tom moody

my show at Honey Ramka opens Friday

Below is the exhibition mailer for my show opening Friday at Honey Ramka gallery in Brooklyn. [pdf version] If you're in NYC (or not) I hope you can come to this event.

Honey Ramka presents Pre-Post-Internet, an exhibition by Tom Moody. The show opens Friday, December 15th from 6-9 PM, and runs through Sunday, January 21st. 

Moody is a low-tech digital pioneer whose work encompasses the handmade and rudimentary in a style eventually called "post internet."

Moody's quilt-like paper objects, drawn and printed on an office computer, were exhibited in gallery and museum shows in New York and elsewhere in the 1990s. In the 2000s, he was among the first to display animated GIFs as monumental gallery objects. In 2007, he exhibited his blog as a performance work.

Lately, bored by "the rise of corporate social media as everyone's main entertainment vehicle," Moody has been concentrating on art and music using Linux programs, while continuing to blog at, "a site without like buttons, share icons, or follower counts."

The main gallery displays an assortment of paper pieces and animations the artist made between 1997 and the present. Also on view in the project space are a selection of Moody's earliest "media" work, a series of black and white oil paintings from 1986-91 in an unabashedly photorealist style. In these self-portraits, the grain and glare of analog photography is as much the subject as the artist's face and form.

Tom Moody is an artist and musician based in New York City. His low-tech art made with simple imaging programs, photocopiers, and consumer printers has been exhibited at artMovingProjects, Derek Eller, and Honey Ramka galleries in New York as well as other galleries and museums in the US and Europe. His videos have been screened in the New York Underground Film Festival, Dallas Film Festival, and other venues. Moody and his work appear in the film 8 BIT, which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His blog at, commenced in February 2001, was recommended in the 2005 Art in America article "Art in the Blogosphere." His music made with the home computer and various electronic gear has been heard at Apex Art in NYC, WNYU-FM, and Basic FM (internet radio).

More about the artist can be found at his blog and at

"I'm amused by the lingering rhetoric of futurism — the Buck Rogers, 'machines-will-change-our-lives' spieling — that continues to surround digital production in our society. The computer is a tool, not magic, and possesses its own tragicomic limitations as well as offering new means of expression and communication. I am intrigued by the idea of making some kind of advanced art with this apparatus — objects, images, and art installations that hold up to prolonged scrutiny in real space. At the same time, I am drawn to 'cyber-kitsch' in all its forms, whether in old programs such as MSPaintbrush, the amateur imagery that abounds on the Web, or the unintended poetry of technical glitches. My work proudly inhabits the 'lo-fi' or 'abject' end of the digital spectrum."
—Tom Moody

Honey Ramka is an exhibition space in Bushwick, Brooklyn @ 56 Bogart Street (first floor). The gallery is open from 1-6 PM, Friday through Sunday (and by appointment). For more information, visit

- tom moody

December 11th, 2017 at 8:23 am

Posted in art - tm

"Jim Stark Is a Lonely Kid"

"Jim Stark Is a Lonely Kid" [1.3 MB .mp3]

Manipulated vocal piece. A random line from Danny Peary's book Cult Movies, his essay on Rebel Without a Cause, is read aloud into a microphone recording directly into Doepfer's A-112 8-bit sampler. The audio output from the A-112 gets various Eurorack filtering and FX treatments, then is further edited in Tracktion's Waveform DAW.

- tom moody

December 7th, 2017 at 7:23 am

Posted in music - tm

"Scheduled Appointment 3"

"Scheduled Appointment 3" [2.1 MB .mp3]

Minimo-classical-style music made with the modular synth (Tiptop Audio Z3000 oscillators, arranged in a chord), then edited and enhanced in Tracktion's Waveform DAW. Kindergarten melodies are deployed so as not to distract from the main point, timbre changes of the Z3000 -- primarily modifications of triangle waves via the oscillators' "waveshaper" inputs. Bubblesound's uLFO module is feeding sine and triangle waves into those inputs.

Underlying crunchy beats (and bass notes?) are borrowed from previous "Scheduled Appointment" versions.

- tom moody

December 7th, 2017 at 7:12 am

Posted in music - tm


"Organleggers" [2.8 MB .mp3]

More minimo-classical-style music made with Carla, a Linux plugin host, and the Ardour DAW. Midi sequencers play a variety of LV2 (Linux) software synths I can't get to work in Tracktion's Waveform DAW as plugins. The audio is streamed via JACK directly into Waveform and recorded/edited into loops. The loops are then arranged in Waveform.

