Free Static Performs Live Score to Short Film "View of the Red Forest"

My sound project, Free Static, is performing a live score to a film by my friend and ECA colleauge Julia Oldham, in January and February. See the info below.

We’ve been working on this project for a few months now. Though we’ve performed it several times in rehearsal, it never comes out exactly the same. We only have a rough starting point for each section of the film. This makes it really exciting to perform, as we are still able to react to each other, as well as the film. Throughout the piece, I am manipulating a set of samples (some I’ve created, and some I’ve found), and Chris is working through a set of drones and rhythmic patterns on his modular synth. We both employ delay, reverb and ring modulation effects, so the sounds get pretty spacey and wild.

Free Static (Chris Ruiz and Courtney Stubbert) in the studio rehearsing for “View of the Red Forest” - photo by Julia Oldham

Free Static (Chris Ruiz and Courtney Stubbert) in the studio rehearsing for “View of the Red Forest” - photo by Julia Oldham

"View of the Red Forest" an installation by Julia Oldham with a special performance by Free Static

January 12

Oregon State University Woodshop Projects
Located in basement Room No. 004 in Fairbanks Hall, 220 SW 26th St., Corvallis  
Opening Reception Saturday, January 12, 7-9 PM

Performance at 8:00 PM - More information

February 16th - “Fallout Dogs” Eugene Premiere

Drawn Brands, 545 Monroe Street, Eugene, Oregon, 97402

This performance of “View of the Red Forest” also features the Eugene premier of Julia Oldham’s short film “Fallout Dogs” - a documentary about the stray dogs living in and around Chernobyl. Read about this event on ECA’s website.

Event begins at 7:30pm


About “View of the Red Forest”

Julia Oldham's multimedia installation "View of the Red Forest" is a portrait of both the dilapidation and rebirth of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, combining large prints of windows looking out of abandoned buildings onto lush landscapes with video documentation of Oldham's visit to the zone. For this project Oldham is teaming up with Free Static (Courtney Stubbert and Chris Ruiz), a Eugene-based improvisational sound duo blending modular synth and musique concréte. Free Static will perform a live score to the film in the installation space on Saturday, January 12 at 8:00 PM.


In April of 1986, an explosion in Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant in the Soviet Union precipitated the worst nuclear disaster in history. The explosion created an enormous dust cloud carrying deadly radioactive isotopes which spread across Europe, affecting much of eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The the most severe contamination, however, settled in what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, a 1000 square mile area in Ukraine surrounding the power plant. 

The Red Forest is a 4 square mile wooded area that received some of the highest levels of radioactive contamination resulting from the explosion. After absorbing huge doses of radiation, all of the trees died and turned a rusty red color, which is where the name of the area derives. In the clean-up effort, the forest was bulldozed and buried underground, and a new forest was planted to stabilize radioactive isotopes. The Red Forest is now green and beautiful, and both flora and fauna are flourishing in the absence of humans. It remains one of the most radioactive areas in the world.

New music project release - Free Static

Soundscapes are the new black

With no space to set up my drums for the last year or so, I’ve been getting into electronic music gear lately, and learning the ins and outs of running sound through delay, distortion and my Moog Ring Modulator pedals. I’ve also been making tape loops out of old cassettes and utilizing a 4 track recorder to sample and perform with. It’s been fun and frustrating at the same time. Old gear breaks easy. Your favorite tape loop will fall apart. Your guitar pedal batteries will die on you in the middle of a session. But I’ve made a point to stay away from laptop based music, in favor of making sounds with actual hardware you can perform with.

What started out as a group of guys getting together, playing records, and talking about music, turned into a few of us improvising instrumental jam sessions at my former studio space (RIP my old friend). That party shrunk to just two of us and we decamped to my friend Chris Ruiz’s hacienda studio. Unable to play my drums in a quite neighborhood, we started making layered found-sound pieces utilizing everything from hand percussion, non-musical objects, tape loops, modular synths, and the occasion homemade spring resonator.  

