It’s funny how new things eventually become old things. Let’s blame the internet for that. There’s so much going on out there on any given day it can leave us full of sensory overload. That being said, it’s time for something new! “In a Bubble,” is the latest esoteric and experimental album project, written, recorded and from the mind of Scott Feinblatt.
Feinblatt is a Southern California artist, filmmaker, journalist, and illustrator. Of the project, he says it was once a pet project that he shared with an underground, Chicagoland community of artists and musicians. Now, it’ll see its first mainstream release.
While “In a Bubble,” is Feinblatt’s first widely-released album, it’s the ninth album that he’ produced and distributed as part of his T.O.M. series. The T.O.M. series began in 1992 with cassette tape releases, featuring his original artwork. “In a Bubble” continues the thematic trend of past T.O.M. recordings.
In 1992 he began recording music on an analog 4-track recorder. His first collection of songs released under the name T.O.M. (which originally stood for “T.he O.range M.an.”
Feinblatt says his intent is to “explore the nature of music (or, more broadly, sound) as a communicative medium.” He went on to say he’s always been fascinated by the way certain sounds and melodies can typify and convey sensations, feelings, or even thoughts.
The lyrics he writes sometimes center on the nature of the creative spirit, or the human experience, in general, but he also writes whatever his muse drops into his “bubble.”
That atmosphere ranges from meditative to dark to zany. “What is new with this release is the narrative framing I’m giving the whole project. I envisioned a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, where the only human life is in a state of hibernation aboard a space station; meanwhile robots scout a devastated Earth in search of data and artifacts that could be useful to future generations of the surviving humans.”
Feinblatt explains. “One of these robots discovers the diary-like musical recordings of a long-dead artist named Scott Oliver — my middle name is Oliver, so this is my alter ego. The robot is called a Tertiary Omnificent Memory, or T.O.M. unit, and the album is the music he found. This saga also gives me something to play with for any promotional artwork or videos that I create to go along with the project.”
“In a Bubble” includes varying soundscapes of industrial, electronic, punk, classic rock, and folk. The complex and challenging material can sound very harsh, jarring, and even violent at times, coupled with a lot of distortion, and can also be somewhat soft, more subtle on the acoustic-oriented ballads.
Think DEVO meets Nine Inch Nails against a framework of alternative rock flourishes. It’s the unusual, eclectic soundscapes of each composition in the twelve-song album that makes it stand out. “The Mission,” “The Abyss,” “Stars,” and “Only a Test” are among the notable tracks.
“In a Bubble” bears repeated listenings. It is not an easily-accessible album that creates an instant earworm. The album is a far more demanding, cerebral and quirky body of work. Yet, it’s worth the time and effort to absorb and delve inside the unique tracks, to find the deeper, sometimes, greater meaning of the conceptually-structured songs.