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Jon Sonnenberg (And Related Projects)

Introduction and Background

Jon Sonnenberg is an American electronic musician, originally from California, best known these days for his solo project Travelogue. His first release was a homemade cassette entitled Christmas According to Jon, released in 1990 and recorded entirely on an 8-track reel-to-reel, with Side A featuring covers of classic holiday tunes like "Jingle Bells" and Side B featuring remixes of the Side A tracks in reverse. Editing was done physically: taking a razor blade and manually splicing tape together. Only 30 copies were created and distributed to friends and family on his 19th birthday.

Around the same time, Jon began recording tracks for his new project, Pirate Claug. Two cassettes were released under this name: Identity Crisis in 1991 and The Garden of Hill in 1993. Almost no information is available on the latter release, including the cover artwork, save for a partial tracklist.

In college, Jon met future collaborator Robert Gutschow, and towards the end of 1993 and the beginning of 1994, Jon began a new gothic / industrial project with Rob called Pivot Clowj and self-released an album in December 1994, The Fish Who Could Swallow the Sea. The strength of this tape led to a record deal with Flaming Fish Music in 1998, which released Pivot Clowj's second and final album, It's Not as If It Were the End of the World... That Was Yesterday. During this time, Jon and Rob toured the US and appeared on several various artists compilations, notably Escape the Furnace Volumes I & II from Blacklight Records and Electrapop from Eclectica Music.

In late 1997, Jon and Rob decided they needed a second project to explore their synthpop influences and formed House of Wires. In 1998, they released their first album, You Are Obsolete, on Plastiq Musiq (founded by Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric fame), then a subsidiary of the more well-known Tooth & Nail Records. This was followed in late 1999 by Monogamy, also on Plastiq Musiq. House of Wires made appearances on several Tooth & Nail compilations, and in 2001 recorded six more tracks before effectively disbanding. Three of these tracks would later be released in 2009 as a free, digital EP entitled The Found Sessions on Holiday Records (founded in part by Jacob Graham of The Drums).

Not long after this, Jon moved to the American midwest and began recording and performing as Travelogue, releasing his first album The Art of Conversation in 2002 through Plastiq Musiq. This was followed in 2003 by the self-released The Winter EP and a second full-length release in 2004 through Plastiq Musiq, Imaginary Hospitals. This record was also accompanied by the single "Hospital," featuring a couple different mixes of "Hospital" and a remix of "Channel 37" from the same album. 2006 saw the release of two EPs: Braille and Telegraph.

In 2008, Jon released an album under his own name for the first time since 1990: Acoustic Selections, an album of acoustic covers of tracks by Travelogue, House of Wires, and Pivot Clowj. Also in 2008, Jon collaborated with Israel Slick (of Red Orchestra) on the split release The Prometheus Project, with Jon writing and recording half of the album's tracks.