“Thank You For Your Interest”: The Thomas Bey William Bailey Commissioned Audio Project
Since I began to record my own music in the mid-1990s, one thing became increasingly clear with time: I was not concerned with attracting a large audience so much as I was interested in attracting an audience that would add extra meaning and ‘life’ to my work through their own perception of it. In other words, the number of listeners I won over was fairly unimportant. Instead, success was to be judged by my ability to inspire further creative action among those people that I did manage to reach. I have thought about this a lot in the years since my last ‘professionally duplicated’ compact disc was released. Since that time, I’ve experimented with less costly and less wasteful options for releasing music, but have ultimately decided that - even with the increasing popularity and acceptance of ‘amateur’ formats like tape and CD-R - an altogether different route needs to be taken for the foreseeable future, focusing on making audio art that has been preceded by a real, unequivocal demand for its existence.
So I’ve decided to undertake a bold new initiative, in which most of my new audio works will be commissioned by individuals who not only want to hear what I am capable of sonically, but who also want to take an active part in the compositional process. In other words, I am inviting YOU to help craft my next works, and to provide me with the inspiration and motivation to step outside of my familiar boundaries. There’s no better cure for ‘noise’ orthodoxy or paint-by-numbers ‘serious music’ than forcing oneself into an unfamiliar set of circumstances, or playing by hitherto unknown rules. So this initiative is being done partly in order to lift myself out of creative stagnancy and partly to, again, forge lasting personal bonds with those who want a much less mediated form of communication. In my life these two processes are very closely related, so this is a fairly obvious, and belated, step for me to take.
above: 2016 commissioned piece "Emptiness Is The Fasting Of The Mind" (more details on gallery page)
So far, the entries in this series have been CDs packaged in hand-designed / decorated wooden boxes. However, this is not the only means of packaging available, and this too is an area where you can request for me to use certain materials and visual motifs to best match the audio contents of your project.
I've decided on a simple pricing scheme for these pieces, as follows:
an audio piece from 1-30 minutes, plus packaging, will cost $250 U.S.
an audio piece ranging from 31-70 minutes, plus packaging, will cost $450 U.S.
Shipping costs will vary from one country to the next, and are not included in the sale price.
Please note: these items cost what they do solely because of the labor involved in producing them, not because I feel my reputation as a creative individual, on its own, warrants these prices. The pieces that I compose can take weeks to edit, mix, and master, and so I feel the prices I’ve set are a reasonable exchange for that level of engagement. I will never submit a “toss-off” piece from my archives to a patron, and will never try to pass off an hour’s worth of poor improvisation as something which required me to push the limits of my physical and psychological endurance.
above: inserts detail from commissioned piece by Ken Montgomery (more details on gallery page)
I will be making these items available for sale through my BigCartel shop.
Anyone who finds this concept itself interesting, but has no idea as to what I “sound like,” is also free to contact me- though you can also find a good representation of past work available in a free sampler located elsewhere on this site.
I look forward to hearing from, and working with, you.
Thomas Bey William Bailey