USB Audio interface, which worked out great. I need to spend more time still working on getting used to that box, but it shows great promise for live work, which is one of the big reasons I moved to that from the Johnson J-Station.

chromedecay tracks pt2: now shipping!

I’m pleased to announce that chromedecay tracks pt2: 2001-2005 is now available for purchase, and copies are ready to ship out! This project represents 4 years and 11 tracks, spanning dub-techno, downtempo instrumental hip-hop rhythms, and moody soundscapes. My signature sounds are found all over this record, which sees beauty filtered through a gritty urban palette of sounds and textures.

chromedecay tracks pt2 cover image

Jump to the release page to get more info, download 2 free mp3s from the album, and check out photos from the production process.

You can currently buy chromedecay tracks pt2: 2001-2005 direct from chromedecay via PayPal.

If you live in the United States, just click the “Buy Now (US Shipping)” button below.


If you live outside the US, click the “Buy Now (International Shipping)” PayPal button below.