Not long ago, I discussed radio as a means to portray modern experience. Modernity is known for its abrupt changes in atmosphere and tone-- one minute, you might find yourself completely relaxed, enjoying life, and the next, you might be in a panic. Our rate of communication is one cause for the nature of things, and our rate of transportation another. There are other causes.
An idea I had was that, by creating a radio stream that changes quite a bit with every track, I would more accurately portray our lives, than if tracks in the stream blended in with one another.
With radio, we can easily play with medium and message.
Thanks to this simple yet important innovation, the “Thomas Park Audio Explorer” now resembles much more closely the kind of “radio as art” notion I had-- but, don’t just accept what I am saying-- tune in yourself!:
Rafael González sent Thomas Park some very nice self-portrait paintings. Thomas processed them, combining them with pictures of round objects, and making them into a slideshow. The slideshow features original live music by Thomas, created by mixing sliced drumbeats in real time.
The project is called-- "Selves In Circles".
We hope that you enjoy it.
So, maybe you're enjoying the EC community, and digging the people and their new sounds.
Would it be fun to create your own database of related cc-licensed music, that you could use to find new material and make your own playlists?
I worked my tail off over the weekend, and added database functionality to my Internet Archive Playlist Generator.
The app is free, and now each user gets to store up to 3000 track links in the database.
Basically, you can search for cool stuff via the search page, then add it to your database. Then, you can reference the tracks using keyword and listen to them, download them, remove them from the database or download a playlist.
Does this sound confusing? It's actually really fun and not too hard. Why not stop by and see what the app can do for you?
It's all gratis/public domain and done for the love of music.
I was worried it might feel different-- indeed challenging-- and it did. But, after last night's show, I was glad I tried playing in front of a larger group, and glad also that I diversified my live set to make it more active.
I am not one who is a natural performer. It took some extra support and gumption to pull this off.
I was pleased by the results. How about you?
Thanks to Hunter Dragon, Osvaldo Cibils and Amanda Wells for featuring some sounds, and to Joe Schwartz and the SLPL for facilitating.
We have highs in life, and we have lows. My life has had lots of lows. Rather than going into too much detail, let's just say that some of my main creative periods have been when I was extremely poor and/or out of work.
Now that things are better for me, personally-- I have a wife and a career, and have even become upwardly-mobile-- what to do about all the years of sadness?
I listened to a friend of mine cover an old blues song. I was impressed by how the song was performed to help people feel better who were down.
Many of my friends are going through hardship, and I remembered some songs I wrote back around 2005-2008. I was using various parts of my apartment as sources of sound -- like my microwave oven, refrigerator, and silverware.
Some of those songs were surprisingly soulful, very healing.
I wanted to put them together, for folks who are going through hardship.
The release is called "Songs From The Corner"
It is customary of prophets that they will tell you that the "end is nigh". People have been evil, and God, or some entity or another, is going to cleanse the world.
That may or may not be the case, and folks should believe what they do.
I am aware that the end has been forecast for thousands of years-- that since the beginning of time, in accordance with scripture, people have been thinking about the ending-- and thinking it is about to happen.
I wrote the generative piece "Countdown" in part to show how an ominous set of sounds can make it seem like something is about to happen, even if it doesn't. An artist can raise a person's expectations without satisfying them.
The piece itself may be of some interest, as it appears on a "Live Mixing Console". The work has 8 sounds, and a user is able to manipulate the sounds themselves. You can control the loops, fading particular sounds out and in. If you have an onboard recording program, you can even record your own version of "Countdown".
Sure, you are unique, it's true. But, you are also one of nearly 8 billion people.
I recently had a surprising debate on social media, in which my assertion that people want to be unique was contradicted by several folks, each suggesting in their own way(s) that uniqueness causes problems. What we need they said, is to fit in, to be accepted.
If we want to fit in, that should be easy enough, There are many invitations to do so. I, for one, live in a big city, and it's not tough to get lost in it, or, at least, to seem as a nonentity living behind yet another street sign.
This morning, I took my phone camera and went downtown, and took some pictures. I noticed how large many of the buildings are. I was not sure if that was a comforting feeling or oppressive. They certainly dwarfed me in scale.
After awhile, I felt my energy wane. My shots got broader, longer. My eyes started to droop, my feet to ache. Maybe that is what those folks meant by no longer wanting to be unique?
Even so, something spurns the call to fit in-- something persists.
Here is a video showcasing these and some other recent photographs. The music was recorded live, using one of my live mixing consoles. Some sounds were furnished at an earlier date by Daniel Barbiero.
I hope that you enjoy: "Persisting Industrial Person."
