OK, I’ll admit. Fort Worth isn’t exactly New York City, a gleaming metropolis essentially buzzing with inspiration, the kind that can keep you awake until the wee hours of the morning working on your masterpieces. Seriously, I lived there for several years, and the creative energy that pulses through that city –– the buildings, even! –– can power up anyone with even the tiniest inkling toward the creative arts. Sigh. Miss that place. But not being New York City, of course, has its advantages, namely barbecue, Tex-Mex, and, lastly, not a lot of competition. However, what Fort Worth producer/e-turntablist Phil Ford is doing would be groundbreaking in any part of the globe, including and especially The Big Apple.

Like past collaborator and fellow Fort Worthian Matt Hickey (a.k.a. Joe and the Sonic Dirt from Madagascar), Ford, who goes by the handle Sym, is what we could call a “sonic painter.” He paints images with sounds. A cliché? Sure. Still, there doesn’t seem to be any better way to describe the man’s creative output. Ford’s most recent album, TradeSecrets, is not wholly emblematic of his oeuvre but is a good introduction to his crazy skills. An “electronica homage to DJs/producers like DJ Shadow, DJ Cam, Xecutioners, and DJ Krush,” Ford said, TradeSecrets mixes glitchwerks and hip-hop. The songs do not swing –– there’s nothing to tap your toes or bob your head to. Rather, swishing, clinking, rumbling, scratching noises come at you from all angles, though everything is underlined by accessible rhythms and a sense of theme. “I just thought no electronica had been released with this vibe, so [doing TradeSecrets] seemed the right move, especially since all of this glitch-hop stuff’s coming back around,” Ford said. Download the album for free at


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Several bands have been added to the lineup of the 2011 Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards Festival, Sun., Jun. 26, in the West 7th corridor, including Rabbit’s Got the Gun, Skeleton Coast, Igneous Grimm, and EPIC RUINS, whose drummer, co-songwriter Jordan Richardson, lives in L.A. and plays in the band of neo-classic-rock star Ben Harper. (You may have seen Richardson on TV recently. He’s been making the late-night-talk-show rounds with Harper, who has just put out a new album, Give Till It’s Gone.) Other bands slated to play the free festival: Calhoun, The Burning Hotels, The Orbans, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Spoonfed Tribe, Josh Weathers & The True+Endeavors, Quaker City Night Hawks, American Idol semifinalist Tim Halperin, The Cush, Stella Rose, Pinkish Black, Fate Lions, The Hanna Barbarians, Snakey Roberts (featuring members of Green River Ordinance), My Wooden Leg, KatsüK, Holy Moly, Secret Ghost Champion, Scott Copeland, Chatterton’s Kevin Aldridge, Luke Wade & No Civilians, Earthquake Country, Sally Majestic, Titanmoon, and many more, nearly 50 bands total, all from the 817, mostly Fort Worth. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. The official after-party will start at 10:30 p.m. at the Wild Rooster on Camp Bowie and be hosted by Sally Majestic’s Scott Vernon. So. Mark your calendars, get a baby- or dog-sitter, and save up some foldin’ money for brewskies and cab fare.


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