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Everything posted by Mystified

  1. "Dronal Tap"-- The Documentary: A short history of live looping performance in the MidWest USA:


  2. This is a part of a live performance by Thomas Park, in his live looping style. The piece is "Amalgamated Materials". It was created using one of Thomas' live mixing consoles.



  3. The REAL, gritty, no-held-punches story of mystified's music career:




    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:




    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:



    1. Jack Hertz
    2. Mystified


      Thanks, Jack! I am trying to get more and more gigs like this.

    3. Jack Hertz
  6. Artists-- I have offered many of my works to the public domain-- here is a call for you to do the same-- if you believe in free culture: https://ia601504.us.archive.org/27/items/ThomasParkBenchmarkHub/23_Various_Artworks_In_The_Public_Domain.pdf

  7. 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.


  8. I have started visiting a site called "Electronic Cottage". It's Hal McGee's brainchild-- a resurrection of a project he began back in the '80's, which was dedicated to DIY and hometaper culture.
    I was immediately overwhelmed by what was too much to take in at once. A lot of parallels could be drawn between this scene and my early days as mystified.
    A main parallel involves what I would call a "distancing of the audience".
    Because a lot of home recording happens essentially without an audience (and involves just the artist(s)), it happens without restraint-- and without critique.
    As a result, it is often glorious, free, and, well- somewhat trashy and disposable. Fun stuff that parodies itself endlessly, recursively.
    I think again about where I am today in regards to archiving my work, and the sheer abundance of material from earlier eras that is not altogether different.
    A formidable challenge-- perhaps even a quixotic task-- to make as complete a record as possible?
    1. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      There's an interview with me about Poison Plant Music, my 1980s label, in one of those issues. I wish someone would digitize all of them so I can read it. I don't have the issue anymore.

      There's are lot of parallels between the 80s home-taper movement and the more recent Creative Commons movement. What has been collectively coined as "Bedroom Artists", have a much more diverse view of the music landscape because they don't have to consider if the work will appease the label, radio, and audience. IMO, this is the difference between entertainment and art. 

    2. Mystified


      Excellent thoughts. Thanks.

  9. Artists-- make my (mainly) retired status into a time to celebrate-- why not use some of my raw material or other resources? Here's how:



    Artists-- it’s sad to consider-- but if you die, or, rather, when you die-- how will you be remembered? Who will take care of your artistic creations? How will they be presented?

    I have created a free pdf with some thoughts on this matter:


    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      IF it is all for personal growth, do we need to archive it? More and more I am feeling like there's no reason to publish anymore. Music has become more like cooking, today. We can talk about techniques and flavors, but its for dinner. Not for selling. 

    3. Mystified


      One great thing about this topic is-- because it's up to is, it really IS our choice. Reflexively. If we choose not to publish, then we don't have to go through that process, but there is no access or public record. If we want to, we do-- and there it is.

      I really wouldn't want to pressure artists who don't want to share or archive their work to do so-- only to emphasize that that might be their decision and their labor.

    4. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      That's a very important point. Most commercial artists become trapped by their success. The audience always wants more of the same. They will not follow the artist down the rabbit hole. This kind of contention has ruined a lot of artists music for me, especially in the Ambient genre. If an artist is not reaching, I get bored with their work.

      I used to wonder about what legacy I would leave. But Is gave up on the idea because it felt like a distraction from making music. 


    This is a remix by Thomas Park of Rolling Calf Sinfonette's classic Webbed Hand Records release, "Don't Mind If I Do". The original release was full of warm, friendly-sounding plunderphonics. The remix release takes the original sounds and brings them up to date, into a more industrial, dystopian present:


  12. In 2017, Spotted Peccary Music released an electro-acoustic work by mystified called “Morning City”. Morning City was about the use of urban field recordings, together with select instrumental sounds, to explore “The City” in a mythic sense.

    For a limited time, “Morning City” is now free (or “name your price”) at Bandcamp.com: https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/album/morning-city

    More people are living in urban centers every year. Experiences like standing on a fire escape or driving near a truck on the expressway are common for many people.

