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.
is a prolific electronic artist,