Music School

In September of 2011 I enrolled at College of San Mateo and began working on an Associates of Arts degree in Music. At the time I had taken up classical piano lessons again, but I felt that meeting for one hour a week did not satisfy me. Also, my main goal was to ultimately develop as a jazz musician, and CSM provided an avenue for that.

Over the next three years, I completed many classes but have not finished the degree yet.

Here's a list of the classes I completed.
- Harmony 1 - 3
- Musicianship 1 - 3
- Advanced Piano workshop - 2 semesters
- Jazz Big Band (piano) - 2 semesters
- Jazz Combos (piano) - 3 semesters

College of San Mateo has an excellent music program, and I would recommended it. Professor Jane Jackson is talented pianist and dedicated classical theory teacher. Professor Mike Galisatus is well regarded in the bay area jazz community. He encouraged me to play and has inspired myself and countless other musicians to develop their jazz abilities. Professor Chuck Mackinnon is a NY transplant and contains wealth of knowledge for aspiring jazz combo performer.

Finally, at CSM I met many other musicians who have become friends and musical comrades.

Non Projections

Using a custom VJ software I developed, I performed visuals at a couple of the early Nonprojects record label shows. The software I developed let me mix in a live video feed from a wireless camera which was mounted on the ceiling and pointed down at the performers.

However, after performing visuals twice, I concluded I didn't like it, and prefer performing music.

I released the software as open source on github. You can download it here:

Tutorial Videos:

Materials: Wireless camera, midi controller, projector, custom VJ software
June 2010

Chimerical Toast

Artist and professor Tiffany Sum hired me to help her make a robotic toaster art installation.

Chimerical Toast reverses a domestic object and activity into a bodily regiment with a basic food item. Your physical presence, your diligence of gesture, your commitment to transformation, will conform a piece of grain into the charming and fanciful impression.

My job was to take an off the shelf toaster and reverse engineer it so that it could be safely controlled with a micro-controller. This was challenging, but I managed to make it work with an Arduino, a motor, and some switches. I then hooked up a pair of range sensors which acted as the controls. Tiffany created the enclosure and hand-shaped mold. The project was exhibited in an art gallery in China.

Materials: Toaster, Arduino, DC Motor, Switches, Ultrasonic Range Sensors
More info:
Source Code:

Cargo Collective

I worked at Cargo Collective from from 2009 to 2012.

Cargo is highly regarded in the design and art world as the best service for hosting a website where beauty and quality are at the highest standard. In short, it is an excellent service. To this day Cargo hosts over half a million websites and counting.

I was involved at Cargo Collective from very early on. I first interned with the founders my sophomore year of college (2006) and continued to work for them as the first employee (person #3) full-time immediately after I graduated college in 2009. I was a great fit, because of both my design and my programming abilities.

During my time at Cargo I grew into the role of lead backend engineer and worked on countless projects as the site grew. Below are some of the highlights of my time at Cargo.

  • Design and implement a custom MVC framework with ORM that allowed us to transition the existing codebase into a more maintainable system. In the process I designed a PHP-based router that replaced an Apache .htaccess-based router.

  • Migrate the site's image hosting from using a Linux and Apache based solution to scalable solution using Rackspace Cloud files.

  • Design and implement a queuing system based on Gearman for handling asynchronous and synchronous tasks such as image processing.

  • Design and implement a password protection feature for sites which allows users to set an encrypted password for their website.

  • Design and implement a comment system that allows users use Cargo Collective as a social network.

  • Design and implement Memcached-based caching system for the entire platform. I designed a clever cache breaking mechanism using composable cache keys. At the completion of the project, a site could be served 100% from cache without querying the database.

  • Install and integrate a search index (SPHINX) for searching the entire platform as well as filtered search within a user's individual website.

  • Help scale the architecture from one server to dozens of servers.

The B152's

DESMA 152B was a freeform class was led by Professor Chandler McWilliams. The premise was make something using alternative computer interfaces. I took a leadership role and guided the class in the direction towards creating musical instruments and forming a group to perform with our inventions. I developed a conducting language could be used for improvised group performances. Gestures could signal individual performers to navigate in a predetermined musical set of possibilities. At the senior show, I took the role of conductor, while Professor Chandler McWiliams performed on my Photokoto. Our conducting language was influenced by Walter Thompson's "Sound Painting" language. It was also influenced by my experience performing with Synthia Payne.

- Class website

Additional Files:
- Guidelines.pdf
- Video (coming soon)

Final performance on June 4, 2009

Press Me

Press Me is a sculpture, which is interactive by definition, because it has a button. Its shape marks the spot to press the button, and hear a dazzling sound demonstration. The context for the piece however, was for a exhibition of self-portraits. Press Me is medium between me and the viewer. It asks for their participation in the simplest sense. It brings up the question of why is this asking to be pressed and what do both parties gain by this interaction. It deals with the simple fact that no one cares and the vulnerability of putting yourself out there. It deals with the irony that most interactive media is created alone when it is suppose to be social. Programmers are people, too.

The individual handmade synths were created by myself and classmates as part of a workshop led by Brian Crabtree, the creator of the Monome.


Audio Recordings:
- Audio Recording 1
- Audio Recording 2

Materials: Microcontrollers, Ardunio, Synthesized Audio, Wood, Momentary switch
June 2009

This is a reader in the form of a booklet/poster. It is a collection of writing that influenced me throughout my studies at college. "Trust Yourself" is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson from his essay "Self Reliance".

Bang, Molly – Picture This
Cage, John – The Future of Music Credo
Cisneros, Sandra – Notes to a Young(er) Writer
Eno, Brian – Liner notes to "OHM, Gurus of Early Electronic Music"
Freire, Paulo – The Act of Study
Hester Karlton – Hesterian Spirituals: Musicism within a Poly-dimensional Universe
Kandinksy, Wassily – ?
Maeda, John – Maeda @ Media
Mcluhan, Marshall – The Medium is the Massage
Muller-Brokeman, Joseph – Grid Systems in Graphic Design
Poynor, Rick – No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism
Slouka, Mark – Listening for Silence: Notes on Aural Life
Tapper, Thomas – First Year Counterpoint
Thoreau, Henry David – Walden
Waterman, Chris – American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to mp3

Materials: Large format laser printer. 24x36" paper. 50 copies made.

June 2009

Blinky Chanty Box

Step 1 - One person chants
Step 2 - Match the Leader's Pitch, Sustain as long as you can
Step 3 - If you get tired, pass the mic to a friend
Step 4 - Watch amazing spirits dance in a blinky spectacle of light!
Step 5 - Attain spiritual enLIGHTenment (and inner peace)

A game created in collaboration with Madeleine Gallagher

More Images


Additional Files:

Materials: Microphones, LED's, Arduino, Processing