Underlying crunchy beats are from the Moody Wav Collection.

hat tip Larry Niven for title

- tom moody

December 7th, 2017 at 7:00 am

Posted in music - tm

"they care whether subsequent rockefellers can breathe"

The bland phrase "climate change" makes rising sea levels seem like a minor shift caused by Mother Nature rather than a planetwide catastrophe caused by us. Environmental activists use the term regularly despite its having originated with Republican strategist Frank Luntz (of "death tax" fame). A Naked Capitalism commenter opined that "global warming" isn't helpful to convince the uninitiated if it's snowing outside. Richard Stallman suggests “Global heating” as a more accurate substitute. “Climate disruption”? "Oil company-caused climate disruption?"

One oil company, having recently been outed as knowing about this all along, is fighting back, claiming that climate science is opinion and that the US First Amendment protects their right -- as a corporate person -- to have the opinion that they weren't responsible. This is actually in court right now.

In a nutshell, attorneys general Healey (Massachusetts) and Schneiderman (NY) have been investigating Exxon and Exxon has sued to stop them.

[Exxon's lawyer] Anderson told the judge that the two attorneys general were attempting to prevent Exxon from exercising its First Amendment right to free speech and said that Healey and Schneiderman were attempting to silence those who disagree with their opinions, specifically the causes, impacts, remedies and severity of climate change.

[Judge Valerie] Caproni wasn’t convinced, telling Anderson that Healey and Schneiderman don’t care about Exxon’s opinion, they care about Exxon’s disclosure.

“You don’t have the right to lie in your SEC filings,” said Caproni, who added that while Exxon can’t be penalized for its opinion, it can be penalized for lying.

Judge Caproni has a sharp wit, as shown in this exchange (quoted by Climate Liability News):

Exxon attorney Justin Anderson told Caproni that evidence suggests the investigations were motivated by activists, including those associated with the Rockefeller Family Fund.

Caproni scoffed at the suggestion, suggesting that Exxon should then sue the Rockefellers.

“Ironic,” said Caproni, who pointed out that it was Rockefellers who originally founded Standard Oil, a predecessor of Exxon.

“Disturbing,” said Anderson.

“Fascinating,” said Caproni.

“Could be both,” said Anderson, adding that he wondered what happened to make them jump on the climate change bandwagon.

“They care whether subsequent Rockefellers can breathe,” said Caproni.

- tom moody

December 3rd, 2017 at 7:59 am

Posted in around the web

who knew

...there is actually a town called Jerkwater.


"Where are you from?" "Some little jerkwater town." "You mean, the Jerkwater?"

- tom moody

November 30th, 2017 at 10:37 am

Posted in general

not-so-sure post

Up until recently UPS somewhat arrogantly refused to ship to PO Boxes maintained by USPS.
Since many merchants use UPS, they also refuse to ship to PO Boxes, blaming UPS (not always apologetically).
Lately it's gotten easier, with something called "SurePost," that hands off packages from UPS to USPS.
But not always easier:


- tom moody

November 30th, 2017 at 9:50 am

Posted in general

mo vs poMo (3)

It's amusing to read Daniel Albright's writings on Modernism -- brimming with enthusiasm and insight as if T.S. Eliot and Luigi Russolo were alive today and needed explanation -- alongside Jonathan D. Kramer's book Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening (2016), which treats Modernism as a slightly tainted artifact of the distant past, deserving no sympathy or apologetics. In a series of posts we'll consider this incongruity.

Kramer's book ultimately gets at the crux of why Modernism receives so many pejorative words in a current chart comparing it to Postmodernism: an intergenerational conflict based on the entrenchment of the Modernist canon in academia. It's one thing to study Modernist works, as Albright does; it's another to insist that this is the only correct art.

In Chapter 1.7, "Why Today’s Composers Write Postmodern Music," Kramer notes that "some young composers are uncomfortable with pressures from their teachers to like and respect one kind of music (tonal) yet write another (atonal). Like adolescents in the world of postmodernism, they rebel against the values they learn in school. They want to create the music they love, not that which they are told to love."

These "pressures" from teacher/authority figures are explained in more detail in Chapter 3.1:

The atonal canon has been promoted in American academia not only by composers but also by theorists, who have found in the music of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, and Bartók fertile ground for their analytic studies. Music which lends itself to systematic analysis tends to be analyzed in universities more readily than that which does not, and the music which is often analyzed is the music that students naturally are expected to think of as the most significant and relevant.... Their modernist teachers reinforce these imitations with praise and encouragement. And why have theorists concentrated on this small body of music? Part of the reason is expediency: it is easier to analyze consistent music than pluralistic music, in which no one system of thought will explicate an entire piece. Another part of the reason is political. When theories of atonal analysis began to spread through academia, this music was already well entrenched, thanks to several influential progressive modernist composers who held major teaching posts.

