Jim Marshall, 1923-2012


I know, it’s been forever. I can honestly say that I’ve been busy – usually an empty excuse for an excuse – but it’s the truth, I promise. I realize I need to stop saving up all kinds of mental tidbits for lengthy posts, and just let stuff out a little at a time. This’ll be a lengthy catch-up, and then I resolve to post bite-sized nuggets from here on out. Besides, my power is out, and what better way to catch up than with my remaining-battery-deadline, a candle, and a bowl of cereal?

Together with Ali Bavarian, we have formed Paper Sound: a music and audio production partnership for games! I love the entire craft, development, and experience of games, and it was only fitting to finally formalize it into a focused entity! I’ll be focusing all future music production through this channel. We are currently wrapping up work on Brainsss, an upcoming zombie game for iOS by Lonely Few. Work on it has been fun as it’s a pretty lighthearted game, but still good composition/production/mixing experience. You can check out the tunes on the Paper Sound site, and we had a brief interview on the Indie Games Podcast, conducted by Jeriaska.

About five months ago an opportunity presented itself that I couldn’t pass up. I have wanted to work on video games since I first played one (which is why I jumped at the chance with the iPhone). I remember being mesmerized by all the games on our Intellivision, Amiga, Macs & PCs, and of course through the arcade, 8- and 16-bit eras. Here was a medium that successfully combined everything – art, sound, music, story, interactivity – to create the illusion of an entirely parallel world for you to enjoy. And I enjoyed! My love of coding, art, music, and sound all stems from this, and I was lucky enough to join the crazy-talented team at Adhesive Games to work on Hawken as a User Interface and Sound Designer. It’s been an awesome experience so far and I’ve already cranked out a ton of work, some of which will be visible/audible in some soon-to-be-released trailers. We have a super busy schedule ahead of us as the open beta starts on 12/12/12, and we’ll be moving into a very nice and large new space in Pasadena this week – complete with a custom dedicated audio room!

The combination of Hawken and Paper Sound has completely smothered my schedule (in a good way). Unfortunately, my six-year Ruby on Rails journey with Gallery Nucleus has pretty much had to end. I hoped to continue helping with some semimonthly updates, but I have barely had the chance to contribute at all. I will still be fixing some bugs and adding a few new features, but am definitely seeking out a Ruby on Rails expert for some more help. Nucleus is an amazing group of people creating a community and a place for the art creators and fans to come together, and there’s no secret to its method – it’s simply pure hard work from people that care. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the team for so long, but it’s not really parting ways either – we are all part of the same circles, including the Hawken team. Before I shifted over, we released a couple of big new features on the site – full translations, and new print & art reductive filters (a much better way to find exactly what you’re looking for by subject matter, color, size, etc.)! The talented design team Matik also had some very cool installations in the gallery, including the Dream Tweet. Go visit (n)!

Scott C’s new website is up! He’s one of my favorite and most prolific artists! His output is busting at the seams so much, and spread across so many sites and resources, that he wanted to consolidate everything and have a web place to call home, so I helped him set up a WordPress-based site. I’ve been a fan of the platform after helping the talented Jen Wang with her new site, especially as a simple content-management system that is pretty intuitive on the back-end. There’s a lot of new-fangled stuff out there, but WordPress works, and works well. Go check out all his amazing work! Speaking of… Maurene worked very hard on Scott’s new book, which is well-designed and amazing collection of material for the Scott C fan… Check it out!

[David McNew / Getty images]

We had the most ridiculous Santa Ana windstorm that I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. It literally looked as if it had rained trees overnight, and that’s not an exaggeration. Imagine trees all over everything – cars, roads, freeways, homes – insanity. In fact, another giant tree fell in our backyard (poor Chris). The main night of the storm was like a strange dream… Ali and I had a deadline on a music track for Hawken and we worked through the storm until our power went out, then continued until my laptop battery ran out, then drove downtown (dodging trees) to his apartment and worked until morning, passing one set of headphones back and forth to mix/compose/produce. I think that was my first music production emergency challenge – what a surreal evening.

I had a great birthday with close friends, and received many an awesome card (including some great watercolors from Lin), and this painting from Te that I just have to share. I mean, cmon!

My little home studio (AKA bedroom) has been steadily growing to fit the needs of Paper Sound and Hawken music and sound design. There have been a bunch of new toys in the last 6 months, all playing nicely with some old familiar ones. There’s a lot of stuff that I’m pretty excited about, so I’ll probably have some kind of run-through in a future post. Maybe I’ll tie it in with some kind of overview of the new audio room, since I’ll be trying to replicate some of the home studio gear/setup there as well (in case I need to continue working and mixing at home). A lot of this is familiar to me, but some of it is very new (mostly the field recording aspect) so I’ve been enjoying soaking up all the material I can find on the subject, from sound design blogs to podcasts to books. More to come!

I also met Mirae, which is awesome. She lives too far, which is not awesome. So far this is not stopping us from adventure times. I had a free weekend between Nucleus and Adhesive, so we took a little road trip up the coast to SF. I wanted to move in to The California Academy of Sciences atrium because, well, it is built from wonder dust. Looking forward to many more trips with M!



Space Shuttle, you captured my imagination.



I was just talking to Chris about the lack of balls (for lack of a better word) that bands have these days. This is a breath of fresh air. Enjoy.


I set out to create a 4″x4″ letter block for the Illustrated Type show at Nucleus, and it spiraled out of control until I had completed the entire alphabet. Each letter was coded up in Processing using a variety of geometric patterns, and the final output was rendered as vector PDFs, so I could theoretically produce enormous prints without sacrificing detail. It might be fun to print each letter as a poster, but for now I’m actually proud of the final framed alphabet print.

Speaking of Nucleus, type, glyphs, characters, and alphabets… you can now browse the entire site in more languages: Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. This was a TON of work, hopefully worth it. I love how fresh the site feels in each language. If you don’t read English, and you do read one of those languages, and you magically understand this blog post, go check it out!