An Open Letter to the Baltimore Music and Arts Underground
by Tim Kabara
An Open Letter to the Baltimore Music and Arts Underground
Dear Baltimore Music and Arts Underground,

On September 3rd, 2012, America celebrated the Labor Day holiday. The weather in Baltimore was gloomy, muggy, and oppressive. In the afternoon there were tropical downpours, perhaps remnants of Hurricane Issac. I spent the day working on two written pieces, a review of Horse Lords’ new album and a radio piece about Dan Deacon. Outside of a video game break, the work essentially consumed my last day of summer.

I knew that this was the last day in more ways than one. I had resolved that this was my last push forward on the creative/journalistic work that has consumed my free time for most of the past four years. Although I have done this sort of work in the past, I think things really get going on January 5th, 2009, when I published my first album review on this website.

The work I did here lead to me getting noticed by a producer at WYPR. The producer first tried to get a hold of me in the fall of 2009, but it was year later before I was interviewed on air. On November 17th, 2010, a piece I had worked on appeared on the radio for the first time.

In the “old media” narrative, I would be using these appearances as resume-builders and stepping stones to the career I had envisioned for myself as a 1990s teenager. Back then, I assumed my sensibilities were a bit too underground for Rolling Stone, but maybe I could work for Spin?

In any case, what used to be an industry is now a smoking crater. To be honest, in 2008, I was a bit jazzed by the chaos I was walking into. Anyone with a URL can do this work! I will do it for free! I will do it for fun! I will use this platform to advocate for local music and art that I think is worthy of time and attention.

And I did. I got to have my say, which is to me the most interesting aspect of this new interworld, and I got to be relentlessly positive in a local media field historically dominated by snarky negativity.

But, for me, it is time to stop. Not forever, but for a while. I think people have caught on to all the excellent stuff happening here in Baltimore, and I have other creative matters to attend to while other talented writers continue to advocate on the scene's behalf.

Thanks to all the people who have allowed me this window of opportunity. Thanks to all the artists who were willing to talk to me and work with me. Thanks to the wonderful and amazing people I have spent time with over the past 20 years of involvement in the Baltimore music and arts underground. And, especially, thanks to the Beatbots Collective for accepting me as a member. This is where I got my start.

It is the morning of December 21st, 2012. After a night of storms in Baltimore, there is a brisk wind tearing through the town. Let us begin anew. I am excited to see where we all go next.


Tim Kabara
Posted by: Tim Kabara

Features (December 21st, 2012)