    “Morning City” is different than many ambient albums, in that it contains a lot of “sound”. This is sound, rather than music. Yet, the sounds in the work are very musical. They are, for the most part, actual recordings of mystified’s home city, which he collected during a pivotal time in his life and career, during the early ‘oughts.

    The effect of listening to the work seems somewhat chaotic, at first, but gradually a method appears behind the compositions. The use of recordings, especially the various metallic, concrete and other sound textures has an pronounced “three-dimensional” effect-- the music seems to project towards the listener-- who finds themselves inside the city, sonically.

    “Morning City” has its romantic attributes, but mystified feels it more closely resembles a musical realism. It connotes places a person might actually experience. It lifts up that which really is, and in doing so, provides a redemptive listening experience for those who live in cities and for those who love them.

    Now that the release is free, mystified urges music fans to stop by Spotted Peccary’s Bandcamp page and pick up a copy. There’s no time like the present!

  13. Folks,
    There is a LOT of free material here, available for use. All is free, some is public domain.
    Please enjoy, and spread the word:
  14. I can think of no more important subject than Climate Change. In these contentious times, when politics and other things divide us, we should all be able to believe in a common enemy-- a common goal.
    The rapid warming of this planet is unnatural, and the scientific community recognizes it. This current administration does not.
    You can pretend a clear and steady trend isn't happening, but you can feel it in your skin, your bones, and your memory. You remember Winters with lots of snow-- that lasted 3 months.
    Winter months without freakishly warm, 80-degree days.
    A North Pole that didn't climb above 32 degrees in the Winter.
    An inconvenient truth? Yes-- but one we can (and must) deal with.
    The answer is simple-- use currently known and accepted technologies, as many countries have, particularly in Europe, and switch the U.S. power grid over to renewable energy.
    Not only do we get our planet, and the future of it, back.
    We also step up with the rest of the planet-- and enjoy the many benefits of solar and wind energy.
    I have created a soundscape series, to which I will be adding more pieces, with the notion of persuading people to accept and consider climate change as real, and to acknowledge the known remedies and to work towards them-- I call this "The Emissions Series".
    I hope that you will join me in contemplation of this serious subject, at a very pivotal time. Listen, believe, and share.
    We can all work together on this one:
  15. Fame: Remember My Name

    An Essay By Thomas Park

    So, you want to be famous?

    I shared that dream. For nearly two decades I composed literally thousands of pieces of music in an effort to become a famous artist. I tried using new ideas. I tried top notch production techniques.

    I never really sacrificed my muse to the notion, but I did appear on several monied releases, as well as a set of compilations and other projects that were large and involved lots of press.

    In 2017, I abandoned my main music projects, and in 2018, I essentially retired from music. I did this having achieved some notoriety in certain circles, but without having become famous from music.

    My desire to be well-known gradually subsided over the years. I began focusing on the art itself. I tried hard to find and maintain my own style, my own voice. When I retired, I felt satisfied, in spite of my lack of success-- I felt that I had achieved great things in the aesthetics department, and that the efforts were worth the time and energy spent.

    In my opinion, fame-- particularly fame in music-- is largely fictitious. The rock and roll lifestyle is something that was invented. Very few people ever could or would live that lifestyle. Those who do would come face to face with risks such as chemical dependency, exhaustion, and exposure to a possibly dangerous public.

    The dream of rock and roll seems to suggest that one should master a musical instrument, and leave home at a young age. The artist is to meet a number of people involved with music-- other artists, an agent, and so forth. A constant process of recording and touring is to begin, and great amounts of addictive substances and sex are to be had.


    This is 2018, not 1950, and I trust that people realize that living for pleasure has its downsides. There was never a high without a low, that is just human nature. It’s how the mind and body work. And sure, sex with groupies sounds fun. How about S.T.D.s, some perhaps being deadly? The difficulty of committing to a spouse? The hardships of raising children while on tour? Not to mention the exhaustion that could come from always being on the road making music.


