Blum waxes acousmatic at SF MOMA’s Art of Noise

Devon Turnbull’s “HiFi Listening Room”

Devon Turnbull has designed a stereo setup for SF MOMA’s current exhibit titled The Art of Noise. I’ve been invited to take control of the “HiFi Listening Room” for the entire day on August 2, 2024. I will use the day to play some of the progressive rock, acousmatic, musique concrète, and electronic music that I have loved and been influenced by in my music-making lifetime. I hope to see you at the Museum on Friday, August 2nd!

The HiFi Listening Room (see photo) is only one of many aspects of this multidimensional, multimedia exhibit that runs from May 4 through August 18, 2024 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. There is also a room-sized exhibit of album and poster artwork from days gone by, another room filled with over 100 historic objects for the playback of recorded and live music, and the unique designs of the company, “teenage engineering”, that infuses the exhibit and the accompanying furnishings.

Different sound artists, musicians, and others were invited to choose and play recordings that they, and hopefully those who are present, will enjoy hearing over the high-fidelity stereo playback system, which is equipped with two turntables, a Revox A88 reel-to-reel tape recorder, a CD player, and a wireless connection enabling streamed audio to reach to the digital-to-analog converters on the system.

For details and tickets to exhibit, including the HiFi Listening Room and the daily schedule of people DJ’ing there, check out The Art of Noise.

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Prelinger Library’s Sonic Sundays Continue

My sonic environments at the Prelinger Library are now running into their second year. On Sundays at the Library, my “instrullation” — part installation part musical instrument — continues to infuse books and other texts with a sonic sensibility, giving visitors a unique library experience.

Every Sunday I host at the Library from 1:30 to 4 PM. During those hours I improvise with and on a 12-channel, spatially distributed, “musique concrète” instrument that I set up for Library in January 2022. It consists of around 600, mostly fleeting, sound recordings that are specifically tuned to this Library’s stacks, its contents, and its meaning as a symbol of a house of knowledge.

This is one brief walk-through in the Prelinger Library on S(•)unday, April 28, 2024

audio installation and video: T. Blum

This is another brief walk through the Prelinger Library on S(•)unday, April 28, 2024

audio installation and video: T. Blum

And here’s a sample of the instrullation at the Prelinger Library on S(•)unday, April 21, 2024

audio installation and video: T. Blum

I am pleased to be a continuing Artist In Residence at the Library, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary at its present location in San Francisco, opening in 2004.

Prelinger Library
301 8th Street (at Folsom St.)
Suite 215
San Francisco, CA 94103

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“House Music” album released by Thom Blum

My latest release House Music was put up on Bandcamp in early March 2024. It contains some recent short soundworks I mixed in late 2023 and early 2024. Several of the pieces take advantage of recordings of, what I think of as, signature sounds in and around my 110+ year-old home. Some of these tracks use sounds in the raw, others are definitely processed. All but one of the pieces is well under 5 minutes. 

One of the featured sounds is my steam-heat radiator that eventually creates an impressive noise-drone; one that consists of loud but very fine-grained inner details that constantly change.

Come for the radiator, stay for the floors.

Review of House Music by Stephen Smoliar

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West Oakland Sound Series presents…

Matt Ingalls’s weekly sfSound concert series will present a Microfestival of Surround Sound Diffusion on June 9, 2024, featuring the members of the San Francisco Tape Music Collective. We will be controlling the spatial diffusion of pieces — works by members of the Collective as well as other composers — over 16 Meyer Sound speakers that will surround the audience.

The concert is June 9 at 7:00 PM
Dresher Ensemble Studio
2201 Poplar Street
Oakland, CA 94607

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S((•))undays at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco

Sound environments, sonifications, audio animations, and live improvised soundscapes course through the stacks of the Prelinger Library for visitors on (most) Sundays in 2023 from 1:30 to 4:00 PM.

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“Micro festival” of Fixed Media Works

This Sunday, April 30, 2023, The San Francisco Tape Music Collective presents a “micro-festival” of fixed media works projected live over a multichannel sound system. This is one in a running series of concerts at Mosswood Chapel in Oakland, California, run by sfSound’s founder and director Matt Ingalls.

The program for this concert will be as follows:

STEVE REICH – It’s Gonna Rain (1965)
MAGGI PAYNE – Through Space and Time (2022)
PAULINE OLIVEROS – Bye Bye Butterfly (1965)
KRISTIN MILTNER – Meditation on a Rainy Afternoon in January (2023)
MATT INGALLS – poem number two (2023)
CLIFF CARUTHERS – Chorale for Ola and Tomek (2016)
THOM BLUM – Reset (tabula rasa) (2018)

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Interview on KPFA’s “Let’s Talk Music”

On April 16, 2023 I was interviewed by D-Minor for his Sunday night show “Let’s Talk Music” on KPFA. The program is archived (for now) and can be heard on demand.

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Kary Hess, an author for, published an insightful review of the very unique Prelinger Library in San Francisco. The first part of the article explores the Library’s mission and organization, as explained by cofounder Megan Prelinger. The second part of the article delves into the “permanent” sound installation/instrument that I created for, and installed in, the Library last year. It continues evolving and can be experienced on any Sunday, from 1:30 to 4:00 PM. (See the Library’s home page. It will post exceptions.)

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It’s Back — San Francisco Tape Music Festival 2023

Nagra with loop

After a very unwelcomed two year absence, due to COVID-19, the San Francisco Tape Music Festival is returning, January 13, 14, and 15 2023 to the Victoria Theater in the Mission district. The sfSound organization and the San Francisco Tape Music Collective (of which I am a member) will present four distinct curated concerts over the three-night Festival. 

As always there will be the featured headliners, from Robert Fripp to Ennio Morricone, as well many other international and local composers. And, as always the pieces will be dynamically diffused, live, through a pristine web of 24 loudspeakers. Thank you, CCRMA.

On the “late” (9:30 PM) Saturday concert, I’ll be playing my newest set of three short pieces. I’m looking forward to projecting them and shaping the space in real time, controlling the mixer that’s set up in the theater’s sweet spot. 

Here are all the details. Go to Eventbrite for advance ticket purchases for both individual concerts (using a pull-down menu to select the date) and the festival pass.  

Here’s a preview published in December in Stephen Smoliar’s The Rehearsal Studio

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November 29 – Guest speaker at UCSB-CREATE seminar series

On November 29, 2022, at the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology of the University of California, Santa Barbara, I presented a 45-minute talk about my approach to music-making. This was an event in the CREATE seminar series, hosted by Curtis Roads, Professor and Chair of Media Arts and Technology. Below is the abstract for the talk.

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