What can I tell you?

Updated 12-7-11

I haven’t forgotten about the topic or the great comments, tweets, and questions I recieved. I’m just low on time these days with album promotion, the holidays, and my day job. I’ve been backed to the wall with things to do, and many that I want to do are falling off the plate. It’s temporary, and I’ll be back at the blogging the first chance I get. My first priority is to get this process thing rolling in a way tat can be beneficial for us all. New questions are always welcome, emails to me directly are as well. Thank you for your support and great ideas.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that.
Back soon.

I promised a while ago that I would write about my process for making ambient electronic music using only my iPad. This has been a bit of a struggle for me. Sure I know it, and I understand it completely, however putting that in sensible writing has proven to be a whole process of its own.
I have started writing it out, but I keep finding that trying to make sense of it all…well…doesn’t always make sense?
What I have so far is somewhat instructional, but also very philosophical. Thing is, that while I understand my philosophy or personal take may not be very helpful, it is ultimately a large part of my process.
So I thought I’d just reach out and ask you what it is that you would like to know specifically?
That should help me keep things on track and also answer the most concerning of questions you might have that I may otherwise overlook. Make sense?
I admit, at first I didn’t take it very seriously, and felt like it could look arrogant on my part to write it all out. Now, I better understand that some people really do care, and really do want to know. I’m honored that anyone would be interested at all in how I do what I do. So I sincerely want to be helpful.
That said, I ask that anyone interested in picking my crazy brain on the topic of making music on just iOS devices please post your questions here in the comments of this post.
If you’d prefer, go ahead and email me as well at: SmiteMatter@comcast.net
Tell me what you want me to write about. How’s that sound?


  1. One of my main questions would be: how did it all start? I mean, you have one app open, you're fooling with it, got a cool sound, and say something like "maybe I can jam with this on the background". Also, how do you manage to remember what to record when all iPad apps are full-screen and you can't see the daw running? How did you say "ok, i'm gonna try a full album this way"…I have tons of questions, but I don't want to get you bored 😛

  2. OK, I'll give it a shot.First, I'd like to answer the hidden questions in your post (i.e. the ones without question marks), while simultaneously sidestepping the initial seemingly rhetorical one, as well as the statements impersonating questions in paragraphs three and five. I'll also ignore the last two questions, which are primarily conversational and most effectively addressed indirectly simply by posting this comment. My fellow readers with mathematical inclinations may realize at this point that I have effectively reduced the number of true questions in this post to zero, which, of course, leaves only the hidden ones. Therefore, answering those questions first seems to be the most logical choice, if not the only one.I would expect an artist's philosophy to be central to their creative process, inseparable in fact. That is, after all, what makes art personal. It is your philosophy that has led you to construct a body of knowledge that other artists consider valuable and/or interesting. In theory, the philosophies of those interested artists must somewhat resemble your own as a prerequisite to becoming interested in the first place. So I would argue that understanding your philosophy as it relates to your process would be extremely helpful, perhaps critical. The goal of questioning is not to collect answers (unless you're a jounalist, perhaps). The goal is to gain wisdom. The philosophy behind the process, the "why" behind the "what" or "how", holds the key to internalizing and personalizing the answers. In this case, by divulging your philosophy in conjunction with all of those wonderfully geeky technical details, your readers are more likely to walk away (or click away, I suppose) with insights and ideas that can be readily applied to the development of their own creative processes.And blunt force logic suffices to prove that if readers didn't value your "personal take" on the matter, they would have asked someone else. :)OK, now for some real questions. Feel free to answer these outright or just use them as prompts for whatever you're writing. I'll post them in a separate comment due to comment length constraints.

  3. App Questions:1. What apps, if any, do you consider your "core" apps? (As a reminder, there is an implied "and why?" at the end of these questions.)2. What are your starter apps? Your end-to-end apps? Your "finishing touches" apps?3. If you already have a musical idea in mind, which app(s) do you gravitate toward?4. Which apps do you find helpful when you're fresh out of ideas or looking for inspiration?5. How do you organize your apps? This question may seem silly, but I obsess over it, so humor me. :)6. Are there any workarounds or shortcuts you have developed to deal with interoperability issues? Examples might include apps without ACP, or perhaps mixtures of apps with Intua Pasteboard vs. Sonoma AudioCopy, etc.7. Are there any specific compromises you have made due to platform limitations, or at least the limitations of available apps? Is there anything you've run across that just can't be done, or at least not with acceptable results?8. Which apps work well for multitasking? Which ones fail miserably? (I also use a first gen iPad, so your specific experience is of particular interest to me.)Artistic / Music questions:1. How do you (personally) define "ambient electronic music"? What are the boundaries?2. Chicken or egg question: did you set out to make ambient music, or is it that the music you intuitively make is ambient?3. How do you know when a piece is "finished"?4. There are obvious reasons why iOS devices may be better suited for the creation of electronic music vs. polka or latin jazz. Do you consider iOS devices and/or the available choices of apps better suited to creating ambient music vs. other forms of electronic music?Other:1. What kind of headphones do you use?I could do this for days, but I'll stop there for now. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share your experience.

  4. My pointer would go to the following:- You mentioned the apps you consider must haves. So now I wonder in what way do you use them? For what reason? What's their main purpose?- Where do you normally start? Just playing around some apps then finding a cool sound or pattern and continue fro mthere or do you have a clear path set ahead and use the apps most suited for it or maybe somewhere in the middle?- How do you use all the apps together? You use ACP a lot. How do you do it? Do you copy sounds and use them somewhere else or do you copy full tracks or simple patterns with small variations? – How is Virtual Midi affecting your process? How do you integrate that in your process?- And I like the question above somehwere of when you think a piece is finished.

  5. These are great questions. I. Glad I asked, because I would have overlooked many of these things. Thank you for these everyone! I think I'll do a seriies of Q&A type blog posts that answer specific questions. So, keep them coming please. Thank you so much.

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