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  • paul collins
  • pmcdesign99
  • pmcdesign99




Michigan, USA



Electronic, Ambient, Experimental



March 2021


associated acts//




I'm new at this. As a result, some of these tracks may be simply unlistenable. Take what you can from it, and discard the rest. That's pretty much how I try to live life.


Also, it probably sounds better with headphones. Or worse. You decide. 


I like it better with headphones. This, I can say for sure.

the tracks


  • 1 TIME My one and only ‘pandemic’ track. The last year has made me more aware of the ticking away of time- whether we use our time wisely or poorly, on and on it ticks.

  • 2 WIND This is wind like no other. It is the motivation that pushes us from behind, and also sometimes hinders our movement forward. It is how we tack and weave in the face of unfavorable winds that determines our path.

  • 3 WATER Over the years, I've learned that water goes where it will go. Follow the water- it always seems to know the way. This track has a little 'cosmic yo-yo' in it. If you get it, you get it.  ​​


  • VOICE The cacophony of voices in this track demonstrate everything from banal small talk to joy to distress. The world gives it all to us, usually at the same time.

  • DRONE Somewhat related to time, the drone is the undercurrent that is always present. Sometimes it vanishes into the undergrowth, but often impossible to ignore. Time by itself is nothing, but added to anxiety, it becomes pain. 

  • WRITE The urge to create silences the drone. The human experience leads us to express- in writing, in music, in art. 


  • MOVE Human ingenuity has always been the driving force behind technological innovation. It moves us forward in so many ways. This track is dedicated to my brother-in-law who loves trains. 

  • COAL This is my tribute to the InCoAlMo project. We may feel primitive, but we have to slog through the inefficient coal-age in order to progress to clean new ways of working.

  • POP I honestly have no idea what this track is all about, but there's something fun about it. This is my "Five-Piece Chicken Dinner" entry that doesn't seem to belong, but does, in such a fundamental way. 


  • 10 For all of the technological innovations the Human Animal has invented, it is dwarfed by the creative output of artists throughout the ages. STRING, and its following tracks are Humans turning the Drone into something beautiful.

  • 11 RING The sound of a bell alerts, celebrates, sings, and worships. We communicate, but we also express joy. 

  • 12 BLUE Intellectually, this is Time+Drone remixed. The walking tempo of the bassline grooves us forward. This track is dedicated to the other InCoAlMo artists who are good at different things than I am. I'm in awe of the art that you make with voice, instrument, drum, word, and idea. Groove forward. 

  • 13 FUZZ String electrified. Technology and art crashing together. Fuzz is the intersection of new skills, new toys, and new ideas. 



  • 14 SPACE Ultimately we use our gifts to propel beyond ourselves and to the literal or metaphorical stars​

  • 15 All of which sets us up to do it AGAIN. Over and over. 

the techniques


  • 1 TIME Uses mostly BBC Clock Sound Effects, plus an instrumental loop created in March 2020 for the project before the world fell apart and I had to attend to other priorities. See Rule of 30.

  • 2 WIND Combination of BBC Wind Effects and some self-created electronic sounds. 

  • 3 WATER Wholly built from a sample recorded in my basement of water dripping into our sump pump reservoir.  ​​


  • VOICE Assembled from BBC Sound Effect Samples.

  • DRONE Built using self-created GarageBand instrumental samples. The piece was created using a single pitch. I think it was an F. 

  • WRITE Sampled from my own pencil and paper. The content was gibberish, in case you're wondering. Typewriter sounds from the BBC. 


  • MOVE Train samples were recorded in Mount Pleasant MI, one in March 2021 and one a year ago. Additionally, one instrumental track created in GarageBand.

  • COAL Assembled from BBC Sound Effects, including the word Coal (including the Coal Tit, which is apparently a bird. Don't do a google image search if the kids are around).

  • POP This is from a smattering of BBC sound effects, some left over from other projects.


  • 10 STRING All sounds sampled from my Ibanez acoustic guitar and recorded on my Google Pixel 3a.

  • 11 RING All samples from BBC Sound Effects library. 

  • 12 BLUE These are simple overlaid Apple Loops from the GarageBand library.

  • 13 FUZZ During the course of the project, I bought a new Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar. This track is entirely made up of samples from that new toy. 



  • 14 SPACE These out-of-the-world samples are from NASA's Soundcloud. The rumble in the middle is made from the first sound ever recorded on Mars by the Perseverence Rover earlier this year.   ​

  • 15 AGAIN is the entirety of the album, reversed, shrunk down, and overlaid on a single one-minute track. 

The album was mixed in Adobe Audition


This concept album was created with the support of a community of artists led by the incomparable Joe Mancuso

InCoAlMo= International Concept Album Month

See the project at:


Following is how well (or poorly) I followed the guidelines of this year's challenge: 

The Rule of 40

Your album must be a full-length concept album completed in the month of March. The total run-time of the artistic content of an InCoAlMo album must be at least 40 minutes

Yup- I missed this one. My album runs about 34 minutes, which is 40 if you round up to the nearest 40. At this writing, I have a couple days left in the challenge, and could conceivably add a couple tracks to get closer, but I'm really happy with the flow right now, and don't want to mess with it more. 

The Rule of 30

The idea here is to create an album, not merely record one. No more than 30% of your run-time material can be written before the 1st of March.

Exactly 0% of this album was 'written' before March 1, so I think I can confidently say that I hit this benchmark. I set down the first track in Audition on March 1, 2021


The Rule of 20

Got a killer piece or two "in the can" that you _really_ want to use to anchor your record? Fine. Up to 20% of your run-time can be recorded before March 1st, but no more.


The math is hard here. Portions of "Time", "Move", and "Water" were recorded last March when I was going to take my first stab at this challenge. Then everything closed, and we all had to rewrite how our entire lives were organized, and I stopped. The pre-recorded material landed in the final compositions as overlaid tracks, and I have no idea how to put a percentage on that. I'm going to declare that I think I met the spirit of this rule. 


The Rule of 10

No more than 10% of your run-time can be cover material. Id est, 90%+ of your record must be original work.


Again, I'm not sure how to quantify this. Many of the samples that I used existed in some form elsewhere: BBC's Sound Effects Library was immensely valuable to the project, and as soon as the Mars Rover sent back actual sound from the 4th planet, I knew I wanted to use it. That being said, I electronically manipulated almost everything, and remixed the existing sounds into an original composition, so I'm declaring the Rule of 10 a success as well. 


The Rule of 0

Last but not least (despite its name) is the Rule of Zero. Zero is how much we care if you break the rules, so long as you make it known.


This is my favorite rule. Thank you, Joe, for putting together this challenge. I would not have made this record without it.  

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