Imagine thinking that broken windows are a gateway crime, or that just seeing broken windows or someone urinating on the street would inspire you to indulge in criminal activity. In the 80s and 90s, the so-called “broken windows theory” became a fixture in the minds of the mayor and police force of New York City, and led to huge increases in police repression, as well as a concerted effort to harshly prosecute vandalism and other “quality of life crimes.” By latching on to that way of thinking, the mayor and the cops turned Manhattan, and NYC more broadly into a tourist-friendly police state, and it wasn’t long before the forces of gentrification were set in motion to make the wealthy more wealthy, and strengthen their grip on the development of the city.
At pretty much any given moment, a window might be all that stands between our own personal living or working space and the outside world. To have that barrier broken feels like a violation, but does that mean that every broken window is a harbinger of something even worse? If a broken window symbolizes impending social disorder, what does a neighbourhood full of cops on patrol symbolize?
On December 13, 2019, I had the majority of the music gear I use for my live shows stolen, and the thieves entered the building by breaking a window. This album is a banishment of the resulting negative thoughts, and a reminder to myself that breaking glass is one of my favourite sounds. After the theft, one of the only pieces of gear I had left was an MPC live, which I used to make a lot of this album.
total shows played: 18 (holding pattern) total garbageface shows to date: 335 things released / done: the video for suspicious chronology (April), the Plague Mechanic EP & Puzzle collaboration with Dastard Hand (June), the Eighteen Trumpets Remix Album (August), Learning To Swim With Leviathan Book (December), residency at Precarious2 ArtsWork Festival including 4 instalments of The Drone Room (November / December) coffee cups drank: ~600 (holding pattern) cars exploded: 0 (holding strong, still) gear stolen from me: almost all of it.
this past year was a motherfucker. writing it out above makes it seem quite prolific, but it really didn’t feel that way for me… maybe that’s a problem. anyhoo, after releasing TREPANATION I at the end of 2018, i hit the ground hard with a video for a part of it in April, and finished the work on Plague Mechanic EP around the same time. by mid-year, momentum was very strong, and things were feeling great.
in mid-year, i was accepted as an artist in residence at Precarious2, a festival of artswork in my hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. as part of that festival i was to create a publication about art and survival, and to create a composition that i would perform in an 8hr endurance performance on December 13th. it was something i had wanted to do for a long time, and with the support of the festival, i was able to not only publish the book, but to produce the composition and performance that i really wanted to do.
i finished the book, and it sold out in less than two weeks. on the eve of that 8hr performance, however, almost all of my gear was stolen, and the performance was cancelled. a lot of other stuff happened over the course of the year, but that last chain of events is seared on my mind at the moment.
i’ve talked it to death with friends and colleagues, but if i may say it one last time here… the hardest part of the theft was not the loss of gear. losing thousands of dollars worth of stuff was very, very hard, but thanks to help from a lot of amazing people, i’ve got some basic gear back — enough to be on my feet again. the main thing about the theft was the interruption of a creative process, and the aftermath. that’s something that i’ll need much more time to recover from.
and yet, i’m still here. one of the things i’ve learned through this music thing is that, if you stick around in it long enough, lots of crazy shit will happen to you. yr ability to survive is directly tied to yr ability to stand in the middle of the swirling wind and muck, and keep focused on yr task.
and so, i plan put one foot in front of the other in 2020, and keep going. i’m releasing new music soon, booking shows for later, and will probably have some surprises in store.
first up is finishing a full-length album with the homie Wolfagram. he’s one of my favourite producers, and he’s bestowed some most excellent beats for me to spit over. the results so far have been really solid and as we close in on finishing the project, i feel fucking great about it.
second up, i’ll be working on my live show, both at home and on the road. playing live is my favourite thing in the world, and for the past year, i’ve been low-key working on a new kind of live show, that will allow me to play and reinterpret my own material in various ways. though i was working on this new live show before most of my shit got stolen, it’s taken on a new urgency. thankfully, the main piece of gear i needed for this new live show was one of the only things that DIDN’T get stolen, so that’s a bonus.
thirdly… i’m gonna end there. i’ve got plenty of other things up my sleeve, but they will reveal themselves in good time.
if yr reading this, i thank you heartily for navigating away from one of the big websites that form the monoculture of online existence. i appreciate you taking any time to read this, and for engaging with my work on any level. finally, i wish you the best in this coming year. to my fellow artists out there, set yr intentions for the heart of the sun, and burn yrself as fuel in a fire of creation.
see you out there.