I sang on the new Fountainhead EP, ‘Reverse Engineering’ (coming August 5, 2016). Fountainhead is the alter-ego of guitar player/composer/producer Tom Geldschläger. Here’s his official announcement:

I´m very happy to anounce that one of my favorite “new” artists, Gabriel Riccio of The Gabriel Construct will appear as guest-vocalist on the upcoming Fountainhead-EP, called “Reverse Engineering”. Gabriel is an amazingly talented multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer and being the huge TGC-Fan that I am, I´m proud to have his unique skills and personality on the new record.

Currently operating from his studio in Berlin, Germany, Tom has appeared on countless records as a guitar player, arranger, producer, mixing-engineer and sometimes keyboard player. He’s recorded and toured with artists like Obscura, Ray Riendeau, Marco Minnemann, Jimmy Pitts, Hannes Grossmann, Christian Münzner, Nader Sadek, etc. and has been featured in various magazines around the globe, most recently “gitar plus” and “gitarre & bass”.

‘Reverse Engineering’ also features bassists Ray Riendeau (Halford, James Labrie), Jacob Schmidt (Defeated Sanity) and Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Alkaloid), drummers Derek Roddy (Nile) and Yatziv Caspi (Orphaned Land), and Matthias Preisinger (Von Eden) on keyboards, strings, and harp.

Here’s Tom’s playthrough video of the title track. I sang the choruses on this one (as well as the coda, which is not included in this video), while Dan Sander provides the screams:

Here’s an isolated snippet of the vocals & keyboards from the final chorus:

Here’s the video for the first single from the EP. This is the instrumental version, but I believe my vocal version will appear on a future release.

Or check out a video from Fountainhead’s first EP, ‘Fear is the Enemy’:

A solo saxophone piece

Here’s a new video of a piece I wrote for solo saxophone in 2009.

‘Winding through Angles’ for solo alto saxophone was composed in the spring semester 2009 under the tutelage of Gerald Levinson. It is based on the ‘five note’ exercises – at any given point, the piece is centered around a group of five chromatic pitch classes contained in a major third. It modulates between different groups of five notes until all twelve pitch classes are used in the work. The first movement is a slow build, while the second movement is an exercise in frustration, simultaneously angry and mocking itself. I chose the saxophone because it is an instrument capable of great expression, largely underused in the classical world.

The piece was written for and premiered by Soren Larsen, who later performed all of the saxophone parts on Interior City. It was then performed by his teacher, who created this video. You can hear Soren’s debut performance of the piece here for comparison:

Sheet music for this piece can be purchased here or viewed below:

Art Rock Tendencies

I have been invited to contribute to the blog Art Rock Tendencies, run by Darin Tambascio of progressive sludge metal band National Sunday Law. I am currently writing a series of articles entitled ‘Rock Meets Classical’, which you can read below:

Part 1: Who Cares?
Part 2: Bang on a Can
Part 3: Prog-Rock Classical Covers.
Part 4: Classical Concepts in King Crimson’s ‘Larks Tongues in Aspic’
Appendix: Symmetrical Scales Explained
Part 5: Interior City
Part 6: Analyzing Discipline
Part 7: Pervasive Discipline
Appendix: Motivic Connections in James Bond Title Themes
Part 8: THRAK

And I’ve started a new series called ‘Structure in Prog’:

Part 1: Pop Structures in The Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute

I have also posted a review of Meshuggah’s ‘Koloss’.

A Temporary Tooth Exchange

album_coverI contributed guest vocals to ‘Temporary Thought Exchange’, the bonus vocal version of the song ‘AKT’ from ‘Divided’, the new EP by ItsTeeth & Travis Orbin. ItsTeeth is the post rock project of Jacob Belcher, a guitarist who played with Travis in a live incarnation of Of Legends. Jacob gave Travis free reign to come up with whatever he wanted for this EP – he simply sent him the guitar parts and let him run with it. Jacob took the same approach with me, advising only that the lyrics should be ‘weird and abstract’.

Jacob was originally planning to feature a female guest vocalist on this particular track, but she was unavailable, so Travis recommended me for the job. Jacob quite liked what Travis showed him of The Gabriel Construct, so he ended up asking me to do it.

I sat on a dock listening to the instrumental version of the song, staring up at the sky, and I suddenly got this image of a head popping off of a body, floating into the sky like a helium balloon, and looking down at the earth. In the clouds, the head finds another disembodied head, and they attach at the neck, forming a silhouette of an infinity symbol. They have mind-meld sex, are blown apart by the wind, and fall back to earth. This became the lyrical subject matter for the song. I was careful to avoid personal pronouns in the lyrics, since The Gabriel Construct’s lyrics are overloaded with them and I wanted to try something different.

I recorded the vocals out of my then-new home studio – the very first song to receive such a treatment! Jacob said he wanted a vocoder on the track, but I didn’t have one, so I ended up faking one by painstakingly layering harmonies, autotuning them, and locking them into perfect rhythmic unison with elastic audio. I think it came out sounding just exactly like a vocoder, though, so it was worth the extra effort!

At the tail end of the session, Jacob also had me create mellotron pieces to cap the album – the intro on ‘TDB’ and the outro on ‘HLB’.

Check out Travis’s drum tracking video for ‘Temporary Thought Exchange (AKT)’ and ‘HLB’:

AKT Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 145 BPM

HLB Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 132 BPM

And his video for ‘TDB’ and ‘CKW’, along with some discussion of the project:

TDB Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 185 BPM

CKW Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 135 BPM (after improv)

Listen to an a capella version of ‘Temporary Thought Exchange’:

Buy ‘Divided’ on Bandcamp
ItsTeeth’s Back Catalog on Bandcamp

Being an Arcane Academic

album_coverI have a guest spot on Being’s debut album, ‘Anthropocene’, 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the album’s seventh song, ‘Arcane Academic’. It’s a unique record that shares a strong affinity with my work – both Anthropocene and Interior City are 72 minute long concept albums about self realization, empowerment, and overcoming societal programming in order to evolve. Both records have multiple recurring themes (including finales in which all of the previous songs return, ending with the first song), a cyclical structure, and an individual sound, and both were mixed and mastered by Taylor Larson.

Being’s singer, Cas Haruna, was working as the studio manager at Taylor’s studio, Oceanic Recording, while we were mixing and mastering Interior City. Cas gave guest spots to all of his favorite musicians that recorded in the studio, until there were so many that he was able to claim that Anthropocene had ‘more guest spots than a Nicky Minaj album’. And it’s true – in just the song I guest on, Travis Orbin has a brief guest spot immediately following mine, and Justin Gosnell (Vestascension) contributes a guest solo later in the song.

I believe that my guest spot was the last one recorded for the album. At the tail end of the IC mastering sessions, I came down with the flu. I worked through it, but I ended up getting Taylor sick. As I came in on the first day that Taylor stayed in bed to continue working on my own, I ran into Cas, who greeted me with ‘Come do a guest spot on my album right now!’. I told him that I was too sick and could barely talk (I had completely lost my voice the previous night, but it had somewhat returned that day). He promptly dismissed my concerns and told me to stop making excuses, stating that the guest spot needed to sound totally insane so my hoarse voice would fit perfectly. He showed me the 30 seconds of music he wanted me to sing over, and I was instantly taken by it. After explaining what was happening in the story and what the lyrics should be about, he left me alone for a few minutes to come up with a part on the spot. With Cas engineering the session, we tracked it line by line, coming up with lyrics and layers on the spot (every voice you hear in that 30 seconds is me). I ended up doing quite a lot of screaming since it was difficult to sing, but I think the part came out quite well considering how sick I was (and considering that I was singing into a room mic dragged in from the hallway). I threw in a bit of everything – normal singing, sing-screaming, black metal shrieks, death metal growls, falsetto, harmonies, and doublings. Taylor liked it so much that he made it quite loud in the mix and made Cas rewind it every time they listened to it. Taylor went as far as to say that “It’s the best part you’ve ever come up with – you should sing like that all the time!”

You can stream or purchase the album at Bandcamp.
Official Website


I was recently hired to transcribe and create sheet music for six songs by City and Colour (two from each of their albums). My transcriptions of these songs are for sale at their official website and can also be found below:

On the subject of transcriptions, Trey Gunn of King Crimson discovered and praised my transcription of the band’s ‘The ConstruKction of Light’:

I created this transcription of ‘The ConstruKction of Light’ for my senior comprehensive music exam at Swarthmore college. It was performed in a quartet arrangement, with myself on drums and vocals, Tony Blekicki and Swarthmore physics professor Carl Grossman on guitar, and Ben Rachbach playing the Warr Guitar part on a keyboard. Unfortunately, the performance was not recorded.

Note that the guitars and the Warr Guitar sound an octave below where written.

I also recently created piano arrangements of two songs by Animals as Leaders.

On Impulse:

Download the sheet music
Download MIDI


Download the sheet music
Download MIDI

If you like what you see here, know that I am available for hire! I can offer a number of transcription/copying services (creating sheet music for your band from an audio file, creating digital scores from handwritten scores, transposing scores) in addition to session vocals and keyboards, production, arrangement, and composition. If you would like to hire me for any of this or can think of anything else you’d like to have me do, please email and I can send you my resume!

