Sound Sundays in July at the Prelinger Library

Continuing to stock and mine the sound-stacks on Sundays in July, when printed matter in the stacks of the Prelinger Library mingles and merges with its sound counterpart.

Come in, browse the unique collections a while, and experience the Library in a different way replete with vocalizations and sonifications.

Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 PM
July 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31
Prelinger Library
301 8th Street (corner of Folsom Street)
Suite 215
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-8166

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

For more information about the sound installation, You Are Here You Are You Here, and brief video walkthroughs recorded in binaural sound, check this out.

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Sundays in May — Sound Installments in Prelinger Library

On Sundays in May Prelinger Library visitors will find themselves urged into the stacks by an unusual sound environment that sometimes pipes up. A couple hours a week I power up, softly play, and occasionally improvise on a twelve channel spatially distributed sound system that I’ve created for the Library.

I hope you’ll stop by, browse the stacks a while and enjoy a unique almost synesthetic blend of printed and sonic matter. Come and check it out during any of these times:

Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 PM
May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Prelinger Library
301 8th Street (corner of Folsom)
Suite #215
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-8166

For more information and brief video walkthroughs of the sound installation, click me now.

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A “sonified library” in San Francisco

A couple hours a week I power up, play, and occasionally improvise with the sound installation that I’ve created here in San Francisco for Prelinger Library. These hours occur within the Library’s public hours, making it possible for visitors to browse the stacks with the unusual added dimension of sound — a parallel, library-like environment whose stacks contain sounds rather than books.

For the most part the sounds are fleeting and sporadic, sparse and quiet, and they are meant to enhance your browsing and exploratory experience in the Library; to enhance not dominate. Some of sound categories reflect specific topics in the Library, while other sounds are not representative at all. There are also distinct motifs that occur from time to time, like the sounds of doors opening and footsteps and nature. And there are occasionally longer fragments of composed musical sounds (“undulating beds”) that I scooped up from my sources or created specifically for this installation.

Prelinger Library Radio Walkthrough by Thom Blum

Friends from afar asked me to try and capture the experience of being in the Library while the sounds are running. I explained it’s a little difficult because of the spatial distribution and movement of the sounds. Depending on your location the sounds may appear to be mostly up close and coming from your right, or perhaps they’re more distant and behind you. But, armed (or “eared”) with binaural mics (SoundProfessionals Inc.) and my video camera (an iPhone), I started recording walkthroughs of the stacks while the installation was sounding. I would often go towards and into sections of the library where distinct sounds were calling out; topical sounds, for example of radio or protests. Sure enough I was lead to the expected subjects in the stacks.

Prelinger Library Nature Walkthrough (April 2022) by Thom Blum

In this way I have so far edited and stitched together three 1-minute “trailers” with binaural soundtracks (best heard with head/ear phones). My goal being to offer a rough approximation of the experience you could have while roaming the stacks at Prelinger Library at just the right time.

Prelinger Library Civil Liberties Walkthrough (April 2022) by Thom Blum

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Sound installation installments — Prelinger Library

For the next four Wednesdays, Prelinger Library visitors who are there any time between 4:00 and 6:30 PM will be treated to an “audio animation” of the stacks. I’ll be nudging the installation (instrument) through its latest paces and pirouettes. The Library is a gem within San Francisco so please do drop by.

Wednesdays from 4:00 to 7:00 PM
March 9, 16, 23, 30

?Prelinger Library
301 8th Street (corner of Folsom)
Suite #215
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-8166

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Openings – an audio animation of and at Prelinger Library, San Francisco

Prelinger Library and I will be co-hosting two initial launches of my new sound-art installation (see below for a description). Please drop by during one or both of these openings — They’ll be different — and spend some time floating and “wondering” through the Library’s unique stacks, as they’re reshaped and activated by a world of low-density, library-quiet sound.

7 to 9:30 PM, Wednesday January 26, 2022
4 to 7:30 PM, Saturday January 29, 2022
Masks are required. Attendees must show proof of full vaccination.

Prelinger Library
301 8th Street (at Folsom), Suite #215
San Francisco 94103
(415) 252-8166

[You Are [Here] You [Are] You Here], by composer Thom Blum, animates Prelinger Library through the use of sounds; something you don’t generally expect or want in your typical library. But Prelinger Library is in no way typical. You notice that as soon as you enter the space and peruse the stacks.

