/// Est. 2005 /// RIP 2012 /// Faux Pas is Tim Shiel, an electronic music maker from Melbourne ///


Published on March 7, 2011

limited edition of two copies. i kept one and gave the other one to erika.

stoffelsworks happened because erika’s friend andrew got in touch with me saying that it was erika’s birthday soon, and that she loved three things in her life: japanese television, cyberpunk clothes & faux pas. once i got over the shock of hearing that there might be such a thing as someone who loves my music as much as they love japanese television – japanese television is – i sunk my teeth into the project of making erika an awesome birthday present.

a couple of weeks later, she had a 2xCD compilation full of unreleased faux pas demos & remixes, plus a mediafire link to a mixtape full of songs that i’ve sampled for faux pas tracks over the years.

i have a folder on my computer called “faux pas” that contains every piece of music that i’ve ever committed to hard drive, and even a bunch of stuff that went down on cassette tape back when i was in high school – digitised into 128kbps mp3s at the time, because i had to conserve hard disk space… regrets, i have a few… we’re talking 12 years of music making, a pretty consistent stream of output even though the quality obviously wildly varies (from bad to worse mostly). upwards of 100 hours of original music.

i’ve always been fastidious at keeping everything i make, in fact i can’t really help but be, because its built into the way that i work. i’ve been making music completely ‘in the box’ – ie all inside the computer – almost from the start. so this ‘archive’ primarily consists of all the mp3s that i mix down for myself during the process of songwriting/mixing/whatever you want to call it. at the end of a session, i always bounce down a mix, and put it in this folder, so i can go back to it the next day and see what it sounds like. and i’ve been doing that for years. its how i analyse and develop the songs that i’m working on, and its how i get distance from what i’m doing, how i get my head out of the ‘project.’ its funny how the act of just bouncing something down, giving it a name (filling in the ID3 tags) and putting it in my ipod or my music library or whatever, and it instantly transitions from being an Ableton project to being a ‘song.’ and in turn i immediately assess it differently. its in my music library alongside “real music” – so it better be good, right? i find this is often when i get clarity about something i’m working on, and start to get an idea of whether the song ‘works’ or not.

the result of this is a vault of mp3s, all dated and named, organised by year, this grand (in my own head) canon that actually doubles as a journey back through my own memories, and my ‘development’ (however dubious) as a maker of music. spending an afternoon sifting through the old stuff feels like.. how do i put this in a way you understand… like going back through old facebook photo albums simply to admire how your haircut has changed over time. or how that one time you had a beard, which was weird, and then you tried those glasses for a bit but they didn’t really suit you. its like that. its the hallmark of our generation/era, right, your life as a digital record etched into hard drives/the internet for future reference. nostalgia, yes, narcissistic, definitely – but also potentially a really worthwhile experience that will feedback in to your creative process, going back and reminding yourself what you’ve tried before, whats worked, what hasn’t. what it is about what you do that you want to repeat or refine, or avoid.

there’s so much more to be said on this topic, but i will save it for my therapist. let me end by saying: erika, thanks for giving me the chance to share my haircuts with you, i’m very glad that you are abnormally interested in my haircuts. if anyone else is interested in commissioning a one-off faux pas release, by all means . and if you need a trim, i’ll have you know that ken sutcliffe is a qualified hairdresser.

ps. if you’re curious about the artwork that i used for stoffelsworks, this is a good place to start.

1 Comment

  1. michael says:


    I’ve lost most of my old tracks – generalyl mixed down to cassette and the tape subsequently chewed by dodgy stereos or grown mouldy or whatever else… And, frankly, I’m glad!

    Although it is interesting to listen to stuff old enough that you can separate the look of the haircut from how it felt on your head, from the individual snips & cuts you were doing and the thoughts as you were making them.

    Hm, enough awesome metaphor action.