View Profile Blackhole12
Applied Mathematician and Software Architect who occasionally writes music.

Erik McClure @Blackhole12

29, Male

Software Engineer

University of Washington

Black Sphere Studios

Joined on 9/21/06

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Blackhole12's News

Posted by Blackhole12 - July 12th, 2013

Aurora Theory has been released! Buy it on bandcamp for $7, or $10 on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. The album is also available on Spotify, last.fm, other online radios, and can be previewed on YouTube. The entire album can now be previewed right here on newgrounds.

Aurora Theory has been 4 years in the making, a compilation of all the songs I managed to make in the middle of attending university. The earlier songs have been extensively improved, and all songs have been remastered for the album's release. This album represents nothing less than the highest quality work I can possibly manage at this point in my career. I've acquired a fair number of fans over the years, and I want to thank you for supporting my musical endeavors so far.

Track List:
1. Soar (Original Mix) [5:49]
2. Aurora Theory (Redux) [4:10]
3. Cosminox [5:41]
4. Tendril [5:32]
5. Birefringence [3:57]
6. Critical Damage (Extended Mix) [3:45]
7. Starstruck [4:22]
8. Dream Among The Stars [4:06]
9. At The Nationals [4:02]
10. The Cloud River [5:38]
11. The Piano And The Cello [3:53]
12. Snowflower [5:53]
13. Spiral Nebula [5:44]
14. Next Year [5:31]

Aurora Theory Released


Posted by Blackhole12 - December 7th, 2012

My Solar Noise EP is now available for $3.99 on bandcamp, itunes, Google Play, Amazon MP3, and a bunch of other online stores I've never even heard of! It has 5 tracks - Solar Noise, Tidal Forces, and 3 alternate mixes, including a remix by my friend Apelsin, who is way better than me (and also mastered the album). Here is the track list:

1. Solar Noise (Original Mix)
2. Solar Noise (Club Mix)
3. Solar Noise (Apelsin Remix)
4. Tidal Forces (Original Mix)
5. Tidal Forces (Club Mix)

For your enjoyment, I have submitted a preview of the album on newgrounds. A full-length preview can be found on youtube, and you may preview each individual track on bandcamp before making a purchase. Note that bandcamp is the only website that I know for sure offers lossless versions of the tracks. If you are a DJ in charge of a radio station, send me a message either on newgrounds, twitter, or by e-mail and I will give you a promo code to download the club mixes for free. If you are interested in a physical CD, tell me! If enough people request CDs I can make a print run of them. As always, thank you for supporting my musical endeavors!

Solar Noise - EP Released!


Posted by Blackhole12 - September 24th, 2012

Historians have noticed that the concept of teenage rebellion is a modern invention. Young adults often (but not always) have a tendency to be horny and impulsive, but the flagrant and sometimes violent rejection of authority associated with teenagers is a stereotype unique to modern culture. Many adults incorrectly assume this means we have gotten "too soft" and need to bring back spanking, paddles, and other harsher methods of punishment. As any respectable young adult will tell you, that isn't the answer, and in fact highlights the underlying issue of ageism that is creating an aloof, frustrated, and repressed youth.

The problem is that adults refuse to take children seriously. Until puberty, kids are often aware of this, but most simply don't care (and sometimes take advantage of it). As they develop into young adults, however, this begins to clash with their own aspirations. They want to be in control of their own lives, because they're trying to figure out what they want their lives to be. They want to explore the world and decide where to stand and what to avoid. Instead, they are locked inside a school for 6-7 hours and spoon-fed buckets of irrelevant information, which they must then regurgitate on a battery of tests that have no relation to reality. They are not given meaningful opportunities to prove themselves as functional members of society. Instead, they are explicitly forbidden from participating in the adult world until the arbitrary age of 18, regardless of how mature or immature they are. They are told that they can't be an adult not because of their behavior, but simply because they aren't old enough. The high school dropout and the valedictorian get to be adults at exactly the same time - 18.

Our refusal to let young adults prove how mature they can be is doubly ironic in the context of a faltering global economy in desperate need of innovative new technologies to create jobs. Teenagers are unrestricted by concepts of impossibility, and free from the consequences of failed experiments. They don't have to worry about acquiring government funding or getting published in a peer-reviewed journal. They just want to make cool things, and that is exactly what we need. So obviously, to improve student performance in schools, our politicians tie school funding to test scores. You can't legislate innovation, you can only inspire it. Filling in those stupid scantron forms is not conducive to creative thinking. Our hyper-emphasis on test scores has succeeded only in ensuring that the only students who get into college are ones that are good at taking tests, not inventing things.

