An excerpt from The Fractal Ouroboros, the second call to action by Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze. Over three years in the making, The Fractal Ouroboros is the embodiment of grief, catharsis, and empowerment. It shall be unleashed in time, but for now we offer this piece, "Suffocate O Earthen Lungs; They Now Lungs of Ash", on the Summer Solstice--this day marking 4 years since Offerings of Flesh and Gold was released. Much has changed in these 4 years, but our statements have not. Our hopes have not.
Towards a better world.
This cycle shall be destroyed,
Achaierai // Athshean // Yaeth
This is the first single from our upcoming double LP The Fractal Ouroboros. The album is a beast, clocking in at 74 minutes. Creating it was a lengthy process and I am very pleased to finally be putting a portion of it out into the world. I played drums and mixed and mastered the record.
Therewolf was a band that some of my best friends and I formed way back in 2009. We got together in our drummer’s garage and wrote these songs. For our one and only performance, we were lucky enough to be asked to play the final show at the legendary Oddstad Gallery in Redwood City before it was sold to a commercial real estate developer. That space was central to our community — it had hosted hundreds of shows and major bands from all around the world. The energy of that final event was incredible.
For reasons none of us are really clear on 13+ years later, Therewolf disbanded shortly after that show. A few months later, I chose to move to Washington state and everyone else moved on with their respective lives as well.
I was disappointed that we had never recorded what we had created and tried multiple times to get a remote recording project together. I recorded some demos and tabbed out all the songs to preserve the ideas. The first attempt at a proper recording took place in 2011, but the effort fizzled and the session was scrapped before much progress was made.
I spent 2012-2018 running Big Name Recording Studio full time. In early 2018, my wife and I decided that it was time to switch things up and start our family, and we decided that the best path forward was to pack up and move to Colorado to be close to her family. I had greatly enjoyed having such a flexible recording space for so long and was uncertain what the future might hold for me with regard to being able to produce loud music without irritating any neighbors. I had a few loud recording projects that had yet to get off the ground that I felt could be great — I thought, “It might be now or never!” (Thankfully, I did end up finding a great recording space in Colorado.)
So I set up the necessary gear and got to work on those projects before we moved. This is one of those sessions.
Our drummer Mike told me at some point prior to 2018 that if I wanted to make the Therewolf recording happen, I should just play the drums on it, since it would be much easier logistically than having him do it, and because it would probably never come to fruition otherwise. So I did, trying to stay as faithful as possible to what he had written based on our full-band demos from 2009. (I am thankful that he was still able to participate in this release as the artist behind the album cover!) I then recorded my guitar parts and sent the session off to Steve (guitar) and Kol (bass), who recorded in California and Illinois, respectively.
The session sat dormant until 2021 when Albert announced that he had booked a recording session (also in California) and would be tracking his vocals. This was quite a surprise after the long pause and I was really excited when I heard the result.
Of course, soon after that I began my journey into the world of software development. I took about a year where I did not work on music at all, so again the session sat dormant. But finally, in 2023, more than 13 years after writing the songs and more than 5 years after beginning the session, the music is ready to be shared.
There are plans in the works to resurrect the band and perform live again. I’m not sure exactly what my capacity will be in the new iteration of the project due to living in a different state, but I am excited to see what the future holds for THEREWOLF.
Gapless w/ Lyrics on YouTube:
Stream or Download/Purchase (name-your-price) on Bandcamp:
It is with great excitement that I present my latest work, [escape]!
This album is an exploration of the concept of escaping. Escaping difficult personal circumstances, escaping reality, escaping self-imposed limitations, escaping wider social disaster, etc.
On a lighter note, it also explores the concept of “escaping” the confines of the predominant musical tuning system in the world today.
Like my previous [syzygy] releases [xendeavor one], [ouroboros], and [loiterer], my Yaeth album MMXX, Melopoeia’s ongoing Valaquenta, and my web app Color Horizons, this album explores microtonality, the spaces between the notes found in 12 Tone Equal Temperament (also known as 12 Equal Divisions of the Octave [also known as 12edo]). This release focuses on one particular alternative system, 10 Equal Divisions of the Octave (10edo).
