upcoming gigs in May

I’ll be playing two upcoming gigs in May.

Thursday, May 19, 2005: solo at Agora Coffeehouse

I will be playing a solo set of music. Sometimes on guitar or electric piano, sometimes off laptop, sometimes improvised, sometimes arranged, sometimes contemplative, sometimes active. Should be fun.

Agora Coffeehouse
4930 S. Hagadorn Rd.
East Lansing, MI
(inside University Reformed Church)

Radial Angel
Bill Van Loo
+ one other act TBA

Doors open at 7pm; I’ll probably go on around 8. $6 recommended donation

Saturday, May 21, 2005: Bill Van Loo + J. Schnable at The Modern Exchange

Josh and I will be playing a duo set together, in the same vein as the set we performed last January at the Shelter in Detroit (archive from 1.31.2004 courtesy Paxahau). We’ll be pulling out all the stops, with dual laptop + trigger pad + effects + instrument madness. We promise to look you in the face and not stare into our laptops all night. Promise.

Thinkbox – Session
Join Thinkbox, the Windsor/Detroit experimental audio/media collective, for
a night of audio and video experimentation. Also come visit Southgate’s
hottest new performance venue “The Modern Exchange”.

When: May 21, 2005
Where: The Modern Exchange, 12219 Dix, Southgate, MI, 48195
Who: Thinkbox’s Chris Bissonnette, Chris McNamara, Steve Roy, Bill Van Loo + J. Schnable.

There will be Thinkbox merchandise such as cds, cd-rs of live performances,
t-shirts, and more.

audioscrobbler knows me now.

One nice thing about using Audioscrobbler for a while – top ten lists sure are easy!

Here’s my top artist list, for example, after using the service for about 4 months:

1 Sara Groves
2 Mars ILL
3 Sufjan Stevens
4 Mat Kearney
5 Johnny Cash
6 Bill Van Loo
7 Sev Statik
8 Deadbeat
9 Enter the Worship Circle
10 Daniel Lanois
10 The Shins

All in all, a pretty good representation of what I’d consider my favorite artists at the moment!

My user profile at audioscrobbler: bvl @ audioscrobbler

mmm, SUGAR

My good friend (and the lifeblood of our office at work) Raquel has opened a business selling cakes. And, oh, what cakes they are.

Here’s her site: sugar’s.

I can personally vouch for how amazing her cakes are, both from eating them all the time at work (mmm, birthdays!) and from a customer’s perspective, too – I ordered 4 cakes for my wife Sarah’s 30th birthday and every one was so, so good.

So, go buy an amazing cake from a small Detroit baker!

seven swans

I know this is the second post about Sufjan Stevens in a short period of time, but I just got Seven Swans, and oh man it’s good. I know I’m about 6 months behind all the really cool kids, but oh well.

Wow, what a great record. “Abraham” literally took my breath away the first time I heard it. The sacrificial ram / Christ symbolism really hit me hard.

Go listen to this guy’s records! Reviews from two different angles:

Review of "Seven Swans" at Pitchfork media

Review of "Seven Swans" at Christianity Today


After using Audioscrobbler for about a month and getting some tracks built up in the system, I have to say I’m really enjoying it.

I actually find myself checking my own page a lot just to see the trends in what I’m listening to. Kinda self-obsessed and weird, maybe, but that’s OK, I guess. One thing that’s a bit weird is that I find myself thinking “I wonder what Audioscrobbler will reflect if I listen to this…”. Big audioscrobbler is watching!

bvl @ audioscrobbler

I really dig the new features that I’m seeing now – Weekly Artist Chart and Weekly Track Chart. Gives a nice look at what’s being played.

One last thing I find interesting – it even tracks plays from a shared iTunes library. The Sara Groves record that’s listed pretty high in my list is actually on a friend at work’s iTunes shared library, and it still tracks me playing it. As a side note, I really, really like that Sara Groves record – she’s an excellent singer-songwriter with a literate, Christian perspective, and the record has really great production; some roots rock shades, some modern rock leanings, some stripped-down ballad-ish pieces – good stuff.

2004 “best of” lists

I posted this on the front page of chromedecay, but thought I’d also capture it here, too.

No year-end recap would be complete without some top 10 lists, and mine is no exception. The records here were mostly released in 2004 (though not all) and serve more as a way of recording what I was listening to, not what I thought the best 10 records or tracks were that got released in 2004 – this is an entirely personal, subjective listing.

