Monthly Archives: February 2024

Electric LaTex Student Music Conference 2024


Over the weekend of January 26-27, 2024, students from the School of Performance, Visualization, and Fine Arts at Texas A&M University attended Electric LaTex, a student electronic and experimental music conference in Baton Rouge, LA, on the Louisiana State University campus. The event focuses on university students from Texas and Louisiana, and is hosted by those same universities on a rotating basis. The event gives the students in music and/or music technology schools or departments the opportunity to exhibit their new works and installations, perform improvised pieces, and present discussions on their compositional and creative processes.

This year, the new music technology program at TAMU was represented by Grace Burton, Ethan Cheney, Nat Cortez, Evan de Anda, Oluwanifemi Haastrup, Breanna Loredo-Rayas, David Neuhalfen, Colton Neuville, Robert Rutherford, and Rolf Rydahl. The trip was organized by Dr. Jeff Morris, the head of the TAMU PVFA music technology program, and the students were accompanied to LSU by Dr.s Matthew Campbell and Will Connor.

The event was an impressive success, both in terms of the overall event and the participation of the TAMU students. Burton, Cheney, de Anda, Haastrup, and Neuhalfen all presented videos created for coursework in music technology classes in the Fall 2023 term at A&M. Cortez displayed her interactive installation, and Loredo-Rayas, Rutherford, and Rydahl also presented new compositions performed by themselves along with Cortez and Neuville. Approximately 100 people interacted with the TAMU students over the course of the weekend, all of whom were from other universities, and the TAMU students were exposed to a multitude of impressive and innovative student works. Perhaps most importantly, the A&M students were able to network and generate new friendships with like-minded students from other universities in the bi-state area.

Video Presentations

The video presentations were mixed in with live performances and were displayed on a large screen at the back of the stage. Oluwanifemi’s video was a still image as a backdrop to her new music piece, A Beautiful Alien Abduction. Grace’s video, Synthia, Cythnia? featured her digital music and a depiction of a day in the life of a digital student (see below). David’s work was concise and pinpointed. Ethan combined footage of driving through the forest with his latest electronic composition. Evan merged a work for string quartet and digital video manipulation in his presentation.

David’s work was concise and pinpointed. Unfortunately, there is no footage of this short, but powerful work. David had this to say about the piece, “This piece is not one of particular note on its own, though with its story, it becomes a living piece of art. When my hard drive was corrupted, this was the only piece lost to time. I was able to recover everything else. The only version I had saved was one I had uploaded to the cloud. This was a piece that took very little time to write, mix, and complete. I like to think of it as a description of a memory or a moment in time. For this reason, I think the piece takes on being something greater than just its sound.”

Ethan Cheney’s piece At Night drifts and swirls with rolling interactive samples, reflected by the drive through the woods as seen in the video. Ethan says, “I recorded the upright piano, which happens to be tuned up a whole step, providing a “middle D”, with a single sm57 in my kitchen. After adding drums via midi in Ableton, I added synth textures to add space. The mix was bare, only really adding panning modulation to offer movement to the melodic moments.”

Installation Piece

Nat Cortez exhibited an interactive installation entitled Musical Threads. Cortez crocheted granny squares using conductive yarn and turned those into triggers to sound samples she created playing a tongue drum. Each granny square was linked to an Arduino pin and was set up to trigger one of four samples, taken from a pool of sixteen such that to play all the sounds available, all of the granny squares would have to be triggered at least once. The triggered sounds were accompanied by an ambient rain sounds so that someone interacting with the installation has a meditative audio pad underpinning the playing of the sounds.

Live Performances

Rolf Rydahl gave a performance on his laptop of a new work. Of his new piece, he says, “I created the piece using a combination of sounds from around my house that I sampled paired with a couple of digital synths. During the performance, I mapped filters and effects to a midi controller in order to control the piece live. Overall, I really enjoyed the finished product, and it seemed to resonate well with the audience.”

Robert Rutherford presented his piece Submarines and Squids as a trio performance, playing a Soma Labs Enner along with Colton Neuville on haunted box and Rolf Rydahl on pedals manipulating the sounds Neuville created. The work was harsh and ambient at the same time, and smoothly navigated the intertwining dynamic ranges the instrumentation provided.

Breanna Laredo-Rayas performed an iteration of her 2023 work Ghosts. This time, presented as a duo with Nat Cortez, the piece converted the piece from a trio work to feature only a haunted box played by Breanna and Theremin played by Nat. The duet version was ambient and exploratory, creating an ethereal soundscape with interplay of drone pads, textural injects from the haunted box, and eerie combinations of “other-worldly” musical statements.

Overall the trip was more than successful. The impact on the students involved was clear – the networking opportunities, the performance opportunities, and representation of TAMU and the PVFA Music Technology by the student creators off campus and outside the state was confident-building, inspirational, and enriching on an educational and professional level simultaneously.