If you would like sheet music for Interior City, the full score and parts books for piano, drums, bass, guitar, saxophone, and violin are for sale on the stores page.

Into the Chamber

This week, I’d like to take a break from talking about Interior City to share some of my chamber music with you. Here is a video of ‘Between Entwines’, a collaborative work which Sophia Uddin (the violinist on Interior City) and I wrote and performed together.

This video is from our debut performance of the work at the second annual Swarthmore College Student & Alumni Composers Concert in Lang Concert Hall on October 29, 2011.

Program notes: ‘Between Entwines’ was written during the summer of 2011. It began when Gabriel sent Sophia a tiny sketch for her to augment and return. It continued to grow from there, mostly through email correspondence, with some additional work done in chat boxes and in person. It is intended to be the first entry in a series of piano/violin collaborations using the same set of motives.

Sheet music for Between Entwines can be purchased on the Stores page and can be viewed below:

Before Between Entwines and Interior City, Sophia was a member of The Mandelbrot Quartet, who performed some movements I wrote for string quartet. Here is a video of their final performance of these movements at a split concert with the jazz quartet Menage on April 22, 2011 in Lang Concert Hall:

I began writing the quartet with the ‘Interruptions’ movement, a hyperactive expression of crazed joy. The title was actually devised by Gerald Levinson, my composition teacher at the time, as the piece constantly interrupts itself. The harmonic language of the movement (chromatic contrary motion) was inspired by Ligeti’s first string quartet, while the structure was inspired by Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. ‘Hedonistic Ritual’ is a short, fast and angry movement which was inspired by seeing this Dillinger Escape Plan concert and wanting to bring some of that anarchic energy to a classical concert hall.

Here is The Mandelbrot Quartet’s debut performance of ‘Interruptions’ from the first annual Swarthmore College Student and Alumni Composers Concert in Lang Concert Hall on November 6, 2010:

At the same concert, I participated in a performance of Ben Starr’s vocal composition ‘Assumpta est Maria’:

As a side note, the closing number of the Mandelbrot/Menage concert was a joint performance of Keith Jarrett’s ‘The Wind Up’ with both Mandelbrot and Menage. It’s not often that you get to see a jazz quartet and a string quartet perform together!

Travis Orbin Solo EPs

There is much exciting news in the world of Travis Orbin! Firstly, he has officially joined Darkest Hour. Secondly, he is recording two solo EPs for release (hopefully) later this year, ‘Projects’ and ‘Silly String’. He has just posted a song from ‘Silly String’ on youtube:

Song info
Purchase info
Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 84 BPM

You can view a song from ‘Projects’ below:

Song info
Purchase info
Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 97 BPM

How I got my first album credit

album_coverIn Summer 2010, I interned at a studio in Philadelphia called Third Story Recording. It was run by Scott Herzog, a punk and hip-hop engineer who had recorded the early records by The Dead Kennedys. The studio basically recorded anyone who was willing to pay, so I ended up having to work on quite a few deeply unfortunate projects. As a result, the highlight of my day usually ended up being my work with Saving Thomas, a Korean Contemporary Christian group who combined folk rock and rapping. The group’s main songwriter was Dave Bak, a rapper, body percussionist, singer and rhythm guitarist. His songs were extremely religious in nature, but they were also very earnest and had a conviction to them which I found compelling – when Dave sang something, you could really tell he meant it. The band was being produced by their bassist, Bernard Chae, an incredibly talented individual who came up with some tasty bass lines and beautifully textured arrangements in addition to writing some music for the album. I ended up engineering quite a few of their sessions. Late one night when we were working on a song called ‘The Anatomy of Joy’, I told them I had some vocal layering ideas for the song (only minutes before I had to catch the train home). They hurriedly tracked me in the vocal booth – I threw a harmony idea at them which they rejected, then sang a contrasting line which they absolutely loved. Bernie ended up singing that part live, and every time he did it he looked like he was having the time of his life.

You can find the album at Saving Thomas’s Bandcamp page. Dave Bak has since released a followup solo album, ‘Voices’, which can be found at his Bandcamp page.

Soon after these sessions, Bernie quit his job as a lawyer and went to study music at Berklee. I originally asked him to perform the bass on Interior City, but he didn’t have time due to his studies.

I really enjoy the fact that my first two guest spots appeared on a Christian album and an Atheistic album (Being‘s upcoming debut, ‘Anthropocene’). This diversity of experiences has kept life rich!