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TBWB 5 year Austin anniversary + "Hyperart Thomasson" music album

As of this writing, it is officially my fifth anniversary as an Austin, Texas resident. Much has changed in my life here - some things dramatically better, some things dramatically worse - but I can say at the very least that it has rarely been boring. The sudden shift from a state of near-total isolation, to a community where I’ve routinely been challenged to justify having a seat at the table with creators much more clearly defined and successful than myself, has certainly changed the way in which I live my life, and has both exposed and burned away several of the weaker aspects of my personal presentation (for what it’s worth, shortly after I vacated the cultural necropolis I inhabited prior, some sort of “noise scene” popped up from seemingly nowhere…they’re welcome to it).

As we all know, idealized conceptions of cities and their attendant “scenes” tend to be, without exception, carefully massaged myths. There is certainly very little “slacker bohemia” to speak of in this city, having been steamrolled for years now by the bureaucratic imperatives of Silicon Valley types looking to annex new territory. I also do not recommend moving here for anyone who, like myself, has an essentially anarchistic outlook and therefore regularly runs afoul of binary political thinkers. Yet, for all that, I’ve been highly fortunate to be accepted - embraced, even - by a core group of Austin friends and supporters who rescued me from the misery of simply moving into *another* state of near-total isolation. None of you ever *had* to invite me to participate in concerts or live talks, or to help me with recording sessions, audio mastering, and publicity for my books. Likewise, none of you ever had to help out in the frequently arising states of financial and health crisis here - driving me to the hospital, finding me some ‘odd jobs’ when absolutely nothing was available elsewhere, lending me equipment and advice, storing my belongings when I thought living our of a car would become a reality, and on and on and on. If I haven’t done so before, I offer here my sincere and heartfelt thanks for personal sacrifices you made to keep me alive, or simply to make me laugh when humor and high spirits were being vacuumed out of me.

Just in time for this momentous occasion, I am now putting the final touches on the first draft of a new, non-conceptual music album to be titled “HyperArt Thomasson,” a goofy play on my own name and a direct reference to the “art of uselessness” implied by that title. I can say with some confidence that this is the capstone of a 20-year+ journey into the wilderness of “abstract electronic music,” and in fact, like most of my recordings, the raw material going into the final compositions stretches back to the very beginning of my un-career. I’ve come to realize that I am a “colonial being” - to use the terminology of chaos mage Peter Carroll - in the sense that a multitude of personalities inhabit me and none will, I think, ever exert complete control.

This, I think, is reflected better than ever in the current batch of compositions, which collage together brutalist / concrete material with moments of delicate beauty and passages of ineffable, ‘automatic’ weirdness whose exact method of creation I can’t even remember. As such this new record will be a celebration of the “indefinite” personality that I project, rather than the expression of guilt or shame that I should be feeling for failing to have a single unified purpose in my life. I hope the final results will bring some solace to other individuals who are regularly compelled to "correct" this natural, organic state of ambiguous identity. If I accomplish only that with my art, it will have been worth it.

When I say “capstone” above, I am being serious here. I feel this may be the last solo recording that I do in this style (group projects like the Felix Feneon Memorial Choir are still on the docket), barring a sudden surge of interest in my activity. I’ll continue to privately enjoy this kind of thing and to respond to invitations from friends and colleagues, but this is probably all that the world needs to hear of my acousmatic / psycho-ambient / outsider electronics until it explicitly cries out for more. The need to make lifestyle changes which will allow me to do more than just live hand-to-mouth is becoming more glaringly evident - people keep telling me that I’m somehow “above this,” and I realize that I do need to make drastic re-calibrations in order to prove them right.

With all the above in mind - I don’t want to cut any corners with this potentially final audio release from the TBWB that people know. Despite the lack of need for it, I do want this to be released on a professional, physical playback medium, and to be properly mastered. While I can dip into my limited funds to do this, getting outside contributions will be significantly helpful as always. To that end - I have a good deal of past material up on Bandcamp now, much of which is available on a “pay-what-you-want” basis. Purchases of such will go directly to the “Hyperart” fund. Otherwise I am happy to accept donations from kind patrons, and am happy to hear from you what exactly you’d like in return from your contribution (be it acknowledgement of your patronage on the album artwork, free copies, or something much more personalized). Of course, let me know if you want to hear work in progress: some private Soundcloud links exist which I’m happy to share.

There’s more to report, but for now - thank you again to everyone in Austin who has propelled me forward on my creative journey. Whatever else may happen in this comically bizarre life that I lead, you won’t be forgotten.

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James Eck Rippie
James Eck Rippie
May 25, 2021

everyone in Austin found you as a gift from the beginning. So the feeling is mutual my friend.

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