A brief documentary covering a short career of live looping performances in the MidWest USA.
This is a track called "Tape Loop Mixer". It was performed in real time using a live mixing console. The recording was created at a live performance by Thomas Park at the Kismet Creative Center on 6/23/2018. One good thing about a live looping set is that you can get up and have a drink of water while you jam!
Thomas Park reads an original essay, in which he tells the REAL story of his music career.
Multi-disciplinary artist Thomas Park talks about some free, public-domain resources available to other artists, to help them with their career(s).
It has been my plan, for the reasonable present, to post a total of 3 live performances. I posted one show from the Julia Davis Library, and a second from the Kismet Creative Center. Here I am posting a final show-- it is the last, the longest, and possibly the strongest. It is called “Transmission Ghosts”. It was recorded live in my home studio, in one take, with no edits, on 6/2/2018. I hope that you will enjoy the music:
Transmission Ghosts at Internet Archive
Here we have a set of experimental videos designed to accompany live performances by Thomas Park. All of the audio in this release was recorded live, and in real time. The videos were assembled later. All of this material is free and in the public domain:
On 5/17/2018, Thomas Park performed his first public live music gig. The performance was sparsely attended, but Thomas did manage to obtain a nice recording of the set. Thomas used 4 different live mixing consoles while performing his pieces.
at the Internet Archive
Having retired mainly as mystified, there are a few creative avenues I am still exploring. One is the world of improvised music. On the 5th of May, I used a live mixing console to create an industrial drone work I call “Cylinder Fire”. The next day, I took another avenue and did work on an experimental video for the piece, using moving images in ways that could be seen as both percussive and poetic. Here is that video, if you have the time:
I was working with a pretty popular ambient label, and the proprietor had some words for me. He wanted to sell CDs, and I had been releasing too much material, and a lot of it was free. He pointed out that, in his opinion, what makes a release marketable is that it is special. It has to have a unique quality. If an artist releases too much material, that seems to suggest that a particular release may not be unique.
That is an issue I struggled with for most of my career as an indie electronica artist-- the tension between the sheer joys of creating and sharing offbeat material, and the seemingly necessary restraints of making certain things “special”, and therefore profitable.
Recently, thanks to Hal McGee’s “Electronic Cottage” site, I am becoming more acquainted with the DIY and hometaper scene that began in the ‘80s and’90s. My first impression is that I am sad that I missed it. My head was in other places during these years. Seeing all the cool stuff that survives is really neat.
I got started, as mystified, in the earlier days of netlabels. The availability of the internet and online music sites had an effect on cassette culture. Releasing online was so easy-- low- to mid- fi mp3s and a cover of some kind were created, these were uploaded, and instantly the release could be shared by many.
For hometapers, there was this craft of dubbing their material onto actual cassettes-- and in creating actual, material cover art, too. Hence the reliance on dubbing machines (or, I would assume, many, MANY hours going from tape to tape) and copying machines. Hence the many trips to the copy center, and to the post office.
Interesting, too, is the notion of generations. For online releases, a lot of times you have your source track, maybe a WAV or AIFF file, and then you have the MP3. In the past, it was the MP3 that went up-- lately, we’re seeing a lot of lossless files being used, instead, with faster internet speeds. With cassette culture, it’s interesting to ponder, when we listen, how close or far we are to the source material of the audio. It’s often very uncertain, and adds a level of mystery.
From my standpoint, having hundreds of releases, to have had to actually dub each release-- to have had to xerox, trim, and paste each cassette-- the task would have been daunting. Gone, on the other hand, may be some of the joys of craftmanship-- too, the pleasure that a person might feel when receiving a cool package with a tape or two in it from God knows where.
So, DIYers, Hometapers-- this is a bit of a salute. Congratulations for being a part of a culture that tried to make something special. I believe that, in life, we get what we give, and a these people gave a lot to their art-- a lot of time, and a lot of effort.
Doing things yourself is a good way to make art special-- it’s the hard work that makes it so-- breaking the chain of uniqueness and forced marketability.
I would not want to have to do things the way these folks did. I am glad I can create a release quickly and effectively, and disseminate it, when I have a salient idea.
But I can certainly appreciate the efforts of those who came before. Maybe that’s why my musical mentors were either involved with this earlier scene-- or look back on it with great nostalgia.