Author: Jason Wardell

he/him/his MLS, Emporia State University Health & Life Sciences Librarian

Community Medicine: Sequence 01

This is a brief exploration with a couple minimal synths I received this Christmas from my wonderful mother in law: the Teenage Engineering PO-24 Office and the Korg Monotron Delay. Out of all of the Pocket Operators, the PO-24 seems to be the most maligned. It has a very specific, noisy sound that is hard to fit into the workflow of most PO-based music. I’ve never had that feeling about it, though, and when I was first introduced to these little wonders, it was at the top of my “OMG I need this” list, alongside the PO-20 Arcade (first one I got!) and the PO-28 Robot. At that point, they hadn’t released anything in the 30-series, which took the rough concept of these synths–specific-sound doodads on the cheap–and exploded them into wildly customizable powerhouses. For me, as much as I enjoy the ability to sample whatever I want on the PO-33 KO or synthesize my own voice with the PO-35 Speak, having a set of constraints to the tools was kind of part of the appeal. Whenever I have to input my own sounds into a synth before I can even start making music, it’s a major creative block. The original six Pocket Operators just go, and you can crank them up to their limits in no time. Also, I LOVE the rough-around-the-edges vintage printer and computer sounds. They get really gritty and heavy with a little filtering and delay (provided here by the Monotron), giving an almost industrial techno vibe. I expect I have many more similar explorations to come with these and my other assorted pocket synths. Jamuary is just around the corner, but more about that later.

Community Medicine: Cementing

For the past couple years, I’ve been experimenting with electronic music production. Synthesizers and software, bleeps and bloops, harsh noise and chiptunes: I’ve kind of dabbled in all of it, and maybe spent a little too much money in the process. Every once in a while, I get the nerve up to hit record, and anything that makes it to YouTube or Bandcamp gets stamped with my “Community Medicine” moniker. Why Community Medicine? I like the sound of it, I guess, and most of the tracks are inspired by some aspect of the healthcare system and my work and experience within. This one, for instance, is of a part with another, noisier track called “Curette” (both of which can be found on Bandcamp!) and are in reference to my recent tibia surgeries. FUN, UPLIFTING STUFF! In the new year, I expect to play around a lot more with generating “finished” pieces of music, be they songs, explorations, or just unstructured jams.

Man with spear leaning against a tree in a vast forest

Adventure Hook: In the Vast Forest

Oh, yes. I nearly forgot that moving off of my hosted WordPress site of yore to a newer-fangled one means none of my old content is here anymore. Going to try to transfer things over! Here’s the hook that got me on my whole “I could make a D&D zine probably” obsession. In the Vast Forest was almost the title of the zine, but I didn’t want to wind up with a “Bad Company by Bad Company off the album Bad Company” situation. Anyhow, here’s the new and improved version of my first written-to-be-consumed adventure hook!

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Read: “The enduring allure of retro tech”

The enduring allure of retro tech by Sophie Haigney (Vox)

In the era of disposability, some cling tightly to Walkmen, DVDs, and our fading love of stuff.

I have been screaming this for a while now. Physical media is coming back. Plus, when all the streaming services are splintered and ad-sodden and prohibitively-priced, only I and my two non-consecutive seasons of Scrubs on DVD will be the one laughing.

Vinyl turntable, headphones, and laptop.

Read: “How to organize and revisit your ‘leftover’ music projects”

How to organize and revisit your ‘leftover’ music projects – Blog | Splice by Max RewakMax Rewak

The more I tinker with music, the more unfinished “songs” I accumulate. As with many creative endeavors, having an organization mindset from the get-go is a huge help later. File structures aren’t the sexiest things, but if you don’t have to fight against your system, you get to spend more time actually making music.


Let’s try this again: vanity domain part two, but on the decentralization kick. Today I took a leap and made some major changes to how I interface with the web, and this is the first visible part of it. Lately, I’ve been dissatisfied with the nature of the one-size-fits-none web, exemplified by whatever Facebook is today. A social content stream slash photo gallery slash misinformation machine slash offensive memes from people I haven’t spoken to since high school portal: this is not appealing, and I’m stupefied that it’s taken me so long to seek out alternatives.

Colinda Cabanas, Caye Caulker, Belize, 2015
Go to your happy place…” – Me, every time I visit Facebook

Instead of partaking in the “all things to all people” scene, I’m making a drastic switch to a “one thing for one person” model, and that person is me, baby! I like parts of the on-line experience, and lord knows anyone involved in academia and/or librarianship needs to constantly chase the vanguard. I also like to think I’m doing a few cool things every now and again and want to put them somewhere. I’ve got that damned attention-seeking streak, after all. So this is it: my warehouse. This is where I’ll keep things, for the most part, and y’all can just come to me to get them.

Of course, I don’t expect you or any hypothetical reader to subscribe to the RSS or set this silly site up alongside your bookmarks for whatever it is you read regularly. The aforementioned “drastic switch” is a choice I’m making, not one I’m foisting upon anyone else. The stuff I put here should reach out into the rest of the internet, but the content will be here, not scattered across whatever platforms du jour I’m enduring. Again, for the most part. It doesn’t make sense for me to host video or music here, for instance, even with my meager output. I’m going to learn as I go, though, and try to have fun with it. That can be something I document here, too.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. More soon. Hugs and kisses.