A History of Transparency

In 1999, I met a girl.

After finally building a computer of my own, I got a phone line and a dialup account, and proceeded to enjoy the internet like I did back in the day. Found a site called mp3.com, and was amazed. Music! For the taking! And normal people write this stuff! Technology had finally leveled the field so that guys all across the world could make music in their bedrooms and share their work with the world. Well, on an irregular basis, mp3.com would publish cdrom compilations of the best music they had to offer, free for the asking, so I started requesting them. Beat the heck out of spending the many, many hours it would've taken to download that many mp3s on a 33.6K dialup.

One of the artists on those compilations was a girl named 'Elleinad' whose electronic music blew me away. I had to fetch more of her catalog at work where the connection was faster. Took it home, gave it a good listen, and it was then that I fell in love with her work. To say it lightly, I was impressed with her talent. So I sent her a message to say hello. Her replies and prodding inspired me to make something of my own.

Well, I tried to make some music with whatever free tools I could find. Some stuff had promise, most of it was raw, every bit of it was unfinished. Over time, the music dream fizzled a bit and I went on with other projects while meanwhile the Dot-Com craze was building up a good head of steam. I made some websites for friends, learned more server coding skills, and got everything I needed to move away from home. I was gonna grab the brass ring.

In the summer of 2000, I moved to Austin and was working at a dotcom. Living the dotcom dream. Between working and hanging out, I had a lot of time at the apartment, just me and my computer, and not too many new friends to distract me. Picked up a copy of Sonic Foundry's Acid Music 3, the consumer-grade version of their pro-sumer grade music software, at an office supply store on a serendipitous lark. Was impressed with how easy it was to do what I had been trying to do musically with other tools for the past year. Suddenly, the music dream was alive again. The muses were speaking, and songs were flowing.

I thought to myself, "Hey, I can make my own artist profile and upload this stuff to mp3.com! But what to call my 'band'?" Well, that inspiration came in the form of snarled traffic on the drive to work one morning. I was stuck behind one of the many SUV's this town has to offer when I got a close enough view of the silkscreen on the handle on the back gate; one side said "Glass", and the other side said "Door". That stuck with me, and after a day of mulling it over, I knew the serendipity of it was fitting, given the serendipitous times I found myself living in, so I gave it a go. Glass Door was born.

Over time, I as Glass Door churned out a few more tracks; most everything — quality notwithstanding — was uploaded to my profile. I met more people who made music as a hobby. Reconnected with Elleinad and found more people online through her. It seemed the Glass Door project would finally catch enough synergy where it could potentially become a juggernaut in its own right. Serendipity had brought me so far.

2001 saw the dotcom crash. Out of tech work, I found soul-crushing jobs to make do. Music took a moody tone. I got the idea to make a concept album, called "Long Drive Home" (title half-inspired by my 6-hour drives to Texarkana), which would be a semi-autobiographical retelling of the tale of a naive fool who wanders alone into the world and through his struggles of being taken advantage of and misleading himself through false assumptions finally, by blows, gains the wisdom of the sages. It was to be a multi-layered tour de force, a complete Man-vs-World, Man-vs-Man, Man-vs-Self trilogy of movements. Well, it was a good idea; it was a great idea, actually, if only a little too pompous for its own good. Way too big for my hands and the tools in them. Suddenly, everything I was doing musically was for the good of the album, and everything I had done had to be shoehorned into the Concept, and everything yet to be done was to be done to serve the Concept. So I learned, much too late, that such a high-minded ideal served only to kill my sapling creative drive. Such arrogance. Making music ceased to be fun and experimental; it just became purely mental.

And thus began the long silence where not even the Muses would speak. Those frustrations were compounded by my immediate and depressing need to take care of my living situation; there were more important issues at hand. Add to that the later downfall of mp3.com under the litigious jackboots of the music industry cartels and four record labels of the apocalypse, and subsequent dismemberment and disembowelment of the site by the same, and I ended up with the poisonous brew that served to end the life of Glass Door. The project was dead.

Fast forward to 2008. I was tired of my dead creativity. I wanted to do something; I was ready. In the Autumn of that year, my friend Jared (_aa_ from Anal0g.org), gave me a good reason to begin again. Wires 6 was in the works, and the call went out for tracks. I had been submitting some of my old music to some of the Wires compilations, but instead of dusting off the oldies, this time around I wanted to make something new again. So I assembled my music gear and waited on inspiration to appear.

It came to me in the form of a quiet Friday night in a quiet coffeeshop on the north end of town. I was experimenting with some sounds and fired up some tools to record my poking on the laptop's keyboard as I pecked out what would become the melody of the first new Glass Door song since 2003. "Stars In the Window" found its genesis there. The next several weeks was a learning and relearning experience as I built the other parts, established a functional creative workflow, polished off a decent mix, and submitted the track. It was published in February of 2009 on the Wires 6 compilation. Glass Door was alive again.

Currently, the project is a little quiet, but it's laying in wait. I've had inspirations here and there, some strong ones lately. The project's not dead after all; I think it refuses to die until I do. The "Long Drive Home" concept, however, will stay dead; I could care less for that. I want music to be fun again, and give myself plenty of legroom to stretch and experiment. I hope to make plenty more for you to enjoy, so keep listening, and keep motivating me. Your kindness helps.