Theorists were thus able to assure their own importance by providing keys that unlocked the secrets of this highly valued but little understood repertory.

Audiences have come around to some modernist music (such as the early ballets of Stravinsky, the quartets of Bartók, and the sonatas of Ives), but the compositions of the Second Viennese School still fail to attract a large public. The reason often given is the unrelieved dissonance in the music of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, but I doubt that this is the whole story. There is also a lot of dissonance in those Stravinsky and Bartók works which have found audiences, as there is in some downright popular Ives compositions, like his massively dissonant Fourth Symphony. Is the reason, then, atonality? I think not. The Rite of Spring, for example, may use some tonal materials, but it is not tonal. Stravinsky’s neoclassic works, which come closer to tonality, are less widely appreciated than the Rite. Schoenberg’s tonal works, such as Pelleas und Melisande and the Suite in G, are no more accepted by the public than are his atonal compositions. It seems that Schoenberg’s musical values and personality, more than his use of atonality or tonality, put listeners off. Is the reason for the gap between modernist music and the general public, then, the alleged lack of emotional content (whatever that vague term might mean)? Again, I think not, because some of Schoenberg’s most hermetic scores are also his most emotional (or so they seem to me). I think the main reason why some of the modernist works most prized by academics have little audience appeal is their elitism: you need to be a sophisticated listener to understand Stravinsky’s Symphony in C, or Schoenberg’s Fourth Quartet, or Webern’s Orchestral Variations. You need to learn how to listen to these works. They are an acquired taste.

Whatever the reasons for the failure of audiences to enjoy much modernist music—and the failure of most modernist composers to write music capable of appealing to a large audience—modernism’s hermeticism has become almost a badge of honor. Late modernists, adopting a defensive posture, often act proud of the inaccessibility of their works to a general public. No pandering to the masses for them! No compositions with easily discernible structures! No postmodernism!

- tom moody

November 30th, 2017 at 9:20 am

Posted in theory

"Short Carla Piece"

"Short Carla Piece" [4 MB .mp3]

Some classical-style music made with Carla, a Linux plugin host. A midi sequencer plays a variety of LV2 (Linux) software synths I can't get to work in Tracktion's Waveform DAW as plugins. The audio is streamed via JACK directly into Waveform and recorded/edited into loops. The loops are then arranged in Waveform.

Some of the underlying crunchy beats were made with a Eurorack (analog) sequencer, ADDAC Systems' Wav and Ultra Wav sample players, and a Doepfer digital effects module.

- tom moody

November 29th, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Posted in music - tm

mo vs poMo (2)

It's amusing to read Daniel Albright's writings on Modernism -- brimming with enthusiasm and insight as if Virginia Woolf and George Antheil were alive today and needed explanation -- alongside Jonathan D. Kramer's book Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening (2016), which treats Modernism as a slightly tainted artifact of the distant past, deserving no sympathy or apologetics. In a series of posts we'll consider this disjunction.

In "Postmodernism vs Modernism," Chapter 1.4 of Kramer's book, he borrows a couple of tables from other writers to illuminate the differences. The one below comes from Larry Solomon's article “What is Postmodernism?” The words used in the Modernist column (left) are mostly pejorative, and not terribly accurate. Are works such as Schoenberg's Erwartung (music as articulated screech of madness) or Beckett's Murphy (praising the catatonic state) actually "harmonious," "logical," or "utopian"? Many of the words that Solomon ascribes to Modernism could also be considered "Classical" and the poMo words "Modernist." In the table below I've made those substitutions:

Table 1.2

Modern Classical

Postmodern Modern



utopian, elitist



non-patriarchal, feminist


non-totalized, fragmented



European, Western

global, multicultural





staid, serious, purposeful

playful, ironic



intentional, constructive

non-intentional, deconstructive


practical, pragmatic

reductive, analytic

nonreductive, synthetic

simplicity, elegance, spartan









multi-pathed [or, multi-directional]

harmonious, integrated

eclectic, non-integrated









Obviously some items aren't good candidates for the switch -- abstraction belongs in the Modernism column but still, representation works better under "Classical" than Postmodern. But so many of the items Solomon calls Modernist are just straw people to justify the perceived musical status quo. The art he characterizes as "staid" was anything but when it first appeared in the world. In a later post we'll talk about the ways in which Modernism became orthodox, justifying to some extent the approach taken in this chart.

- tom moody

November 29th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Posted in theory