In 2017, I created a series of blog entries concerning mental health. As I struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, I wrote about some of my biggest obstacles. One of these obstacles involves the disjointed nature of modernity.
It is characteristic of modern life that a person moves quickly between environments, and that some of these are quite different from others. One may, for example, have a home environment, a work environment, vacation, bars, restaurants, the doctor’s office, and so forth.
Improvements in communication and transportation technology, among other factors, tend to speed movement between different environments. In a virtual sense, cell phones and similar devices bring us into contact with more and more switches, more settings.
My paranoia never jibed well with all of the sudden shifts, and it’s taken a lot of faith and patience to calm down, and to convince myself that I am still consistently myself, no matter where I am. Modernity can be painful and confusing to even the healthy-minded, and possibly even less pleasant for the mentally ill.
In 2018, I dreamt of creating a radio station. I wanted it to resemble a college freeform show I used to host at WNUR-FM, Evanston. In this show, radically different genres were played back to back. Sometimes the effect was seamless-- often it was jarring.
Perhaps one track would be from Einstürzende Neubauten, with huge pipes smashing into a floor and chainsaws slicing. The next might be a Brahms-ian lullaby.
“Life”, as a (sane) friend of mine once said, “is often a dream, and occasionally a nightmare.”
The conceived-of new radio station was to use internet technology to help to gather and combine songs from playlists of disparate genres. The disconnection between tracks, as playlists were changed randomly, was their connection. A more unpredictable radio station was a true radio station-- true to the life it represents-- that of modernity.
The current realization of this dream takes the form of a free web application I call the “Thomas Park Audio Explorer”: http://www.thomasparksolutions3.com/ . Users can surf into the explorer and spend second or hours listening, hitting the “Load Track” button when it’s time for a new track.
The nature of that track depends on many things, including what playlist is chosen randomly by the python code. Will it be a gritty rip from an old 78 rpm jazz instrumental? A 3-minute shortwave broadcast from a control tower to an Air Force pilot? An experimental loop track using cassette loops? A boot-kicking track of minimal techno?
That is not for the listener to decide, but rather for them to cope with, and hopefully-- to enjoy.
Folks, I have been busy creating web applications to help people to explore some of the free, open culture available here online-- as well as some of the resources you can use to create your own works.
For playlists of cc-licensed music, try the Internet Archive Playlist Generator:
For cc-licensed audio news reports by topic, rather than political orientation, and to avoid spammy 'Fake News' sites, try Real News:
To watch playlists of cc-licensed videos and images, try the Internet Archive Visual Aggregator:
For an embedded player presenting any of a large quantity of original cc-licensed audio works, try the Thomas Park Audio Explorer:
I hope that you will enjoy these complimentary apps, and that you find them to be useful, as well.
A Disclaimer: I don’t own Encyclotronic-- my friend Jack Hertz runs the website. I have nothing material to gain from promoting it. In fact, when it first came out, I was a little dubious about the capacity of the site to replace Facebook for artists. Now, I admit to having been converted. The workability is definitely there-- it just has to be utilized.
The Whys: Facebook is increasingly failing artists, in terms of publicity, as the site reduces the number of views of content, to the point that there is little or no return for most posts. When you release a new song, album, video, or other project, you need to be able to add that to a feed that people actually see. At Encyclotronic, that’s all totally free and quite easy. Facebook is really not designed for Electronic music and its fans, but Encyclotronic is-- in part, in that Encyclotronic puts musicians in a timeline with music from similar genres of the past, providing context. Artists who post prominent information can be highlighted quickly, and without discrimination. And, Encyclotronic does not have the privacy issues we have seen elsewhere..
The How: First, you have to join Encyclotronic, costs nothing and takes about 5 minutes. Here is my profile (and note that I can easily share this link):
Now, try posting something on your feed. I would like you to notice that a link is generated, right away, that you can share-- which contains all of the material you have posted. For me, that is:
Here’s where Encyclotronic could really help, if enough of us got on board: creating and sharing topical searches.
Just include terms in your post that will come up in a topical search. If you like drone music, make a post with the word “drone” in it. If you like musique concrete, include that term in your post. Then, join me in investigating topical streams, and creating new ones that interest you. Once created-- share and promote the streams. They are better than Facebook groups, and can actually get results, instead of resulting in dummy posts that no-one sees.
Here Are Some Topical searches: (These are to replace Facebook Groups)
Note that you can also search for your topic just being just in the title
Create your own feeds under the “More” tab, with “My Activity Streams”-- here is one I did that shows unread content involving album releases on the site:
The Main Point: So, head on over to Encyclotronic, then join, post, search, and share. Let’s work with a site that was created for people like us, instead of sticking with Facebook, which has turned its back on independent artists.
is a prolific electronic artist,