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Fall 2023 Media & Gaming Lab Write Up



To say we had an action packed semester would be an understatement. We had a slew of activities going on within and beyond the lab. So many faculty, students and community members collaborated with the lab and have taken us on so many new trajectories and journeys. We cannot thank everyone who participated enough.

Fall 2023 Grant Projects

Lorefest 2023

Lorefest 2023 was a huge success with 3 nights of local lore programing performed by Dr. William Connor and Dr. Matthew Campbell’s students.  Held in downtown Bryan, Krisy of the Village Cafe and Vino Boheme and Misty of the Frame Gallery hosted Lorefest for the 3 evenings.  It was amazing to have their support.  In addition to their support we would like to thank the following sponsors:

  • TAMU Performance Visualization and Fine Arts
  • TAMU Institute of Data Science
  • TAMU Race, Ethnicity Studies Institute

You can check out a full write up here:

High Impact Instructional Innovation Grant – Sports Multimedia Skills

The High Impact Instructional Innovation Grant – Sports Multimedia Skills is a collaborative project headed by Professor Angelique Gammon to garner hands on sports broadcast skills.  Professor Jonathan Guajardo Professor Lopez would collaborate with Profesor Gammon to purchase, secure and use new video broadcast and digital narrative equipment.  Specifically in Professor Gammon’s journalism 359 Reporting Sports Professor Guajardo and Professor Lopez provided hands-on workshops with both Broadcast and Digital narrative equipment.  In addition to this experience, Professor Guajardo and Lopez provided a hands-on workshop with the podcasting studio recently setup by the Media & Gaming Lab.  The Media & Gaming Lab hope to continue with hands-on workshops with an emphasis on Sports Reporting.  We hope to bring Kaye Cruz to campus in the Spring to give hands-on workshops where the students gain interviewing and general narrative sports reporting skill sets.  

AVPA Grant – Afro Latinx Life and Writing

The Afro Latinx Life and Writing symposium was developed by Professor Regina Mills & graduate student AJ Baginski made possible by an AVPA Grant.  The Media & Gaming Lab’s role in the grant was to help provide documentation of the event and give support for the development of a website.  We were able to provide photos and videos of the event.  This spring the Media & Gaming Lab will help with any web development and assets needed to help finish the web documentation.   

Lab Projects/Events

Skateboard Art

At the beginning of the Fall semester joey pitched an idea of having local and student artists create Skateboard deck art.  Throughout the fall semester and going into the spring 2024 semester, joey has distributed boards out to interested artists.  The goal of the Skateboard deck art is to create an art show locally at the Vortex, a creative space in Bryan, TX where the TAMU Skaters, local skaters and art patrons will come together and celebrate skateboard culture and beyond.  Here is a sample of one deck created by Clayton Bever, a current A&M student.

Dia De Los Muertos Shoebox Altar

Held on October 23rd, the Dia De Los Muertos Shoebox Altar was hosted by joey and his wife Dr. Corina Zavala who gave a presentation on the history of Dia De Los Muertos.  joey then gave a presentation on building shoe box altars and the attendees created shoe box altars exuding their own lived realities and experiences.  The Media and Gaming Lab provided printing capabilities so that attendees would be able to size and print photos of their loved ones for their altar, the results were great and the event is something we plan to host yearly.

Music Recording Workshop

One of the student requests for the fall 2023 semester was to host music recording workshops.  Dr. William Connor offered to lead the workshops and over two weeks students learned about recordings in the classroom as well as in the studio getting hands-on experience with microphone techniques as well as the recording process.  

Podcast Studio

joey had made it a priority for the Media & Gaming Lab to begin podcasting, Professor Jonathan Guajardo volunteered to head up the effort and together they began building recruiting people to create podcasts and also learn technical skills.  A full write up of the effort can be round here:

Kang & Co – CSTAT Collage

Kang & Diego of the Media & Gaming Lab further developed content for CSTAT Collage focusing on a story about the student led Texas A&M Bonfire. Their work included multiple on site shoots, interviews and research about the history of the Texas A&M Bonfire. Stay tuned for their publication of the story on their youtube channel.

  • 2AM Productions
  • Guest Lectures

Media & Gaming Lab Member Projects/Accomplishments

Rick Pulos

Rick Pulos survived the last semester of coursework in the CMJR doctoral program! It was a super productive fall that included an exciting trip to see Madonna in concert in Antwerp, Belgium. During that trip, he collected data for use in an autoethnographic account of what being a diehard fan is really like. He also partnered with the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of College Station to conduct research at their senior community centers. He came into conversation with all sorts of older folks who take Line Dancing classes at the centers for exercising and socializing. As a PhD student, exploring potential avenues for his dissertation has gobbled up a lot of his focus but he also managed to create some new media centered works. On September 21 as part of the “Landscapes of Belonging” recital, he performed an excerpt from his longer autobiographical theatre piece Mixing Ingredients or How to Make an American by Checking Off Boxes. He took elements of that performance and incorporated it into a media piece entitled “The ABCs of Trying to Belong.” These are his ruminations on his failures and success throughout his life of trying to belong. Watch it at the link below. 

Rick also continued his work with The Theatre Company of Bryan-College Station. He took the footage he shot of every performance in 2023 and created a 15-minute video Celebration of the Season. It was shown on a huge scrim screen during the company’s 2024 season reveal party and it was unanimously loved by everyone in attendance. Check it out at the link below!

Zayno Rayne

Zayno Rayne has been a major contributor to the Media & Gaming Lab on multiple fronts.  This semester he played a major role in immersing the Media & Gaming Lab into the local music scene.  Zayno is now the talent scout for the Grand Stafford Theater, his work there has enabled all of the Media & Gaming Lab students and faculty the opportunity to be part of the local music scene, here is a full write up about it:

Synthposium Spring 2024


On February 4th, 2024, the Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab, along with faculty from the School of Performance Visualization and Fine Arts hosted Synthposium, an event which brought together local synthesizer enthusiasts, musicians, engineers and academics to discuss and explore the cultural and technical aspects of the art form.

Director of the Media & Gaming Lab, joey lopez, facilitated the Synthposium and developed its calling through multiple meetings with Media & Gaming Lab members.  The finalized ideation procured a one day event at local coffee shop, Tavo Coffee, which would include five presentations and a final performance.  Lia Stevenson, a representative of Synthrotek and a genius synthesizer electrical engineer in the making, also flew in from Moscow, Idaho to join us.  

The event was successful and well-attended, with roughly 40 participants coming to join in on the fun. Over the course of the event, even patrons of the coffee shop would wander into the space and begin interacting with the equipment, tinkering and playing with the sounds they created.  

The presentations themselves were enthralling and informative, with each one being aimed towards beginners and advanced users alike.  Each presenter would give a general overview of their work and then give in depth explanations of their processes. Event facilitator, joey lopez, also moderated a Q&A session and asked questions of the presenters to further add to the informative nature of the event.  

Presentation Recaps

David Kang & Diego Valle – David Kang presented his video synthesizer along with Diego Valle.  Both are students at Texas A&M and media makers.  They noted their use of Kang’s analog synthesizer to develop graphics for  their “gonzo journalism” project College Station Collage.  It was great watching them give a full demonstration of Kang’s custom built synthesizer and vintage composite media production gear. In addition to their presentation, Kang & Diego would provide visuals throughout the Synthposium and would perform with Lia Stevenson and William Conner, Ph.D. at the end of the conference.

Jeremy Zunker – Jeremy Zunker, an electrical engineer from Austin, gave a demonstration of multiple projects he has developed over the years, ranging from a custom designed DJ scratching device to a hardware implementation of beatbyte (on which Professor Morris would later give a demonstration). Jeremy also answered general questions about circuit design and the process of having boards made. He demonstrated this process by showing three versions of a prototype.  

Jeff Morris, Ph.D (website) – Jeff Morris Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts. He presented on the software side of synthesizers, giving an in depth workshop on the web based implementation of Bytebeat and Pure Data (PD).  Professor Morris’s workshop further broke down the fundamentals of electronic music composition.  Audience members thanked Dr. Morris for his workshop and mentioned how it impacted their general understanding of music composition as well as the functions of their equipment.

William Connor, Ph.D. (website) – Will’s presentation was based around his Lovecraftian-themed Monstrous Synthesizer that has been a concept of his for over a decade and which he implemented and built over the last year.  Will would later present on the fundamentals of synthesizers by demonstrating his own build and explaining the process of how he designed and implemented his setup.  It complemented Professor Morris’ presentation well, venturing into the physical aspect of synthesizers.

Lia Stevenson (website) – Lia Stevenson is a Synthrotek employee and electrical engineering student at the University of Idaho, where she is studying electronics.  Her presentation consisted of giving a full walk through of synthesizers, aided with an awesome slide presentation with embedded videos of herself explaining basic terminology and components.  She also provided a great condensed history of the synthesizer as well. Her presentation amazed and informed the audience, and she also brought her own synthesizer and discussed a company she is starting based around eurorack components that she is building, one of which was an intricate and exemplary sequencer.  

Final Performance – The conclusion of the event was celebrated with a performance by Lia Stevens, William Connor, Kang, and Diego Valle. This final performance was well received by those in attendance and ended the event on a high note.

Special Thanks – We at the Media and Gaming Lab cannot thank everyone enough for their attendance and support. Tavo Coffee was an amazing host, and their customers were kind, curious, and gracious. Victor, of the Vortex, and crew came by and showed support and directly engaged with the presenters.  Again, thank you to the community for all the support!

Our goal is to continue holding local synthesizer meet ups and develop a scene for performances and workshops to continue throughout the calendar year.

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