Earlier on in my microtonal experimentation, I commissioned a custom 24edo neck from Metatonal Music. I thought it would be a great way to dip my toes into alternate EDOs — 24edo contains all the normal 12edo notes, plus every pitch exactly in between. I was very happy with the craftsmanship of the custom neck, but I quickly discovered that I found the guitar was pretty difficult to play due to having so many frets to keep in mind (some people can play 31edo guitars with precision, I don’t know how they do it!) Also, most of the new extra notes create rather dissonant harmonies. I was struggling to do anything I found worthwhile with it.
Later, I made [xendeavor one], which had one song in 10edo, The Katechon. While composing that song, I was surprised by how consonant I found the tuning. In my experience, when hearing a new alternative system to 12edo, there’s always an adjustment period — initially the tuning sounds strange, but after listening to it for a period of time it can end up sounding as “normal” as 12edo… just… different. I found my ears normalized 10edo very quickly compared to some other tunings. Later, I made MMXX, where I experimented with 10edo further on the song Rise. Again I was particularly intrigued by it as a tuning.
After much consideration, I decided that I wanted to try 10edo on guitar. Firstly, I knew at this point that I loved the sound that 10edo offers. Secondly, where 24edo is more complex due to having twice as many notes, trying 10edo would go the other direction — in theory, it would be simpler to play than 12edo, due to having fewer frets to keep in mind. Thirdly, while playing my 24edo guitar, I found I was always still mentally locked into 12edo thinking due to the fact that all of the 12edo notes are still present. 10edo shares only one interval with 12edo, the 600 cent tritone (which is present in all even-numbered EDOs). Other than that, it offers entirely different potential harmony. (Though due to having 2 fewer frets, it offers a more limited palette of scales with which to experiment…)
Once again, I began the process of getting a custom neck fabricated. As with my 24edo guitar, I was highly pleased with the result. The big difference was that with this guitar, I was immediately able to pick it up and play things that I found usable/worthwhile. The songs on [escape] are each the result of picking a particular mode of a 10edo scale and seeing what comes naturally from exploring it on this guitar.
One interesting side effect of playing the 10edo guitar for a while is that I now find it much easier to play my 24edo guitar than I did before. Where I used to play the 24edo guitar and get stuck thinking in terms of 12edo with extra notes, playing the 10edo guitar helped break the habits built up by more than 2 decades of 12edo guitar thinking. Now that I can comfortably play the 24edo guitar, there will definitely be some quarter-tone work coming in the future that will feature it.
This is my first complete solo release in over 2 years. Between the pandemic, having a second baby in our family, and spending every single personal free moment I had for a year on a career transition, I had very little time or energy left to produce musical projects. The effects of the pandemic on daily life have lessened, our baby is growing up, and I’ve settled in comfortably in my new line of work. This has left me with much more time and energy to make music. But once I had free time again, I found my musical momentum was low. I have had 6 projects in various stages of completion that have built up (the oldest of which was begun in 2016), but I couldn’t bring myself to actually open Pro Tools and do any work on any of them. This album is an active refreshment of my creative process. I used it to rebuild my momentum. Now that this is done, I am finding much joy in picking those other sessions back up. I look forward to sharing each one of them as they reach completion.
On another note, this is the first release on which I felt inspired to do fully sung vocals since my 2014 math rock offering, Vanishings. For many years I had only felt inspired to make instrumental music or music with harsh vocals… but I’ve always loved singing. Now that I’ve removed that mental block I will definitely be releasing more music with sung vocals as time moves forward. It was especially fun to sing on something microtonal! I’ve wanted to try that since first experimenting with alternative tuning systems.
Thanks to Ron Sword of Metatonal Music for the alternate-EDO neck fabrication, installation, and setup.
Here is an unusual project for which I am playing drums. It falls under the classification of scriptophonic microtonal black metal.
For anyone unfamiliar, in scriptophonic music, the artist designs an algorithm which converts text into musical notes.
