Manifesto

I’m obsessed. Seriously. I am utterly and completely obsessed with digital signal processing algorithms for audio. I am thankful that I am in a position where I can create the tools that I have been thinking about for all these years. My goal is to create powerful tools with simple interfaces, and for these tools to be used by musicians to create things of great beauty.

I approach algorithms from a psychoacoustics perspective: The most elegant math in the world doesn’t matter to me if it doesn’t sound good. Replicating physical reality is not nearly as important to me as creating the impression of sounds that are bigger and better than the physical world. My work is grounded in a deep appreciation and analysis of the analog and digital techniques of the past, and extending these foundations into new directions of awesome. I hang out at the intersections of the academic world of “computer music,” the commercial world of music gear and the popular music world inhabited by Black Sabbath, Brian Eno and Warp Records.

My earliest projects were conducted in my basement trying to teach myself analog circuitry and learning how to create different effects boxes for guitar. My theoretical knowledge ended up quickly surpassing my soldering skills, so I moved over to digital techniques in 1998 and talked my way into a year long course in computer music at the University of Washington. That was in the olden days, so I worked in Csound. It would take hours to compile a few minutes of sound. While in school, I developed a number of algorithms that continue to influence my work today, including emulations of analog frequency shifters, new filters, and time-varying reverberators.

I joined a small startup company in 1999 (Staccato Systems) that was developing physical models for video games, and spent way too much time working on car engine sounds. Fortunately, I worked with some real geniuses at Staccato Systems, who shared my passion for novel audio techniques. In 2001, Staccato Systems was purchased by Analog Devices, where I spent the next 6 years working on audio algorithms and development tools for the SHARC and Blackfin DSPs.

Starting in 2007, I struck out as a consultant, developing a wide variety of (mostly) interesting audio algorithms for several clients. In 2009, I worked with the good folks at Audio Damage, developing the reverberation algorithms for the mighty Eos. I look forward to future collaborations with others on interesting audio DSP projects.

In the late summer of 2009, I released ValhallaFreqEcho, which marked the first plugin distributed under my own brand. Valhalla DSP represents a long-standing dream of creating and selling tools directly to musicians. Me happy.