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deciBall has just been updated to v0.3.  The big addition is the chamberBlock. This is the new building block for the world. I’ll be using it to build Chambers in much the same way that you can use legos to build castles. Except my legos have drum sounds attached to them.

The chamberBlock comes in a variety of colors, each one has a different percussion sound that is triggered when the block is hit. Like the Tones, cB’s can be Tuned, or, destroyed is more like it. If a cB gets hit by a Tone that is the same color it will take some damage. Once a cB has taken enough damage it will be destroyed.

If you’ve played Breakout or Terraria then you will be familiar with this concept. The Chamber is now completely destructible. But don’t destroy all of the cB’s, or else you won’t have any blocks to make beats with.

Avoid & Tune!!!

here’s a video that demonstrates the chamberBlocks:


and some pixel art…

a sunny day in deciBall land!

Look out!!! the Tones come out at night.

Behind the scenes

In the beginning

Todd letting the crowd do his dirty work

Drew and myself giving it our all

Towards an End (1997-99)

  • Todd Phillips – Vocals
  • Matt Cox – Guitar
  • Drew Fischer – Guitar
  • Mike Cox – Drums
  • Darren Russell – Bass

In high school my best friends and I had a hardcore band. This band. We practiced in my parents’ dining room and played shows as often as we could.  We came up in the East Bay but roamed all over California to play anywhere folks would let us. From Gilman St to the Great American Music Hall and all the basements, bedrooms, and burrito shops in between. We would tear up the floors and stages with the likes of Model American, Torment, AFI, the Nerve Agents, Converge, Living War Room and countless others.

an image used for the cover of our 2nd demo "Broken Hearts & Shooting Stars"

Along the way we made several recordings. Early on we released two demo tapes that were passed out at our shows.With the help of our friend Bryan Von Reuter we were able to release “Chance of a Lifetime” on CD. Our ultimate release would be a 7″ on the now defunct Lookout! Records titled “Change and Pass Through”. Which is what we would be doing as we found ourselves entering adulthood. Careers and children would change some of our priorities. After playing a house show in Santa Cruz without Drew, who had just moved to Europe, we knew our time had come.

Below are some selections from the Towards an End discography. The first two tracks are from our demo tapes and were recorded at Art of Ears by Andy Earnst. The rest were recorded at Nu-tone  by Willie Samuels for our CD and 7″. Below the songs are some images of the album artwork I made for the 7″ and a few links to people who cared enough to remember.

my soundcloud

1st. Demo Tape – “the End of the Day”

Broken Hearts & Shooting Stars (2nd demo) – “St. Petersburg”

Chance of a Lifetime – “Mallot”

Chance of a Lifetime – “the Last Dance”

Change and Pass Through – “Permanent Ink”

Change and Pass Through – “Ghost in the Hallway”

Towards an End on ADD and Hardcore

Chance of a Lifetime on California Hardcore

Change and Pass Through… on California Hardcore


4 tracking


Todd's 4-track - this changed everything

the Room (ca. 2000)

  • Todd Phillips – Hoop Dreams, Phillips & Reuter
  • Bryan Von Reuter – the Mess, Phillips & Reuter
  • Peter Newbegin – Western Sovereignty
  • Darren Russell – the blue hurrah





BvR, DR, TP, PN = the Leapyear Device

Towards the end of Towards an End, yeah I just did that, I gave Todd a Porta 02 for his birthday. The Porta 02 is a 4-track cassette recorder and it changed everything for us. Being in the hardcore/punk rock scene we were instilled with a DIY ethic, so we weren’t afraid to take the horse by the reigns and start recording ourselves.

Our band may have been dissolved but we were still writing songs. We had moved out of our parents houses and could no longer afford the luxury or expertise of professional recording studios thanks to the wonderful world of renting. It was Bryan who graciously dedicated his room to facilitate our collective desires to make music.  We packed it to the gills with anything that could make a sound and we explored it all.

chillin' at the Pad just outside of the Room

Inspired by the likes of the Elephant 6, T.W. Walsh, Love as Laughter, Anticon, and others we would push ourselves to the limits and find out just what we could do. Bryan would use his computer and Impulse Tracker to create soundscapes and songbeds that Todd (who lived with Bryan) would put his voice to in an effort that produced two self released albums under the moniker of “Phillips & Reuter”. Peter and myself were constant fixtures in the Room and would work on our own singer song writer projects, “Western Sovereignty” and “the blue hurrah” respectively. Peter was already a virtuoso of the guitar and began to explore keys and to push his lyric writing to new narrative heights. I was a bassist that picked up a guitar and tried to sing but I hid behind a wall of noise.

The Room would morph into a House over the coming years and we would embrace the similar evolution of technology that was happening concurrently. When the room was born it was all 4-tracks, zip drives and mini disks, and by the end it was Pro Tools, Sound cards, and CD-R’s. Our ranks were swelling as well and even though we were always collaborating with each other, solo recording projects would morph into full fledged bands. Todd would go on to start the band “Surf” with Mark James, Matt Sweirs, and Drew Fischer. Peter and I would team up with our friend Chris, who was a saxophonist turned drummer, and get back to our roots with “Crane Jackson’s Fountain St. Theatre Band”

the cover of my bass cab

In spite of the changing world around us, however, the Room still exists. Figuratively and literally. Each of us continue to pursue personal creative explorations in the safety and comfort of our Room with whatever technology is available. And Todd still lives in the same place with the same 4-track that I gave him oh so long ago. And you can still go over there and find yourself being handed a guitar and told that you’re going to make a song today.

Below are a few tracks from the first Hoop Dreams album. This was Todd’s project. But he was a vocalist and not very proficient with musical instruments. What he could do was make beats with his Playstation and he would then employ the rest of us to fill in the melodies. Below are a few examples of this and they constitute some of the earliest home recordings we ever attempted.


my soundcloud

Hoop Dreams – “Pagemaker”  Todd – Vocals    Darren – Guitar

Hoop Dreams – “Sev” Todd  - Vocals, Playstation   Darren – Guitar

Hoop Dreams – “Circles” Todd – Vocals, Playstation ( a proto Phillips & Reuter track)


Dreaming the Dream

February 10, 2012 in music by Darren Russell

Crane Jackson’s Fountain St. Theatre Band



Living the Dream

February 9, 2012 in music by Darren Russell

Dead Like Dallas



Dark Days and Darker Nights

February 8, 2012 in music by Darren Russell











Portraits of Black


black magic rose

Engine of Progress