Blogs

Remembering Brian Young

Last Friday I found out that Brian Young (also known as losingtoday) committed suicide. I’m pretty devastated by this. Brian was a wonderful member of the Portland ambient music community, documenting our shows with his careful eye. He was never less than kind and passionate about our music, sharing his latest musical passions on Facebook. I currently use his photos from a show as my press photos. His entry on discogs shows how much album art he contributed to the community.

Continue reading

Tiny Fugues out today on Audiobulb

Hello everyone - I’d just like to announce that Tiny Fugues, my follow-up to Empty Orchestra, is out now on Audiobulb. It’s a little more acoustic, and a little more symphonic than that album. I hope you enjoy! Many of the tracks are based on improvisations using my Pure Data software called the fuguelooper that converts my ambient improvisations into more rhythmic material, allowing me to change my sounds across octaves and speeds, stretching and compressing my material into unexpected directions.

Continue reading

Food Reviews from the Apocalypse: MRE Video Reviews

I often go through strange cycles when watching YouTube channels. I like cooking videos, I like travel videos, I like videos about Japan. My latest obsession is MRE Review videos. Why do I find these videos so appealing? They are a nice mix of survivalist mentality and food reviews. I think everyone has post-apocalyptic fantasies, and somehow watching these reviews make me feel like I am a little more in control of my future.

Continue reading

New Website

Welcome to the new website. I apologize for not updating the blog with any posts, but I have been having a really terrible relationship with the Tumblr version of this site. It’s annoying, hard to update, and frankly slow-loading. I’ve moved the website over to Hugo and hosting it on netlify, which frankly works much better than Tumblr. I’m not importing the Tumblr photos. I will probably clear out that theme but leave those photos up on Tumblr.

Continue reading

NY Times vs. Cassette Culture

Note: Hey, my letter got published in the NY Times! To the Editor: Though written mostly in jest, I read Rosencrans Baldwin’s piece about “Our Misplaced Nostalgia for Cassette Tapes” as a slap in the face of us small time musicians. Mr. Baldwin clearly does not understand that the cost of manufacturing vinyl and CDs is prohibitive for musicians who sell small numbers of albums. While not ideal, cassettes are easy to manufacture, easy to personalize, and still provide us smaller musicians with a viable way of sharing our music that our fans are willing to purchase.

Continue reading

On Listening

Note: I was asked by Steve Ashby, who teaches a music appreciation class at Virginia Commonwealth, to contribute my thoughts on listening to music as part of his series “Listeners on Listening”. I’ve reproduced the interview below. You buy a new album, or hear a new piece for the first time, describe your routine/experience of its first listening. On first listen, I hope to be captivated and swept away, so I don’t pay attention to details.

Continue reading

On Musical Collaboration

The following essay is part of a series about survival skills for artists. Here is the link to the entire series. I love to collaborate. One of the reasons I enjoy playing the cello so much is that it can play many musical roles: lead, rhythm, backup, counterpoint. Having the cello as my instrument forces me to be versatile, and to find my sonic niche in every collaboration I participate in.

Continue reading

On Theory

The following essay is part of a series I am writing on survival skills for artists. Here is the whole series. Many artists have a bad relationship to theory. This is understandable. There are a lot of bad teachers of theory, who fail to add that theory is mostly a suggestion, and that figuring how to break these rules of music theory is part of the fun of learning it. Also, most of us were taught theory when we were adolescents, which made theory seem restrictive and something to rebel against.

Continue reading

Artists Survival Guide Essays now Creative Commons

I’ve decided to release my Artist’s Survival Guide Essays under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. I feel like they’re more valuable to the community if I let people share them freely. You are free to do what you like with them as long as you attribute me. Please refer to the CC license link above for more info about how to properly attribute me (Ted Laderas, ted@15people.net).

Continue reading

On Influences

The following essay is part of a series I am writing on survival skills for artists. Here is the whole series. It’s often said that “good artists borrow, but that great artists steal.” Stealing is a necessary process to making art, but I think it only works when you have a thought process behind it. What you steal should be processed by you such that the influence is unrecognizable on immediate listens.

Continue reading