The sounds in the installation are infrequent and for the most part quiet and fleeting. While barely audible they inconspicuously call your attention to specific ephemera, knowledge, and artifacts that occupy areas of the Library’s stacks, nooks and crannies. At times it becomes a sonic treasure hunt.

The real goal of the sound installation is to pique the visitor’s curiosity and to enhance or transform the visitor’s experience of The Library, pulling one into and around the stacks in ways that wouldn’t normally happen were it not for the invisible sonic guides. It serves to give voice to, transform, and animate the Library and the gems it contains.

thom at

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Featured artist on The Watt From Pedro Show

Thom Blum, 2020 pandemic doo

Hear Mike Watt’s interview of me on his eclectic, boisterous, and fun podcast. (Recorded June 21, 2021.) Now in the show’s 20th year! Listen here:

Mike Watt in studio

The Watt From Pedro Show is available from your favorite slinger of podcasts and also here:

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Brutal Sound Effects Pestival #91

Once again~~~~~~~~~it’s~~~~~~~~~~~efficient?~~~~

Brutal Sound Effects Pestival #91
6pm PST!!!!


Fumio Kosakai (Incapacitants, CCCC)

Dominic Cramp
Anti Ear (New Orleans)
Bill T Miller Orgy of Noise Zonkulator (Boston)
Matt Robideux
Thom Blum
Instinct Control (Chicago)
Mas Coad (South of Los Banos)
Gargoyle Madrigal

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New (and final) addition to the “Collections” series

fr site 20 © 2016 Tuyen Q. Nguyen |

Available now, the new and final album in my Collections series presented on sfSoundLabel (Bandcamp). This album contains five selected early works that I composed from 1972 to 2000. The album’s title is Foundations because these were the keystones to my compositional focus of the two decades that would follow. And undoubtably the same early tiles remain in place for the compositions and improvisations I’m making today. (A release of new works is planned for March 2021.)

Of the five pieces on the album three are premiere recordings never before released. Two of those premieres happen to be the oldest pieces, as well as the only instrumental works — Rotochrosite (1972), for small ensemble, and Phthong (1978), for 10 vocalists and percussion.

Rotochrosite (1972, 7:00)
Phthong (1978, 11:25)
Three Studies for Pedal Steel (1995, 9:05)
To My Son Parker, Asleep in the Next Room (1996, 9:35)
Four Poems Somewhat (2000, 13:45)

I hope you’ll check out the album, as well as the three other albums in my Collections series. And while you’re there please explore the other albums on sfSoundLabel, as well as the other links you’ll find in the right-hand margin of my Bandcamp page.

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Passages – the next release of Collections: Music by Thom Blum

I’ve just released the next album in my series, Collections, presented on sfSoundLabel. It’s called Passages and includes my audio postcards and other place-specific pieces composed over the years. Each track is a sound map of a land I’ve had the good fortune to visit. The streamable album includes program notes for each of the five works.

I give Passages to you now with a special wish that it may help feed your gnawing wanderlust. You know… the one that’s undernourished these days.

Some help is here. All aboard. Journeys await! feverish dream 19 ©2016 Tuyen Q. Nguyen |


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New album series released on sfSoundLabel — Collections: Music by Thom Blum

I’m releasing a series of albums on Bandcamp’s sfSoundLabel. Each album is a collection of thematically like-minded musical works hand-picked from those I’ve produced over recent and past many years.

Abstractions 1
artwork: “baooooanh” © 2016 Tuyen Q. Nguyen |

Abstractions 2
artwork: “feverish dream 320” © 2020 Tuyen Q. Nguyen |

This is the first comprehensive gathering of my compositions into thematic and chronological releases. Once complete the series will include the following albums:

Passages: audio postcards, journals,
and travelogues (1995 – 2015)
Abstractions 1 (1996 – 2008)
Abstractions 2 (2012 – 2018)
Abstractions 3 (2018 – 2020)
Fantasias & Improvisations (2016 – 2020)

I’ll be releasing another album in the Collections about once a month. And please be on the lookout for other new releases on sfSoundLabel. My hunch is that there are more new releases percolating there.

I hope you enjoy this music and that it takes you to new places.

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