Computer-Inspired Heavy Metal: When Geekdom and Music Collide

Editor's Note: In addition to being a GeekTech blogger, Mike Keller is also the frontman for a metal band. His most recent project, an album named Algorithms, is probably one of the nerdiest--and coolest--things we've heard of in a while. Mike offered to share a little bit about the album, and what inspired him. Enjoy.

The people close to me know that I lead a secret double life. By day (and often by very late night, as it were) I am a programmer, creating iOS apps for my own company or for hire. As you may have noticed, I also moonlight as a blogger for PCWorld’s GeekTech blog, which lets me share my experiences as a developer with you fine folks. But when I’m not writing code or blogging about it, I geek out in a different sort of way--by fronting a band that can be described as mathy, technical grind metal, a sub-sub-genre that is most definitely not for the faint of heart or the uninitiated to heavy music.

The name of my band is “Meek Is Murder,” which happens to share the name of my iOS development company, obviously by no accident--the off-kilter moniker is a reference to a self-imposed mantra against inaction, which I felt was apropos for both projects. We recently recorded an album with an unusual concept for alternative music: Algorithms, which is being released today digitally via popular metal blog MetalSucks.net is a concept album about Computer Science.

Song titles include "Hello, World!," "Dining Philosophers," and "Garbage Collector," all of which should be familiar concepts to anyone with a CS background. In fact each song on Algorithms has a distinct Computer Science theme, used as a metaphor for life experience. As a programmer, I truly believe that principals used in Computer Science can be applied to many aspects of living.

An example would be the song “Hope Springs Eternal (Spaghetti Code)” described by The Village Voice as a “grindcore opus…blitzing between carpal-tunnel grind blur, dizzying math-metal calculus, cliffhanger feedback breaks, a doomy mosh breakdown, and even a shimmering climax of analog jet-engine jazz.” Anyone familiar with the concept of “Spaghetti Code” knows that it refers to a certain form of poor code organization. This is a song about losing perspective. When you get so caught up in the moment (whether in writing code, or in life)- it’s easy to forget your initial intention and get tangled up in minutiae.

Making Algorithms has been an incredibly fun and rewarding experience over the course of the past several months. While I don’t imagine too many GeekTech readers are down with this kind of abrasive music, hopefully some can at least appreciate just how nerdy it is to write a metal album about programming.

As I write this from our tour van somewhere in West Virginia, with Pantera blasting on the stereo, I am reminded that geeks come in many forms.

Mike Keller is GeekTech's resident iOS developer nerd. Catch Diary of a Developer every Tuesday here at PCWorld's GeekTech blog.

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