The Author at the Tender Age of 17
It passed without notice. While looking for a way to archive past posts, and make them more easily accessible for readers (rather than scrolling and scrolling and scrolling), I realized that The Hum Blog had turned a year old. On January 26th, 2016, I dove into these waters. At that time I had only recently moved to Mexico City. A means to focus on writing – in need of a break, after 15 years spent working at a manic pace in the art world (between London and New York). What began as a brief sabbatical, before heading back to Europe, has stretched toward the indefinite. Prior to landing in Mexico, I had been publishing the original incarnation of the Hum for roughly a year – steeling moments, to little fanfare, and for a tiny readership – one I was very happy with, and which seemed natural for my subjects. I had begun out of a sense of necessity – feeling that so much of the music which I loved, and had contributed so immensely to my own life, was being ignored, or when addressed, not done justice by the larger context of music journalism. I wanted to offer readers (people like myself) more, and most importantly, to give back to art form and community which had given me so much. In some cases I wanted to raise the bar, in others I simply felt like these sounds deserved to be addressed from more points of view. The Hum started with the hopes of it expanding it into a full fledged magazine with multiple contributors (something I hope to return to this year). I quickly realized that I was without the means. Though a member of the avant-garde music community for my entire adult life, my participation has largely been as a fan and record collector. Without money, these were hardly the credentials to get an ambitious project off the ground. I also came to understand that certain constraints within the original site, had barred me from sharing as much as I might have liked. The blog was conceived through simple desire to amend this – to pass along materials – videos, sound files, photographs, scores and other documents, which I had uncovered in my quest to learn more – an adjunct to my larger body of writing.
I’m not sure why, but shortly after launching the blog, it began to gather a significant (at least by my standards and expectations) amount of traffic. Since beginning, it has received an astounding number of hits. This world of sound – our community, is small. The numbers imply that, at one time or another, in all probability, I’ve managed to reach most of its far flung corners. This is something I never imagined possible. The attention it gained, fortified by a countless number of incredibly generous emails from readers, pushed me to dedicate more time and energy. I soon let the original site gather dust, giving the blog everything I had. Over the course of the last year I have made 190 posts (just over half what I hoped) and published in excess of 170,000 words (for those of you who have manged to read everything, that’s the rough equivalent of a 700 page book). In the attempt to give more, in light of this, I must also recognized that I have asked a great deal of my readers. There was a lot to get through. I thank each of you for rising to the challenge. As I plodded along, I pushed myself as a writer, learned a more than I could have imagined, came to understand what I was attempting better, and subsequently expanded my scope – all things I hope to continue, as I transition into the blog’s second year.
Because of its inherent character, as I have attempted to champion the voices of others, I must also acknowledge how much of this site has been dominated by my own – my tastes, my politics, my tendency to ramble on. Within that singularity, it is easy to lose sight of one of this blog’s primary hopes – to recognize, support, and bring awareness to the community that surrounds the many musics which are neglected my mainstream interest. My efforts are dedicated as much to the art form, as those who love it and grow around it – each and every one of us. It is a space to gather our history, understand our contemporary incarnations, and a lens which hopes to reveal our future potential. What I haven’t acknowledged enough, is how much the support of this community, which is to say my readers, has meant to me – how much light and hope it has brought into my life. The last year has been among my most important. It is the result of you.
When you embrace the music we do – the neglected, ambitious, and under-recognized, when you gather around it, forming friendships within it, it’s easy to assume you are a member of a tiny family – one who’s voice has little potential to travel or effect change. The idea of the outsider, of myself as such a thing – a member of an ignored counterculture, was one which I embraced since I had immersed myself in Punk during late adolescence. I saw those of us who existed and labored in these worlds, as being hidden in the shadows – talking among ourselves. As to be expected in such cases, it is incredibly difficult to capture an image of the whole – of how many of us there actually are. Separated by geography and culture, we stretch across the globe. Despite distances, the humble scale of our respective gatherings, and difficulty in seeing or finding each other, within music we share a common language. If the last year has taught me anything, it is the importance of this, and that we are many. Our numbers far exceed estimates. With striking similarity, we share beliefs, hopes, ideas, and experiences in life. During that time, I have received regular correspondence from every continent on the planet and most of their countries. I have forged countless new friendships, and with them a greater sense for our collective whole. Some are simple fans like myself. Some are artists and labels that have long held a treasured place in my heart. As each email appeared, they fortified me and gave me faith, offering an ever growing sense of how lucky I was to be part of such a remarkable, creatively ambitious, collective, and democratic world of ideas.
As the first year of The Hum Blog has drawn to a close – as the second begins, I simply wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for all of the support. Thank you for all the kind words. Thank you for showing me the way, for giving me hope and faith. Thank you for being patient and reading my words, and thank you to all the incredible artists and labels who have brought so many incredible sounds to my ears. If I have managed to give even a fraction of what I have received, I have done my job well. Together you have shown me that we are many, we are strong, and we have the potential to change the world.