2013 Favorite Music

Joining in the year-end spirit here’s a list (in arbitrary order) of some music-related items that were favorites of 2013. Some of this material was released this year; much of it was old-and-newly-discovered or old-and-thankfully-rediscovered.


  • Ana Maria Kiefer – Teatro Do Descobrimento
  • Tinariwen – Imidiwan
  • Various Artists – Goodbye, Babylon
  • Rebe and Rabe – Rebe and Rabe Gospel
  • Dawn of Midi – Dysnomia
  • Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears
  • Kristin Norderval – Aural Histories
  • Laurel Halo – Quarantine
  • Meridian – Hoquet
  • Nathan Bowles – A Bottle, A Buckeye
  • Rob Stenson – Gold Mountain EP
  • Sibylle Baier – Colour Green
  • Ron Pate’s Debonairs featuring Rev. Fred Lane – Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Revue
  • Suicide – Suicide
  • Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
  • Woody Guthrie – Woody at 100
  • Julia Holter – Ekstasis and Loud City Song
  • Butch Morris – When the Sun is Out You Don’t See the Stars
  • These New Puritans – Field of Reeds


  • Vampire Weekend – “Step”
  • Claude Debussy – “Jeux”
  • Igor Stravinsky – “Le Sacre du Printemps”
  • Big Star – “September Gurls”
  • The Blue Nile – “The Wires are Down”
  • Hasil Adkins – “Hot Dog Baby”
  • Howlin’ Wolf – “Bluebird”
  • Lightnin’ Hopkins – “Black and Evil”
  • Odds of Survival – “Neshoba”
  • Laetitia Sonami – “What Happened”
  • Little Milton – “Grits Ain’t Groceries”
  • Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain”

Jill Sigman/thinkdance improvisation

This time last week I had the pleasure of working with choreographer Jill Sigman/thinkdance and videographer Peter Shapiro who were artists-in-residence at EMPAC. I recorded some sounds of the objects and materials Jill was working with and then improvised with the samples, my fretless banjo, and vocalist/composer Kristin Norderval (remotely via Skype). Peter has posted some raw footage from our sessions.

improv1 from ps on Vimeo.

improv2 from ps on Vimeo.

I look forward to seeing how this project continues to take shape.

Hemi Speaker and Our Lady of Detritus

I recently had the opportunity to help Kristin Norderval build a hemispherical speaker for use in the jill sigman/thinkdance production, Our Lady of Detritus, engagingly described as “a portable, interdisciplinary performance installation about trash and transcendence; a traveling grassroots campaign fueled by experimentation, green energy sources and community interaction.” The show is presented every weekend through mid-October at various locations around New York City. See here for details.

The speaker was based on the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) Delorean speaker and the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) speakers.


We used an Ikea salad bowl for the enclosure just like the SLOrk speakers.


We pulled 3 Dayton T-amps from their enclosures and mounted them on the inside of the bottom plate of the speaker cabinet.


We used 6 4″ Inifinity 4022i drivers.

Volume Pots and Connectors

The Dayton amps had combination volume and power pots, so we decided to keep them rather than source and wire up a 6-position potentiometer. A little Dremel routing magic made mounting the volume pots easier than I expected. A coaxial power jack and 6-pin Neutrik XLR jack and plug rounded out the connectors.

The speaker sounds good–punchy and more powerful than I expected, particularly considering the 4″ drivers. I’ll be building one for myself soon.