Full recordings:

  • Ben Gibbard – live on KEXP (unreleased)
  • New Breed – Nine (uprok)
  • Dert – Fledgling (isolated music)
  • Deadbeat – Something Borrowed, Something Blue (~scape)
  • Flynn – In Like Flynn (illect)
  • Mars ILL – Pirate Radio (self-released)
  • Braille – Shades of Grey (hip-hop is music)
  • Telefon Tel Aviv – Map of what is effortless (hefty)
  • Ohmega Watts – Ubiquity 12″ (ubiquity)
  • illtripp – Dialog of the Downtrodden (illect)


  • Fat Freddy’s Drop – hope
  • Frou Frou – let go
  • Gaelle – give it back
  • Bebel Gilberto – all around (telefon tel aviv mix)
  • Ratatat – cherry
  • BT – the great escape
  • Enter the Worship Circle – beloved
  • Mars ILL – sunstep
  • Underground Rise – southern brutality
  • Procussions – freestyle from mass reality mixtape
  • manCHILD – freestyle from mass reality mixtape
  • Mat Kearney – bullet
  • Sara Groves – Jesus, you’re beautiful
  • Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ – You are the living Word
  • manCHILD & Adan Genesis – how it is (beatmart “best of the submissions
    vol. 1”)


I don’t really do New Years resolutions. However, I do have a few things I want to be more on top of this year.

One is updating this blog more often. Given that this is the 4th entry tonight, I’d say I’m doing OK so far. However, that really falls into a more general resolution to stay in better contact with people, both personally and regarding the projects I’ve been working on.

Therefore, here’s a little entry about the projects I’m currently working on.

I tracked vocals for Listener’s contribution to my ‘songs in the night’ project on New Years Eve day in the basement of Shameless mogul Brown. That was a lot of fun, and I think the track he’s on will take that record to a deeper, grittier place than I’d expected. It’s grown-up business for sure. I also spent a number of hours working on video ideas with him – I don’t want to say too much yet, but hopefully I’ll be contributing a video to one of his upcoming projects.

Also, I’ve been working out ideas this weekend for the title track “song in the night” for the ‘songs in the night’ project. I got the melody and a scrap of lyrics while driving a number of months ago, and after I put together a basic sketch of that in Logic, I found myself beatboxing along to it in the car. I called my voicemail, recorded the beatbox, and then dumped that into Logic, too, which gave a skeletal outline for the rhythm track. This weekend was spent refining the rhythm track and chords, and figuring out where it’s going. Fun stuff.

Now it’s off to bed, so I can get up in time to go the the fitness club I joined at the end of December (again, not really a resolution. Honest.).

2004 in review

2004 in review

Personally, 2004 was a great year for me in many ways. It saw the birth of my daughter, Hannah Elaine, another year of marriage to my wife Sarah, and my son Collin starting kindergarten. I also became more and more involved and active in my church, especially running live sound for both regular services and special events.

Musically, 2004 was a year of intense studio work punctuated by several performances. I was blessed to perform at the Shelter (Detroit) in January with my good friend Josh Schnable, debuting material that will be on our collaborative record to be released in 2005. I also traveled to Montreal with the thinkbox crew for a performance at the Mutek festival in June, which was a great trip and overall experience.

As far as thinkbox-related news for 2004, we released our second record, entitled “guitar”, in the thematic series thinkox editions. I had two tracks on that record, which made up the sum total of my recorded output that was released in 2004. I also made the hard decision to step back from my previous level of involvement with thinkbox and take the role of a contributing artist rather than a core group member. I will still be involved in thinkbox projects and events, however, and I treasure the work we’ve done together (and will continue to do).

Finally, looking foward to the future: I made reference to the fact that 2004 was a year of intense studio work, and a number of the projects that were worked on will finally see the light of day in 2005. My long-time friend Josh Schnable and I have been working on an album’s worth of material for around 3 years now, and that album is finally finished and being sent to various labels for release consideration. We’re both extremely excited about it, and can’t wait for it to be available to hear and experience.

I’ve also been working on a project of collaborations for the past year (initial production began in December of 2003) entitled “songs in the night”. This project has been very special to me, as it’s the first of my artistic endeavours to directly reference my Christian faith, and I’ve been blessed to be able to bring in a number of very talented guest artists to contribute, including Listener (Mush, Deepspace5), Double Helix (Transmat, Emoticon, Rush Hour), and others. The first 2/3 of 2004 were spent in production for the record, and I’ve been slowly working with the guest artists to put together the shared music we’ve been working on. I expect this record to be released in 2005 sometime, though no plans are certain as to label or release date at this point.

top tracks of 2005 thus far

A few favorite tracks for 2005 so far (all vaguely centered around hip-hop, though only the Mars ILL tracks are really anything “purist”).

Mat Kearney – girl america (bullet)
Mars ILL – reach, flirt with fame (pirate radio)
Soul-Junk – Ungst Func Slag Collision, Hogging All The Islands