Free Static S/T is out now

After about a year of recording sessions, we curated a handful of tracks and release our first project this past July. The project is called Free Static, and you can hear our self-titled, 6 track release on our Bandcamp page. It’s a free downloadFREE

We are putting together a limited edition cassette release (you read that correct) and I’ll announce that as soon as it’s out. I know half of you still have a cassette deck somewhere.


Coming up in January and February we are performing a live score to a short film about Chernobyl made by my artist and colleague at Eugene Contemporary Art, Julia Oldham. We will be announcing time and locations for Corvallis and Eugene performances very soon.

Interviewed on "Whiskey with Mark"

Mark Davis is a good friend of mine, and a central figure in Eugene’s downtown tech scene via his brainchild (I designed their logo a couple years back). He’s got a podcast he does with local members of the community, and asked me to sit down and talk about what I do, and my experience working in the local arts scene. It’s a fun conversation and we talk about where tech and art can connect in a more meaningful way in Eugene.

He creates a visualization and video out of this notebook that connects to the audio recording. So, like, he’s writing on paper, and the app tracks his notes, while it records the… anyway… tech guys and their gadgets.

Speaking of podcasts, I’m starting one myself with my collegues at Eugene Contemporary Art. Sign up on our website if you want to get the announcement for the launch this December.

A fixture in the Eugene art scene talks about current projects and new directions

David Salle on his own work

I recently came across this great lecture by painter David Salle from 2010, speaking at AFA Christie's.

In opposition to most critical writing on the contemporary art coming out of NYC in the 80's, he asserts that while critics saw a distinct divide between the Neo-expressionist painters and the culturally and politically critical conceptual artists, these artists not only knew and worked along side each other, but didn't view their own work to be at odds with each other at all. 

He makes his points by talking about an exhibition he co-curated that put the work in mention alongside each other for the first time. He also argues that successful painting, in his mind, blend pictorialism and presentationalism.

As someone who studied art history, but pursues painting, I find this really refreshing to hear. It's easy for critics and theorists to separate conceptual thinking and the practice of painting, but hard to reconcile in painting. Salle is a prolific writer and critic himself, so his ability to articulate his thoughts will be helpful for anyone who thinks about the critical value of their own work. Especially if they are a painter. He understands the theory, but it is a painter down to his core. 

Rioting. The unbeatable high.

Rioting. The unbeatable high.

Given the verdict in Furgeson, and possibly even more bewildering, the reaction, this seems timely. I have friends who hate cops. I have friends who are cops. I wasn't there so I don't know what happened. Brown's death seems unjustifiable based on the facts we have. But it's also been sensationalized and distorted to the point that our feelings are based mostly on a constructed narrative.

Read More

a.s.d.l.r. "Supreme Sunlight" Video

Just stumbled across this video. As a kid I had space shuttle blueprint wallpaper in my room and I'm still facinated by launch footage. The glitch video distortion points out that my experience with NASA and the various space shuttle launches I've witnessed were 100% mediated experience and those images only really exist in my mind as pixels.

About the artist from Non Projects site bio:

As a.d.l.r., Morera takes his progressive compocollage, minimal  techno, ambience, tape music and microsound to create a highly  listenable lush and coherent whole of audio ephemera that fits right in  line with the immersive sounds of the Non Projects catalog.

If you dig the artist you can get downloads from Bleep. Also check out the sweet, raw html website of Kim Asendorf. It's bonkers.

Tom Waits - Bad As Me

The new Tom Waits record Bad As Me comes out Oct. 24th and you can stream it ahead of time (must request an invite) at I've been listening to it the last couple of days and it's a good one. I've gone through pretty huge Tom Waits phases. I've got my favorites and ignored a few. This one really grabs me. It's enough of what you expect, but has some great swagger and gritty production. Read about it from his site.

Pre-order the download on Amazon or get the vinyl from the Tom Waits store

Speaking of Tom... this post from last year seems to get a lot of hits so you may be interested in his List of Scary Things. Classic Waits humor. now in Public Beta

Okay so NOW I can tell you. If you weren't smart enough to just type in the domain based on the logo in the previous post then you can get to it now. I was creative director on this one so I'm pretty stoked about it going live. A lot of work went into this and some amazing development assistance from Jared Alessandroni and Cynthia Wang of Wang Media, NYC. They are a top notch team and went above and beyond on this. Great people to collaborate with and I hope to buy them drinks in person some day for all their hard work.

