David Rothbaum - Miniatures (2016 - 2020) out on Mystery Circles


I wanted to post this here as lines is by far my favorite place on the internet providing endless inspiration as so many here are some of my favorite artists and friends.

Miniatures 2016-2020 is a collection of tracks taken from the work that I have posted to social media over the last 4 years (primarily Instagram). Since I started with the format I have composed and posted over 300 pieces. This collection is my favorite 40 of them. All of them were composed and recorded in one session, oftentimes in some remote location and always live to 2-track with no overdubs or multi-tracking.

I have always taken these compositions seriously and I feel that contained within them is some of the best work I have done. I have always been a fan of brevity in recordings and performances and so I took to the 1-minute format quite naturally. John Zorn’s Gob of Spit (Naked City) and the short works of Webern come to mind as inspirations. :slight_smile: My intent is to write complete pieces that are about a minute long. I rarely post excerpts of longer pieces, though there have been a scattered few of those.

The problem with social media for music is that it is a less than ideal way to listen. Most people listen on their phones, without headphones, etc. Not to mention the compression
that is done to both audio and video. So, after being inspired when Lightbath @fourhexagons started his “Selected Public Works” series, I decided I wanted to do my take on that. That is, present this music in a way that it can be heard as it was intended. Needless to say, I talked to him to make sure he was okay with my doing this and aside from my changing my original title (“Selected Public Works that Lightbath did not do”), he was cool with it. Actually, pretty sure he would be fine with that title too.

My background is in improvisation and these pieces reflect that. Not as instant as free improvisation, but not very far removed either. As a result, there are mistakes and gaffes, both technically and musically. I like that sort of thing as a listener so I am presenting these that way as well.

The idea here is that all of these little things done over a pretty decent span of time when presented together make up a coherent whole (with the obvious help of Nathan
Moody’s mastering).

I hope you enjoy and thanks for listening.

Thank you to the wonderful Mystery Circles label for releasing it, Ben Owen on the gorgeous letterpress / die cut work for the tape and Joe Potts for the feedback and font suggestions on the design. And lastly to my daughter Penelope for inspiring me to see things in a more positive light as well as forcing me to be more economic with my time
in the studio. :wink:

David Rothbaum


Added to my list ! Congrats on the release, looks beautiful. Btw, I have been enjoying listening to you on IG too, even on the phone and with the compression etc :relaxed:

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Thank you :slight_smile: Very much appreciated!

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This is awesome, the brief tracks are long enough to establish a vibe/mood but then the next one comes, and the next… It’s a really nice journey through some wonderful emotional/psychic spaces…

Thanks for sharing this!

And your website is very attractive, I’m loving the photos!

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Thank you!!! The challenge is to be able to create a mood in a very short period of time :slight_smile: And a beginning / end / arc. I am not always successful but I do like when short pieces feel complete.

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I’m going to pretend that my consistent ‘album when?’ comments on ig made this happen.

really excited to dig into this.


Absolutely! One of the interesting things about doing this was that I have been feeling pressure (that I put on myself) for a long time to do a proper “album”. Thing is, I love working in this format but was conflicted as it feels like a lot of folks do not take it seriously or think of it as ephemera. Then when Lightbath did his thing the “light” bulb went off and kind of made all this work I had been doing for 4 years come into focus sort of. If that makes sense.


I think short form music is super valid, even outside of the forced constraints of social media. anything that breaks down that wall of ‘over here is real music and over here is social media sounds’ is helpful.

not promising I won’t wish some of these were longer, just so they could go on a bit more. :slight_smile:

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I like the overall concept and, what is even more important, I’m really enjoying the music! Congratulations, David! Just one question: why some pieces end abruptly? Were those pieces longer?

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Thanks! The abrupt endings in most cases are because that is what recording I had available. In the beginning I was not so thorough about archiving things nor as successful and wrapping the piece up in under a minute :slight_smile: But I included them because I liked the piece and honestly I like all the weird mistakes. A huge influence on this was also the Space Machine recordings that came out on P-Tapes a while back. These are little ideas that were spliced together tape to tape. Some very abrupt changes etc. Also Mike Patton’s Adult Theme’s for Voice is similar in concept minus the social media aspect.


Purchased. Congrats on the release David! Seeing your music pop up on my feed on ig is always a pleasure.

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Thank you very much!

Congrats! Was honored to play a small part in this project. Thanks, David, it’s a great release!


Thanks! I would consider your contribution very significant. You took a rather disparate collection of recordings spread out over 4 years and made it sound like an album :slight_smile:


Hey David, I got around to properly checking this out and after the first track I had to buy. :slightly_smiling_face: Congrats on this release!

I think the concept is brilliant and am glad to see you embracing the short format. Some of my favorite new songs that I encountered in the last 12 months were short pieces on social media. Looking forward to spending some time listening to these!

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Thank you very much. These are very nice words to read. Very much appreciated :slight_smile: :heart:

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spectacular collection. “ambient” is an undersell. webern reference is apropos.

the “miniature” leaves a trail of sound-potential in the mind’s ear, possibly forever.

the intention and attention is evident in every second.


these are wonderful words, thank you.