Tuesday, March 22, 2022

An ekphrastic opportunity, redux

Thermonuclearity's Bandcamp page

In March of 2004, I received an email from one of the members of the band, Thermonuclearity. They had read one of my published poems and wanted to know if I'd be interested in a collaboration, writing poems to echo the feeling of their music. 

"i represent a two-member band (electronic music) who's currently working on a new album. this is a concept album about the winter and it's called "halcyon days". i would like to know if you would share your gift as a poet with us and if you would write a short poem leading into every track of the album."

While I had written some ekphrastic poems before (poetry that is written in response to a piece of art, typically visual art), I hadn't done so with instrumental music. But I was intrigued and agreed to give it a shot. If they didn't like the work, they didn't have to use it, and I would have a group of poems that otherwise might not have been written. 

Over the course of that year, they would send me a music file and I would draft a poem from the emotion in the song. I immersed myself in the sounds they created, finding new depths of meaning on each listen. I sent them the group of poems and hoped that the project was as satisfying for them as it was for me. 

By then, I was already drifting from poetry to fiction and spent the next few years working on my first novels. 

Every once in a while, I would poke the internet to see if Thermonuclearity had released the album, but I hadn't found anything. I continued to listen to the tracks they had sent me, and they became some of my favorite writing music. 

I think I got a few emails from them over the course of the years - both members of the band had families and their priorities took them elsewhere. As the mother of two young children, I absolutely understood that. 

Time passed. At some point, I found them on Twitter, and clicked follow. 

Last Wednesday, almost 18 years from the day I received their first email, they tweeted something about new music being released shortly. I replied, happy to hear they were still creating. They sent me a private message letting me know that in addition to new work, they are also planning to release the collection (Halcyon Days) we had collaborated on in 2004. Including my poetry. 

It's honestly somewhat miraculous that this chain of random circumstances even occurred. From band members in Germany finding a single poem, published in an obscure journal on the internet in 2004, to connecting with me from that poem, and then 18 years later (!), a single tweet shows up when I happen to log in to Twitter that manages not to get lost in a rapidly moving timeline. And that 18 years later, the band is still making music together and going back to release the concept album.

I will certainly let folks know when it's released and where to get it. If you like instrumental/techno music, give Thermonuclearity a listen. Perhaps you will be as entranced as I am with their work.


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