courtesy phone

An album of sounds I made/synthesized/found/partook in between around 1999 and 2018. Some of it is vaguely telephony/computers/compression related but then there's also a transportation section and the rest is just random noodling. The initial run of 20 floppy disks was originally released at the South End Art Hop in Burlington Vermont, September 7th, 2018.

The album is free to download and or you can buy a floppy copy.

The icon on the floppy disk is one of a series of floppy disk icons I did when I was a kid (I think I kind of loved floppy disks?).

SO- why floppy?

One, better to re-use than recycle or make new. So I re-use. THOUGH, technically this isn't re-use! The floppies are brand new. So it's just USE, but of something that would have been trash (I honestly don't remember where I got them but what else are you going to use a floppy for in 20018??? They would have been e-waste)

Two, I like the color of them :)

Three, it's kind of a commentary on how it doesn't really matter what the physical medium we buy music on these days. Yes vinyl sounds great, yes people sometimes play tapes in their car. But mostly, even if I buy a record, I'm just going to listen to it on my computer/phone anyway.

But I am aware of this. I'm buying the record to support the artist, to show that I like it.

Anyway, four, it's interesting that the whole thing can fit in 1.4mbs.

Five, also interesting is the compression on the audio is so high on the floppy, it contributes to one of the themes of the album: digital distortion and compression beyond comprehension. The online version free for download above is uncompressed.

Six, it's interesting to me to see who actually will listen to the floppy copies! Like a digital treasure hunt haha.


my mom who exposed me to computers at an early age and put up with and encouraged my strange creations.
my girlfriend Francesca Enzler who is a constant source of inspiration
Conor McArdle and Dave Boyd, for jamming with me on plik ployk
Noah Chute, for helping me figure out what a numberaler is
Ben Bonaccio (on one of the recordings laughing I think)
Lauren Akin who was the one leaving the maui voicemail
Gregor Burris who I sampled calling me a bitch on a voicemail on plik ployk hahah sorry Gregor
tape woman
Elon Musk (get your shit together man, lol) and Jeff Brain (?), software developer
those folks on the AM radio that day (Bloomberg's Greg something....)
Chuck Berry
whoever made Sound Sampler for the Mac back in the 90s
Van Dyke Parks
Allen Alda and Roy Natian for sending me that recording
Hannah Burgos for encouraging me to make and share the mellow jam I recorded
the woman on the train speaker and Mikhail Holst and Luke Idziak for taking a wild train trip to the pacific northwest together


Dial comes to town
this is an excerpt from a 20 minute film called Dial Comes to Town about the switch from a phone system where one would lift the receiver to talk to an operator (and no numbers on the phone itself) to rotary dials and the introduction of the dialtone.

cell phone
aha! You want to hear a peaceful dialtone! But no! In the digital age we just get crazy digital distortion like this one I recorded.

Maui voicemail
this is the first 40 seconds of a 2 minute voicemail I received. To me it sounds like this band Maui (later known as Grass Mansion). Heavy.

dirtbike voicemail
a voicemail that sounds kinda like a dirt bike haha.

repeat dat
this is a recording of me interacting with an automated phone service thing. The reason it was so distorted I think was because, I didn't realize it at the time, but I had a setting set in Talkatone (the ios app I was using for telephony at the time) that over-boosted and distorted the audio. I think I lived with this for.... years? lol.

ei ei ei
a recording from a teleconference.

Please Enter the 5 Numbers
turns out when you have one of those 'enter the text you see in the box' style captchas on the web, you sometimes have the option to hear an audio version. This is an unedited recording of the only time I've used that feature. I love the juxtaposition between the robot voice reading numbers and children cheering haha

plik ployk
this is a track I recorded at UVMtv in 2009 with my friends David Boyd and Conor McArdle. The full session is available here. Dave and Conor's voice is pretty funny to me without the visual context.

try and take a walk before you go home
this recording shows up at the end of plik ployk. It's from a voice memo cassette recorder I found at the dump. I think it ends on a positive message :)

triptych of tracks:
The next 3 tracks serve as a bit of a triptych (tracktych heheheh). First one represents Tesla, second one is the combination of Tesla and my solar car, and third one is jokingly the solar car.

super quick question (quickest):
At the time I owned a share of Tesla so I attended the shareholders meeting in 2016. Elon was taking questions at the end. I knew that solar cars aren't really mass market. For the few people they do work for they work really really well. But Tesla's not going to chase such a niche market. But I asked it anyway just to say I asked Elon Musk a question. The video was later uploaded to the Teslas investors site.

Solar Tesla AM
Driving my truck around San Francisco I realized that when I listened to the AM radio the speakers would squeal when I hit the accelerator. This realization happened around the same time I heard a program on the radio about the Tesla Model S. So I recorded it. It's interesting to me because the juxtaposition between the janky truck and the the description of a very modern, impressive car. And when they say "like in a 1980s sci fi movie" and then my AM radio squeals like that. Eventually it just kind of turns into aleatoric AM radio scanning.

Riding Along In My Death-mobile
A remix I did in 2004 of Chuck Berry's Riding Along in my Automobile. I renamed it death-mobile I think because being a junior in highschool that sounds funny. Also for the lines about no safety belts.

In my mind it fits into the triptych as my truck could be looked at as a deathmobile, not because there are no seatbelts but because it's not rated for highspeed crashes (no airbags). Though I never really feel unsafe in my car. I can't go on really fast roads anyway.

faster vice viss
a sound I recorded in 1999. I used to record a lot of sounds.

Beef box
A microkorg jam, 2016

A microkorg jam, 2014

A microkorg jam from 2010. This song has been on my website for a while and was included on the Wedge Comp 2 (Leopard Shepherd Records).

from the same session

evil cotta
from a collection of recordings I shared with Lindsay as inspiration for Plasmaarc Wasted.

from a collection of recordings I shared with Lindsay as inspiration for Plasmaarc Wasted.

bear in a trance
monotron jam, 2014

suck the air out of your head
best with headphones on

accidentally erased my brain
sounds like it

an insane remix I did of Van Dyke Parks' Jack Palance.

coffee maker
a field recording of a coffee machine I did in 2010?

terra cotta sleeping bag
from a collection of recordings I shared with Lindsay as inspiration for our band Plasmaarc Wasted.

mellow alda for mendo burgos
Played some synthesizer over a recording of a lecture by Allen Alda at Stanford someone sent me. I sent this track to my friend Hannah Burgos in Mendocino, so. I should do a better version of this.

rise and shine
on a train trip from Seattle to San Jose in 2015 with my friends Mikhail and Luke. This woman would get on the overhead speaker in the morning and announce that the parlor car was open and serving alcohol, at 10am. Rise and shine!!! hahah

courtesy phone

  1. Dial comes to town
  2. cell phone
  3. Maui voicemail
  4. dirtbike voicemail
  5. repeat dat
  6. ei ei ei
  7. Please Enter the 5 Numbers
  8. plik ployk
  9. try and take a walk before you go home
  10. super quick question (quickest)
  11. Solar Tesla AM
  12. Riding Along In My Death-mobile
  13. faster vice viss
  14. Beef box
  15. spectrals
  16. blappa
  17. difdifdif
  18. evil cotta
  19. trackling
  20. bear in a trance
  21. suck the air out of your head
  22. accidentally erased my brain
  23. VDP
  24. coffee maker
  25. terra cotta sleeping bag
  26. mellow alda for mendo burgos
  27. rise and shine