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That Was Then

A website for an active and engaged musician shouldn't bog itself down too much in ancient history. If you're interested in diving deep, you can do so elsewhere on this site; here, I'll hit the high points and provide links to places where you can read more and sample the music involved.  


In 1970, I discovered Switched-On Bach. My head exploded and never really came back together again.  


From 1979 to 1983, I went to school at Oberlin College (Arts and Sciences, not the Conservatory). I got my feet wet in electronic music primarily through independent study projects, recordings with borrowed gear in the dorms, and sneaking into the Conservatory's TIMARA studios after hours. I got some "legitimate" schooling in experimental and early computer music under A. Wayne Slawson at the University of Pittsburgh in 1983 and 1984. My earliest works are unreleased, but can be heard occasionally on my radio show.  


From 1984 to 1989, I was part of the "cassette culture" of early independent music, with releases on a couple of cassette labels, including my own. During this time, as I was completing work on my Ph.D., I had access to the early Internet, where I became a vocal contributor to the nascent mailing-list and newsgroup culture and began to amass the worldwide community of friends I enjoy today.  

From 1990 to 1999, I founded and ran one of the first Internet-assisted musical collaborations in history, a group whose flippant nickname of "Team Metlay" ended up getting attached to three darn good CDs.  


Starting in 1993, I did my best to run a record label with a stable of artists, which I named Atomic City after Oak Ridge, where I did physics research in 1988 and 1990. The label folded in 1997 but I kept the name and logo as a catchall label for various of my creative efforts. Under the Atomic City imprint, I have released a catalog of CDs, cassettes (well, one), DVDs (well one (well, so far)), and in the modern era, CD-Rs and digital downloads. These days, the Atomic City imprint is dormant, as I now release most of my music through other labels.  


From 2003 to 2012, I was the Founder and Coordinator of the Different Skies electronic music festival taking place each autumn at Arcosanti in Arizona. A lot of great music featuring a lot of great people was recorded at the ten festivals, and some of it has been made available to the public.   


Starting in 2005, I began a series of projects called mindSpiral -- a wide variety of group efforts for live concerts and studio recordings. Of the 17 (so far) mindSpiral groupings, two have been successful enough to become musical projects on their own: wonderVu and Infinity Sideways. Many of the mindSpiral concerts were played at the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, Colorado, as accompaniment to live laser and sky shows.  


Starting in 2007, I began an artistic career as the avatar Spiral Sands in Second Life. I play concerts all over that virtual world, solo and with the help of virtual friends who are often colleagues in our world as well, most notably Tony Gerber a.k.a. Cypress Rosewood.  Every Sunday night from 7pm to 9pm Pacific Time, Tony and I play back-to-back shows, usually with live improvised music. You can listen to them on the RadioSpiral stream.


From 2008 to 2016 I was a member of the DJ staff at the Internet Radio station StillStream. This led to a discovery of a hitherto unknown world of amazing ambient musicians, my involvement with the Earth Mantra netlabel, and the release of nine albums by myself (metlay!) and various projects with which I've been associated: mindSpiral, Different Skies, and Labrathisattva.    


2014 marked the end of a period of near-silence as I returned to the creative world—in live performance, in recordings, on streaming radio, and in Second Life—supported by my friends and aided by my tough-but-fair manager, the Gypsy Witch.   


I've been doing this for a long time, and you can find details on many of these projects elsewhere on this site. You will also find links to stuff that's still for sale... and to a large catalog of material that's available for free under Creative Commons licensing. 

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