    I recently watched a recording of Elvis Presley singing “Suspicious Minds”, during one of his later tours. When he hit the high note, he seemed to be appealing to us (and perhaps to his wife Priscilla), to trust him, to believe in him. He was an honest man, and did not want to go on living in a shadow of suspicion.


    The effect of that piece was somehow lost knowing Elvis’ true lifestyle. In fact, meditating on the life and death of “The King” provides an excellent study for why a person would never, really ever want to be famous.


    As for myself, I remain “Mystified”-- a successful netlabel artist. I am known by some, largely not by others. As a result, I can easily walk out of the front door of my modest, affordable home, and not get mobbed by a crowd of people holding cameras or shouting my name.


    I can tweet without causing ridiculous controversies.


    Best yet, I can work a steady, fulfilling career that helps people, and come home to my wife and our two cats, where I can peacefully drift off into sleep.


    You ask about fame? You can have it. I will take security and fulfillment anytime.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Mystified


      Better tv, anyway, for sure.

    3. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      Elvis had to hide from the public. So he became a night owl. He would pay stores and movie theaters to open after hours, just for him.

    4. Mystified


      How awful that would be. I am convinced he would have been happier without the fame.

  16. I have just published 2 important documents to archive.org.
    The first contains a list of resources I have made available, in various media, with a public domain license. Public domain means the material is available for use, without restriction:
    The second contains a list of many scores of sample sets, available for free for listening or for use in compostions:
  17. "Model 201", Thomas' cassette sounds project, is now complete with "The Case":



  18. This mini-documentary describes my troubled relationship, both with H.P. Lovecraft's fiction, and with related projects on the dark ambient music label "Cryo Chamber".



  19. Please feel free to visit, and bookmark this hub for Thomas Park's various artistic activities:


  20. Hear a reviewer's increasing frustration as Mystified continues to release similar music on different albums and labels throughout the 2000-'oughts. In this video, Thomas reads reviews of his music as posted in Vital Weekly, followed by comments on the reviews by Thomas himself.



  21. In this comic exploration of a reviewer's mounting frustration with an musician's redundancy, Mystified Reviews Vital Weekly Reviews Mystified:


  22. For some reason, I keep feeling myself pulled back again and again to a certain time in my life. This was the years 2000-2012, when I lived alone in a low rent apartment in the South Side of Saint Louis.

    Life asks us to pay attention to our loved ones, to our jobs, and to our obligations. This was a period of time when I had few obligations, and no spouse. 

    It really was just me, all day, every day, in this shabby place.

    Chippewa And Brannon was where mystified was born.

    Part of mystified's development involved the harvesting of field recordings. My collaborator Chris McDill at one point suggested that I stop using purchased sounds in my pieces, and start harvesting my own.

    As a result, I was able to capture the atmosphere and vibe of my little apartment in the city.

    I tried to convey this atmosphere in many ways. I would use the field recordings as samples, mixing them together. Sometimes there were conscious compositions. Other times, sounds were mixed fractally in a freeware program.

    Last night, I dug into my archival drive and posted all of the phonographic recordings I had from that period-- all of them that had not been digitally effected. I released them on archive.org.

    Having posted them, I went back to listen. I must admit, these field recordings are indeed the best record of the years 2000-2012 for me. They most accurately capture the vibe of living in poverty in the city. My compositions stretch, mold and exaggerate. The recordings do not.

    This was living low and these field recordings capture it exactly.


    1. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      "The Art Life" is what you just described. I just watched this doc on David Lynch. Its really worth seeing if you can get get a copy.


    2. Mystified


      Thank you, Jack! Small world-- my wife recently had a big Lynch kick (we both watched the Return together), and she shared this documentary with me. Very cool.

    3. Jack Hertz

      Jack Hertz

      I was astonished to see he's still an avid painter, and it really impresses me he's not sharing it with the world. He's a real hands-on kind of guy. Not someone with assistants doing things, like we often see with other well known artists. 

  23. A Single Hub For All Of Thomas Park's Media: "Benchmark: Hub": https://archive.org/details/ThomasParkBenchmarkHub

  24. Any djs or broadcasters out there interesting in audio copies of my project documentaries? If so, here they are: