1000 Suns cover art

Brutum Fulmen

1000 Suns

Throne Heap


1000 Suns cassette box
1000 Suns j-card art
1000 Suns j-card inside art
1000 Suns cassette
1000 Suns art

1000 Suns is the first Brutum Fulmen release in several years. This is a limited edition C-46 cassette. The artwork is based on my design and was hand silk-screened on kraft paper by Throne Heap.

A bit of a departure, 1000 Suns is something of an impressionist audio drama about the human "witnesses" who became trusting guinea pigs for the testing of atomic bombs by the US government.

As this release was made specifically for cassette, I wanted to exploit some of the characteristics of the medium. This includes things like the "Extended Dynamic Range" (XDR) toneburst once used at the beginning of certain pre-recorded cassettes to assure you of their high fidelity. On some older recordings, the producers found it necessary to instruct the user what to do upon reaching the end of the side. I have included both of these useful features.

Back it the heyday of the cassette, shorter pre-recorded albums would sometimes be sold with the full album repeated on each side of the tape. Side two of 1000 Suns does repeat the side one program, but with a difference. As an analog to the way that the government subjected people to ordeals of unknown and unpredictable outcome which would indellibly affect them both immediately and over time... I subjected the cassette tape to a wide variety of physical "experiments": wrinkling, stretching, breaking and patching, using adhesive to lift the magnetic layer from the plastic tape, writing on it, threading the tape incorrectly through the cassette shell, breaking the cassette shell, removing parts of the cassette, abusing the tape deck while recording, chewing the tape, many repeated iterations of over-dubbing sometimes at incorrect recording levels and sometimes not completely erasing previous layers, etc. No digital manipulation was used on this side other than a bit of noise reduction and equalization.

Primary sound sources: complete or detourned government broadcasts, readings of eye-witness atomic test accounts, found music and voices, a rusty music box, field recordings of spring nighttime creatures, "fiddle trees" rubbing, cracking lake ice, low rumblings of undertermined origin (from inside my home), microphone windshear, feedback, a corrugaphone made of plumbing supplies, scraping metal shelves, toy accordian.

  1. T.E.O.T.W.

    Metal shelving. Government broadcasts. Spring night creatures. Rusty music box. Found vocals. Sine wave generator.

    This piece mashes up a few of my favorite things: music boxes, creating explosion sound effects, stupid government propaganda, and end of the world mythologies.

    I wanted to start this cassette off with that old XDR test tone sweep from certain cassette albums of the 80s. I couldn't find an actual recording of it, even on the internet, so I did a little research and used a simple sine wave generator to make my own based on the specification.

  2. Witness

    Government broadcasts. My own reading of an eye-witness account. Screaming. Fiddle trees rubbing. Microphone windshear. Metal shelves crashing. Toy accordian "breathing".

    I walked out onto a frozen reservoir this past winter and recorded some sounds of ice cracking, got some inadvertant mic windshear, and also found some trees on the shore which were leaning against each other and squeeking in the breeze or when I pushed them - what I call "fiddle trees". That and the spoken words were the starting point of this piece.

  3. Thor

    Government recording of a rocket launch sequence.

    Thor was the rocket in the "Starfish Prime" atomic test. Here I attempt to make the guidance technician seem a bit stoned.

  4. Starfish Prime

    Reading of eye-witness accounts and reported data. Government recordings. Feedback. Corrugaphone (a "horn" made of flexible corrugated plumbing pipe and metal fittings). Metal shelving. Cracking lake ice. A low throbbing sound of unknown origin (from within my house).

    Starfish Prime was an atomic test conducted by the US government high above the Pacific. It generated a large electromagnetic pulse and radiation belts around the Earth.

  5. E.M.P.

    Large wooden power cable spool dragged on pavement. Feedback. Sticks. Metal shelf scraped on a metal cabinet.

    The electromagnetic pulse generated by an atomic bomb can fry any electronics within it by inducing a powerful voltage surge.

  6. Radiance

    Rusty music box. Found music and voices.

    How grand to hold a party to watch atomic bombs exploding high in the atmosphere.

  7. Coda

    Rusty music box. Toy accordian "breathing". Found tape deck instructions.

    Does anyone really need a tape containing instructions on the operation of a cassette deck?