Most objects usually speak out rhythms and patterns to me as I’m doing these sound design sessions, and with two of the water heater panels in front of me, this rhythm emerged. It will inevitably end up on a future piece of music. Captured by my son on an iPhone:

One man’s trash is another man’s excuse for a sampling session. After dismantling our old water heater (we upgraded to a tankless system), the old enclosure panels were screaming to be heard.

I talked my son and his friend into helping me out, and I quickly put them to work. Grabbing my trusty ‘hazard mics’ (a pair of Tascam TM-78s), and some long Canare mic cables, I pushed record in Pro Tools and let the sampling begin….


The kids had fun banging on metal and making lots of noise.


I of course got to be a kid too, and smashed up some metal and also created some thunder:


Sometimes it’s best to be ‘hands on’ when creating custom sounds. I’m usually hands on with drums and percussion, but in this case I was working on the game over sound for the iPhone kids game app “Blackhole Joe“.

I have some great sounding virtual synths, but the ones I tried came up short for what I was hearing in my head. I needed something that sounded like an old school video game sound from the early 1980s.

So I rigged up my trusty old Micromoog, and quickly dialed and performed the sound. God bless Robert Moog!

Blackhole Joe is one of five iPhone App games that I’ve created music and sound design for. The games were developed by Peruvian Hat using the Project Mahem software (Game Academy).




(a crude little video recorded with a Blackberry)

Owning an analog synthesizer is often better than any virtual synth. I was in need of creating a custom rise within a specific time (16 bars) for a piece of music I was working on.

I actually tried a few virtual synths like Massive, FM8, etc… but I would have had to automate too many parameters to get this needed effect. Viola! Bring out a Moog, and boom, it’s done.