Young adults are entirely capable of being mature, responsible members of society if we just give them the chance to be adults instead of using a impartial age barrier that serves only to segregate them from the rest of society. They are doomed to be treated as second-class citizens not because they are behaving badly, but because they aren't old enough. Physical labor and repetitive jobs are being replaced by automated machines, and these jobs aren't coming back. The new economy isn't run by office drones that follow instructions like robots, but by technological pioneers that change the world. You can't institutionalize creativity, or put it on a test. You can't measure imagination or grade ingenuity.

So what do we do? We cut funding for creative art programs and increase standardized testing. Our attempts to save our educational system are only ensuring its imminent demise as it prepares kids to live in a world that no longer exists.

The most valuable commodity in this new economy will be your imagination - the one thing computers can't do. Maybe if we actually treated young adults like real people, their creativity could become the driving force of economic prosperity.


Original Post


Posted by Blackhole12 - August 19th, 2012

Almost a decade ago, I thought I wanted to make games. I began building a graphics engine for that purpose, since back then, there were almost no open-source 2D graphics engines using 3D acceleration. It wasn't until later that I discovered I liked building the graphics engine more than I liked building games.

Times have changed, but I continue to tinker away on my graphics engine while going to college and learning just how dumb the rest of the world is. In the most recent bout of astonishing stupidity, my country has decided it doesn't recognize political asylum for people it doesn't like. It wasn't until reality had begun a full-scale assault on my creativity and imagination that I truly understood why artists feel compelled to lose themselves in their imaginations.

My imagination. It is something I could not possibly describe in any meaningful way. Art exists because some things can't be described, they must be shown. And yet, few things in my imagination are my own. I hunt down talented artists and visionaries, lose myself in the worlds they constructed, then take everything out of context and reconstruct my own worlds, perhaps based on another artist's vision, using the same concepts. I construct multiple visualizations, art styles, and game elements. My mental stage is fueled by awesome music, music that launches my imagination into incredible creative sprees. Sometimes I craft incredible melodies of my own, but rarely are they ever truly expressed in any satisfactory way in my music.

My life is one of creative frustration. I became obsessed with computer graphics as a way to realize my vision, but I wasn't interested in simply learning how to 3D model (which I happen to be terrible at, like everything else). I don't see the world as CGI, I see the world through the lens of a GPU. I look at things and ask, how might I render that? My imagination is not a static picture or movie, its a world that meant to be explored. Sometimes I play games for the storyline, or the gameplay, but the one thing that has always grabbed me is the ability to explore. I played Freelancer for 5 years, installed hundreds of mods, and was constantly enthralled simply by the exploration, the enormous universe, finding new systems, and discovering new places.

I can't draw a leaf. But I can create a mathematical model of it. I can calculate the textures and patterns, the branching veins and how each has their own specular, diffuse and transfer lighting functions. I can build abstractions and simulations, genetic recombinations and simplex noise algorithms. After I build tools to procedurally generate all the elements of a world, maybe then I can bring my imagination to life. But then, it's not really my imagination, it's what other artists inspire in me. I want to get as close to an artistic vision as possible, and beyond. I want to expand their artistic ideas and make them into something that is truly beautiful and inspiring, a clear extension of their vision, where it's soul shines like a beacon instead of being buried under bureaucratic bullshit.

I am an artist who cannot draw. I'm a musician incapable of painting the sonic landscape of my imagination. I am a dreamer who has no dreams of his own. If I am a programmer, it is because programming is the only way for me to express my creativity. But programming itself is not simply a means to an end. Programming is my paintbrush, my canvas, and my palette. I know how to read x86 assembly. I have abused C++11 lambdas to create temporary closures that hold a mutable state. I've crafted architectures and APIs and object-inheritance schemes and functional undo/redo stacks and lockless queues and kd-trees. Programming is my art and my music, and every new language or algorithm I explore is another instrument for me to use when building my symphony.

Yet, many programmers hold little respect for alternative opinions. People who don't conform to strict guidelines are viewed as either terrible programmers or "cowboy" programmers destined to bring ruin to every project they touch. Everything must follow protocol, everyone must do things this way or that way. Instead of celebrating our diversity in programming languages, we viciously attack each other as using a "terrible language". Perhaps I have simply been inside a strange anomaly where everyone is obsessed with corporate practices and coding standards instead of building things.

