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  • Writer's pictureThomas

TBWB back online / new and ongoing audio projects

First (and most obvious) things first: the TBWB website is back in business, and with it this section for regular updates on my activity.


That activity - at least the “creative” portion of it - has taken a couple of significant hits recently. Serious health crises involving my immediate family have had to take precedence over sonic art, writing, and any other cudgel that I occasionally take up for the purpose of beating enlightenment into unsuspecting audiences. I’ve been trying to make life as bearable as I can here for someone I feel is, barring what you might call a “miracle,” not going to live much longer, and as I write this I haven’t even laid hands on musical equipment for months.


My current home state of Texas, meanwhile, has just limped back to life from a catastrophic winter onslaught that wrecked the local power grid. I was personally without heat, communications and running water for a week or so, considering myself lucky to have some food to stretch out over this time period and a surplus of snow to “convert” into useful water.


Nevertheless, there are some ideas brewing here that may manifest in reality before too long.


My Anechoic Chamber podcast is still ongoing despite the severe drought of new episodes (I do nevertheless recommend that you listen to the most recent offering with Ishigami Kazuya here). I’m perpetually “in talks with” 4-5 potential upcoming guests, but we’ve been having issues deciding on dates to conduct interviews. So for anyone chomping at the bit to hear new material here, please be patient, it will happen in due time. OR...invite yourself to the party! I'm always interested to hear from intriguing thinkers and creators I might have not even known about.


I’m re-visiting the material I recorded last year for a purely “non-conceptual” album (yes, one of “just” immersive sound with no dominant theme being imposed on listeners) provisionally title Oneiric Nihilism. Given what I said at the outset here, my current emotional state is influencing a fairly intense overhaul of what has been recorded so far, though ultimately I can tell you this will be most carefully considered and fully “breathing” long-form sound piece that I’ve set my mind to. Again, no narrative to follow here other than ones of the listeners’ own creation, and no expectations other than that listeners will in fact act as “secondary composers” using the bewildering array of sounds on hand to create that which has not existed before (an idea Barbara Ellison and I covered in detail in our book). As I may have mentioned at some point along the way, this will be a digital release packaged together with wearable merchandise.


I’m also inaugurating an additional sound project that will make use of both my story-telling voice and compositional abilities. I am going to be creating a series of “sonic portraits” of individuals who would like to be memorialized with such a thing. Sounds simple, but there are some plot twists: given that the act of creating portraiture is already an act of idealizing the subject or presenting only those qualities the subject wants to present, I’m encouraging participants in this project to send me biographical information about themselves which may be partially or even completely false. From this, I’ll craft a unique sound piece meant to represent the portrait subject, as well as creating another audio track in which I recite the biographical information I’ve been given. This will be a “variable format” project - some will appear as Bandcamp releases, some as physical objects etc., depending on the commitment level and funds of the parties involved. At some point, when enough of these have been accumulated, I intend to put together a full book of the bios that have been contributed.


Clever readers might already be asking whether or not I will just fabricate some of the "participants" in this project from whole cloth, painting portraits of obviously fictional entities. While I won’t answer that definitively, let’s just say that this wouldn’t be out of bounds for a project which explores how art is never fully commensurate with truth. All of us who engage in art are liars to some degree or another, and I for one am tired of “authenticity” being the central concern for so much modern artwork. Instead of chasing after this socially divisive chimera, there is more to be learned from exploring those things we choose to lie about and understanding what general truths those specific lies inadvertently reveal.


Anyone interested in having their “portrait” done should certainly contact me to learn more about how we can collaborate.

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