The music and audio production for the video below was by Mckenzie Stubbert (@pinballjukebox), mon frere and Portland, Oregon-based composer.

Henry's 4th Birthday

Indulge me. It's my blog after all.

Totally not design related, but I did make the two adorable monsters in this video after all. This isn't a commercial for Chuck E. Cheese but they really should pay me royalties for making their joint look so amazing as a backdrop to my stunning creations.

Henry thought the bash was a success. He got a Nerf Gatling Gun, a skateboard, a bike and a Boba Fett helmet. A jackpot by any standards. Shot by my brother-in-law Caleb on his new 5D MARK II. Thanks man.

LCD Soundsystem - "Drunk Girls"

The new LCD Soundsystem album This Is Happening comes out May 18th (by from DFA it here, or get the download from Amazon here) and I'm beside myself with stokedness. The above video is from the track "Drunk Girls". The chaos was directed by Spike Jonze. If you aren't familiar with LCD Soundsystem then do check their last record Sound of Silver because it is awesome. A favorite jogging/designing-with-coffee-in-my-veins record of mine for sure.

Below is their last album Sound of Silver . Get it and enjoy.

Debacle Trailer - Nike SB Films


Debacle, the first skate film to be shot enitrely in HD was released for free download in May through July. You can now purchase it on Blue Ray at an SB dealer near you. Nike SB just released bonus material on their site. FYI.

I'm cranky. Nike is Suspect.

To be honest, my standby position growing up as a skater, was that Nike was run by corporate douche-bags who are brilliant at selling cultural relevance. I usually blame Dead Kennedy's, Run DMC and the Bones Brigade for my position, along with late-ninties sweat-shop allegations against Nike. The above film may be one of two things:

1. Proof that enough money can maintain the mirage of authenticity and convince skaters worldwide they need to buy Nike skate shoes because they are the most authentic company and understand the the true spirit of skating.

2. The betterment of skate culture by way of putting a company behind a sport that has the power to expand the acceptance of a once-thought underground and devious activity.

Perhaps it's a little of both. Who knows. I'm not an industry insider. Just a fan who pays attention and is still suspect of corporate intrusion on the things I love. My generation had a different relationship with corporations than people in their teens and twenties today. Is it a crisis of belief? There seems to be wide spread acceptance of all things branded, but at the same time more cynicism when it comes to brands that ring false. Free releases are a current trend based on a real desire for transparent brands that don't have the perceived alterior motive of profit. We want to believe our brands don't want to make money.  Nike has a bazillion dollars and don't feel any financial discomfort for shooting a skate film all over the world in HD. Yet by doing so they keep their street cred. Brand allegiance is solidified. So who has been fooled? They know their demographic. They know how to get them to buy their shoes. And it doesn't cost them a penny to release cultural relevance. They don't want you to buy their film. They want you to view their products as more true and authentic than Vans, Globe or Lakai.

I will say this- It is pretty damn hard to make skateboarding look bad on film. It can be done of course, but really, either you have the skills and your shit is wired tight or you eat concrete. Most skaters on film have footage of both success and failure. It is the skater expressing him/herself in an indifferent urban landscape. Man vs. his own constructions of reality. This is what makes it true. It happens in real time no matter who is paying for the camera. This film looks amazing and the skating is unbelievable as well.

Just don't forget who is writing the checks.


This is how we do it.

Welcome to my new website

So I finally got around to being a graphic designer with a website. This blog will be an extension of my site and all future sites to come. A shout out to my friend Dan Schlitzkus for help with the site. It's money. Thanks for stopping by and while you are here, enjoy the opening sequence to the new Lakai skate film "Fully Flared". Explosions. Tre Flips. Injuries. Awesomeness. 

UPDATE 1.1.2014 : Damn how time flies. When I made this post, I had a hand-coded HTML site and was learning how to blog on FYI, this site is currently running on Squarespace 6. The video above still kicks ass.