Again for anyone unfamiliar, microtonal music utilizes pitches that fall outside of the standard twelve tone equal divisions of the octave musical system (12edo). In this case, we are dividing the octave into 26 equal parts (26edo), one for each letter of the alphabet.
We are converting the entirety of Tolkien’s Valaquenta into music via an algorithm that Dave Tremblay programmed using Python. The algorithm generates the guitar parts from the text, which are played by Dave on a real 26edo guitar and bass. I am then given free rein to write and record drum parts that support those guitar parts. Finally, Brian Leong is providing the vocals, placing the words that were used to generate the guitar parts on top of each section.
There are 29 pieces total and we are recording and releasing them one at a time. The scope of this project is very large and so it will probably take a long time to finish!
In 2017, I was experimenting with algorithmic composition using Pure Data. I made two songs, Key West and Adrift. I intended to make many more and to eventually put the collection on Bandcamp but other projects took precedence. I have finally decided to rectify their absence on the page.
This album is a look back at the hellish year behind us with its attempted authoritarian takeover of the US government, mass death brought about by a bungled federal government response to a deadly global pandemic, crushing misery and isolation brought about by that same pandemic, severe civil unrest due to deep-seated racial inequities, and massive natural disasters fueled by the poor environmental choices collectively made by humanity. It is a prayer for a better world ahead.
Like my album [xendeavor one] from February 2020, this album explores ways of dividing the octave other than the standard 12 equally spaced notes, which is the system that the vast majority of music in the world utilizes. These alternate systems can result in strange and otherworldly tonalities. I had been wanting to make a microtonal black metal album for a few years, and I began this album in early March. As we all know, this is right when the year’s events really kicked off, and so the creation of this album is intimately tied to and influenced by these world events.
Yaeth is the pseudonym I use in my band Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze. This album turned out stylistically and thematically similar in many ways to that project. Once I finished work composing the album I realized that, due to those ties, Yaeth was the only fitting name for this project.
My Life With Closed Eyes is an EP long in the making. As many people who have followed my releases over the years know, I like to invent a set of musical rules and then see what compositions come about when following those rules. For years my good friend Mike Thompson and I had joked about starting a project called “Basses Loaded,” which would feature every member of the band except the drummer playing bass.
In January 2018 I decided to play around with that formula. These songs were the result. Once I had the bass parts all written, I was struck by how video-game-music inspired it sounded, and decided that it made sense to use my v-drum kit for the kick, snare, and toms, to further lean into that sound. (The cymbals are real.)
Originally, I planned to sing on this release, but only bits and pieces of lyrics and melodies were coming to me. I had a mental block. I knew exactly why: every time I listened to the instrumental recordings, I imagined the voice of my old bandmate Buddy Hale. Buddy was the singer for my first reasonably-successful band, Phantom Float, way back in 2008. I have always been a fan of his work, and I felt like this EP would only be what it was supposed to be if I could get him to sing on it.
I was elated when he agreed to participate! I sent him the instrumentals and waited for a while. He would send me bits and pieces… an isolated vocal harmony here, the sound of scissors clipping there. I had no idea what to expect. Then one day, unexpectedly, a bounce with completed vocals appeared in my inbox. And I loved how it had all come together.
Then we spent a long time working on the mix, art, and release details. And here we are today. I could not be more excited to finally share this with the world.
My 2014 release Bird Surgeon – Vanishings is a math rock album that was heavily influenced by screamo. Ever since putting that out, I’ve wanted to do the inverse and write some music that is primarily skramz but heavily influenced by math rock. This is that.
This EP was inspired by the corruption and ineptitude of the Trump administration, the smoke-filled-room political dealings that took down the Sanders campaigns in the 2016 and 2020 primaries, and the bungled pandemic response which has resulted in millions losing work while the billionaires continue to rake in unconscionable profits. Our representation in this country is bought by the mega wealthy and the big corporations to protect profits for shareholders above all else. This is an indictment – not only against the cartoonish evil of the Republican party leadership but also against the complicity of the Democrats in maintaining this system. It is a call to fight, to do what you can with what you have in order to make change to this broken system.