Or perhaps I'm an artist trapped inside a software engineer.


Original Post


Posted by Blackhole12 - September 13th, 2010

Due to Bandcamp's sudden threat to turn all of my free downloads into paid ones, I decided to go ahead and start selling my music properly. Renascent is now available for $2, or about as much as a gallon of milk costs. It contains remastered, super high quality (lossless if you choose to download in FLAC format) versions of all 14 songs, in addition to the original FLP project files used to create them. If you have ever wondered how I made a particular song, this might be another incentive to purchase the album. Note that these FLPs are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license, so you can't go running off with them like free candy.

Track List:
1. On The Edge (2:56)
2. Renascent (4:06)
3. The Boundless Sea (6:49)
4. Duress (2:40)
5. Seaside Lookout (4:54)
6. Sapphire [Redux] (2:20)
7. Absolutia (3:04)
8. The Plea (3:46)
9. Now (2:34)
10. Alutia (4:10)
11. Rite (5:20)
12. Crystalline Cloudscape (4:04)
13. All Alone (3:06)
14. SunStorm (4:12)

Total Time: 56:44

Listen and Buy It Here


Posted by Blackhole12 - August 10th, 2010

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Based on this webpage. Re-implemented using pixel shaders on the GPU instead of HTML5 on the CPU.

Technical Details


Posted by Blackhole12 - June 13th, 2010

You guys just won't let me leave >C

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to reply to all my reviews. I honestly have better things to do. I will probably upload my next track here soon just to see if I can get weekly top 5 again, but I will probably cease replying to reviews unless there is something of substance to reply to. My priorities keep switching wildly and I'm still wondering if I could get signed or if I even want to get signed.

Meanwhile, I worship this guy:

/* */

/* */


Posted by Blackhole12 - May 26th, 2010

I finally got a top 5, even if I had to hide the song in Latin to prevent it from being zero bombed to infinity. I won a contest, got frontpaged, made the top 30 list, pissed everyone off in the process, inadvertently started 2 or 3 forum flamewars, and probably have made myself look like a giant idiot several times over.

Time for greener pastures! I also use SoundCloud as a dumping ground for ideas.

I have a twitter if you're into that.

Bye bye


Posted by Blackhole12 - January 18th, 2010

Using information I gleaned from DJ-immune, I have succeeded in hunting down the original sources of some of the best songs that were submitted.

Crisis (Pt. 3): Substance N Trance -Part I- Rising Sun - SlayersFiction
Gate: Gate To Heaven - Dreameye <-- This was made with FL Studio 7. Check the comments for all the VSTs and samplepacks that were used.
Above The Clouds: Endless Horizon - SlayersFiction
Oversea: at the end of the day (extended-mix) - Samur Wilkenset
Zenon: Liquid Green (Acid Club Mix) - Canna Twins
Evolved: Changing Lights - Agamemnon Project (Link is a rework, not the original that Immune submitted)
EC - It's a Dream (-Imm-Remix): It's a dream (Pattraxx Remix) - Pattraxx
Thunder: Nightvision - Seismograph (Thunderstriker's Earthquake Remix) - Thunderstriker
Reliant: Strong but Vulnerable [TRANCE] [EXT] - SlayersFiction
Swift: Strong but Vulnerable (Substance N Trance Edit) - SlayersFiction
Crusade: Infinity (original 2004 club mix) - Illitheas
Thumper: Inexpressible - Illitheas
Identity: Always And Forever - Devin Hill

Crisis was probably made by The Agamemnon Project due to striking similarities to Changing Lights, but I can't find it. The "style" of DJ-Immune was largely a combination of The Agamemnon Project and SlayersFiction for the techno songs, and basically all his piano songs were ripped from Simon Daum. Simon Daum, however, has a LOT of songs, so just go look up his music for yourself, I can't be bothered to find the exact matches. Freedom is probably one of his best.

Now we can all listen to the music LEGALLY! Hooray!


Posted by Blackhole12 - December 3rd, 2009

How do I know? Because iZone stole 6 of my songs, without even bothering to rename them. It all started when a friend of mine pointed out that someone had stolen Retarded Windows Song, which eventually led me to a guy giving out his e-mail so he can use The Dark Temple in his game.

That was the most fun I've ever had writing an e-mail.

I reported him, but not before taking this screenshot.


EQing with FL Spectroman
Sytrus Tutorials
Orchestra/Piano Samples
MIS Stereo Piano Soundfont