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,