Ash 14.5 – Bill Thompson – Blackout 2: Asarco Towers

DL – 3 tracks
Release date: 19th August 2022
You can order the album here

Track listing:

1. Smeltertown 25:02
2. Skull Canyon 24:22
3. Blackout 2 live (bonus) 34:43

Asarco Towers continues the Blackout project initiated in 2020 (Blackout l is also available here). The compositions are made using material drawn from an archive of sounds collected over a 20 year period; any sounds used in these compositions are permanently removed from the archive, eventually resulting in a ‘blackout’.

The works are named after the small mining town and cemetery that existed in the shadows of the twin Asarco smokestacks in El Paso, Texas. The residents lived in the town for roughly 100 years to work the mine but were forced to relocate in 1973 once it was proven that the area was unsafe due to pollution (lead poisoning).

Although Smeltertown’s community of over 2500 people was displaced and its buildings destroyed in the 1970s, Asarco didn’t cease operations until 1999 and the towers weren’t demolished until 2013.

[Perales, M., 2013. Smeltertown. The University of North Carolina Press.]

Bill Thompson is a sound artist and composer. Although originally trained as a guitarist, Thompson has worked with live electronics for the better part of 20 years. His work involves the combination of found objects, field recordings, repurposed live electronics, and digital media to create evolving structures for installation and live performance. Since 2016, however, he has returned to guitar performing with a Moog guitar combined with miscellaneous table top devices, found objects, flashing lights, and the occasional vibrator.