Hey, Barely — “Midwest Mean”

April 5th, 2024

Also launched on April 5th, 2024, Hey, Barely is a Lo-fi glitch pop side project that lets me explore the more whimsical side of electronic music. It’s a stark contrast to the gloomy discomfort of Akin to Being, and should put any listener at ease.

Akin to Being — “Passage”

April 5th, 2024

Today I’m announcing one of two new side projects! Akin to Being is a dark ambient venture that uses sampled sounds and droning synths to create grim sonic landscapes. Some of the ideas originally were used as background material in Eliz of Sword’s Twitch streams, but after layers of new sounds they hardly resemble the originals any more.

“Passage” contains four droning tracks that evoke bleak sci-fi landscapes with small moments of wonder and beauty, chronicling a doomed intergalactic voyage.

{ELSE} Releases “Seven So Few”

December 8th, 2023

Continuing the every-other-year in December pattern, {ELSE} released new music today! We focused on shorter-form format this time, with a package of three songs that combine to tell a story of disillusion, destructive obsession, and ultimately hope and redemption. The album draws on religious and nautical symbolism, reflected in the title and artwork in addition to the lyrics. Seven seas. Seven sins. Seven So Few.

Pay the Devil Releases Turn to Gold

April 16th, 2023

Pay the Devil just released their third full-length album, Turn to Gold. This is the third time I’ve recorded with the band, this time playing drums on all of the tracks. I also recorded and mixed the project in my very own living room! We played a radio spot on WMSE in the weeks leading up to the release, and then played an absolutely raucous show on the release day, April 14th, a.k.a., Milwaukee Day, at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. The full album is up on all major streaming platforms, so take a listen  now!

More Music for Live Streams

March 3rd, 2023

Well howdy, partner. Looks like you’re fixin’ to hear some adventurin’ songs. Well we’ve got you covered! That’s right, I wrote out about 30 minutes of new music — background, action, and a title theme — for my bi-weekly Pathfinder 2nd Edition game sessions. The setting for this Adventure Path is Alkenstar, a steampunk desert city, so a lot of the music has some western and techno influences. Most of the tracks are semi-improvisation using baritone guitar, aux percussion samples, and background glitches provided by DS Audio Tantra.

You can check out the music and gameplay on ShaveMadOx’s Twitch channel »

Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill” for String Quartet

June 5th, 2022

Who isn’t watching Stranger Things 4 right now? It’s a smash hit breaking Netflix viewing records and due to its prominent placement in the show, Kate Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up That Hill” is enjoying a huge surge in popularity. When the song first featured on the show, it immediately grabbed my attention with its distant, haunting, mournful melody. It sounded familiar but I didn’t recognize it by name. When it appeared again, this time louder and clearer, in the next episode, I immediately knew I had to find the song and listen all the way through. And as soon as that was done, I decided the tune would make for an astonishing string quartet arrangement and immediately got to work.

Though I already had a busy week, I was able to finish the arrangement over three evenings and submit it for publishing. It was a really fun and rewarding experience and I think the project turned out really well. You can listen to sample below and “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush on Sheet Music Direct.


{ELSE} Releases “Here Waiting”

December 14th, 2021

After releasing “Through What We Knew” almost exactly two years ago, {ELSE} immediately got to work on an acoustic mini-project that turned into a something much bigger. Originally intended to be be a three-song mini-release, the effort grew to nine tracks and a great deal of work. A drastic change in pace from the previous two releases, “Here Waiting” does not use any electric guitars and instead blends acoustic sounds with a complement of creative percussion arrangements, synthesizers, and soundscapes.

Personally, this was a big project for me as it really stretched my creative muscles. I very intentionally avoided using the same instrumentation twice, and the songwriting process went through many more rounds of editing than is typical for me. I hope the results speak for themselves!

Acoustic Guitar Arrangements

August 1st, 2021

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine held a beautiful backyard wedding and invited me to play during the ceremony. The couple was interested in solo fingerstyle guitar, and had a few sample recordings to imitate. Though I was a bit out of practice when the request came in, I spent much of the winter and spring of this year arranging and practicing. It was a lot of fun and I am really proud of the results!

Another big bonus from the project is that I now have three of the arrangements for sale! You can check out the following on SheetMusicPlus:

A New Thing – Synth Dreamscape Background Music for Tarot Card Streams

January 1st, 2021

Yup, you read that right. I spent a lot of time this year composing background music for my wife’s new Twitch channel. She started streaming a Tarot card experience in the last quarter of the year, and a big part of that is the overall mood and ambience. She set up the visuals with a green screen, cloth and crystal covered table, candles, incense, and multiple cameras, and I purchased and dialed in a new boom mic for the setup. I then got to work writing music she could use in the background, as Twitch Soundtrack wasn’t yet available.

It’s honestly been a really important and rewarding experience, despite the music not being the focus. It has been fantastic to be able to play around with ideas and not worry too much about each one. Instead I’m focusing on creating many possible moods that ElizOfSwords can choose from, sometimes using dark and edgy synthesizers, sometimes focusing on warm and welcoming chords. I even composed several original holiday tracks and made arrangements of “Silent Night” and “We Three Kings”. I’m particularly proud of the “Auld Lang Syne” arrangement, which was (obviously) the last piece I worked on in the year. Take a listen:

I created nearly 30 total tracks with a run time of over 3 hours, and I’m sure I’ll keep working on ideas as they come to me. It’s been an amazing opportunity that still has plenty of potential left to explore.

No Justice. No Peace. The Bull’s Gonna Run

June 15th, 2020

This will be a year for the history books. After the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, many of us hit a breaking point with the way our country treats Black lives. One of the things I personally struggled with was the “what do I do?” feeling. Thankfully, Ivan of Pay the Devil had a protest song prepared and asked me to help finish it. We worked on this mostly remotely, each recording our parts in our home studios, and then got together (with masks!) to finish the mix. We published the track in dedication to all of those who are marching, and offered the track as a “pay what you can” download, giving whatever money it made to help the bail fund for those arrested for curfew violations. The song is now available on Spotify:

Systemic problems and deeply entrenched personal values are hard to change, but I really do believe that the marches, music, and memories of this summer will make a difference.