Tag Archives: music
my friend filastine has finally made a music video.
it’s pretty damn fabulous and feels just like our conversations on life and culture.
check it and then go grab his new record, ‘dirty bomb,’ at http://www.postworldindustries.com
for the record, i suggested multiple times that he call the new effort ‘dirty dirty bomb bomb,’ but that was all for (dread)naught…
recently i went into the studio with my good friend anna huckabee. we recorded a cover of the cash family’s ring of fire. the song is by the lovely june and popularized by the cranky bastard johnny. and it really is the only song by the man i have ever had any affinity for. i suspect it’s the mariachi horn arrangements and the way that june’s stellar vocals come in at the end of the track. it’s enough to raise the hackles listening to that woman sing.
anna and i travelled through korea and japan last year as part of the p.a.n. dance theater company. the impressario of the group, dk pan, asked us to perform the song as part of the floor show. i was antagonistic at first, but after anna and i had rehearsed it a few times i began to fall madly in love with her strange r-n-b through a country filter vocals. not to mention that the little sprite just threw herself into it so much that i was basically dragged along. and, of course, ‘je ne regrette riene…’
here’s the track: ring of fire (huckabee and artofmulata)
anna sings. i percuss. a really nice cat named chris recorded it and did the cleanup. and it was so much fun.
and yes, i did make a film. it debuted at the northwest film forum a month ago. it was exciting. while i will not be putting the film up on youtube or vimeo or whatever i am planning to write about the experience still at some point. i’ve rreceived a lot of favorable responses to the piece and so i want to shop it out to festivals. if you know of any film fests that would be interested in the work of a black film maker who focused on queer projections of performance and desire let me know. sundance?
this is a track i wrote based completely on samples from alice coltrane’s work. i have been in love with her music since one of her sons turned me on to it at a party many years ago in san francisco. an old girlfriend of mine, polywog, was djing her first gig at a private lusty lady party downtown. a really nice cat approached me (we were the only black guys there…) and we got to chatting. i mentioned how i’d just gone to the church of john coltrane in sf for the first time. “that’s my dad’s church,” he told me. wild. the synchronicities of everyday meetings have been dictating my life path for years now.
always listen to your intuitions. even if you don’t follow their suggestions it’s a good idea to pay attention to their prodding. somewhere in our minds/brains a lot of instantaneous processing is taking place. what could have once been explained as the silent voice of the gods/ancestors was probably just some salient aspect of our own neural firings…
one day in marrakesh, i was sitting on a rooftop drinking coffee. the city was just waking up. i had this amazing view of the entire djma fnaa (city square/market place) from our vantage point. so lovely.
all these amazing sounds started building/roiling from the ground. cars. people’s voices. goats and braying donkeys arguing with their burdens.
there were two opposing sound systems set up on opposite sides of the fnaa; record sellers attempting to grab some attention. playing the same song at the same time, but not having started the track at the same time, they delivered the craziest, most wonderful cacophany for coffee drinking.
the song they were playing was one i’d been hearing everywhere in morocco. some crazy berber electro. always in 3 just like most everything heard during my stay in that magical country. it was definitely one of the highlights for me.
one night i sat on the windowsill of my apartment because the craziest music was coming across the rooftops. transfixed, my body extended through the window, i ignored the catcalls (inevitable in morocco) from kids playing some strange game involving hitting playing cards with a shoe to make them fly through the air and the curses from the drunk i’d threatend to kill if he ever attempted to harm my travelling companion or myself ever again. all i wanted was to hear this sound. and i wondered how could i ever produce a sound like that. how could anyone ever catch the vague echoes and pulses that only ancient clay, low clouds and cheap speakers can reconstruct music, calls to prayer, arguing animals and oblivious cars into.
the next day on the rooftop i heard this song again. i hadn’t realized it was the same music i’d been hearing on every radio for weeks because the echoes were twisting it in ways that no trance production team could hope to emulate. i ran downstairs to the closer of the two sound systems and bought it immediately. such a perfect purchase. perhaps the most exciting and fun music i’ve ever gotten in all my travels around the world.
this is just a short sample of the sound from the rooftop. maybe it will sway you to go to morocco. it’s definitely a shock to travel 600 years into the past while living in the present. who knows what the world will hold for us if we finally all catch all the improvements everyone is clamoring for.
i’m all in favor of free housing, education, food, and clothing for everyone everywhere. and the dissolution of borders and nations and government as we know/understand it. i just hope with the inevitable rise out of poverty (it BETTER happen or i suggest we all leave the fucking elites to their own grotesque devices…) on a global scale that music and art and theater don’t suffer the ravages of a pop smear, i.e. a top 40-ization of everything to fit a more homogenized populace. a global audience. please god don’t let the individuation of culture be wiped out.
i value mine. do you value yours?
on steve arntson.
my friend steve arntson has a new site up:
he’s a musician and philosopher and perhaps something of an aetheticist living here in seattle. i rather enjoy his company and that of his wife, an equally talented and lovely lass who goes by the moniker of annemat.
steve has taken on the rather collossal task of defining what makes a proper instrument the proper instrument for you. he has constructed not just some simple compendium of forthright questions whose answering shews one the way towards the proper sonic appendage. he has constructed a system of enlightenment. and it is capable of not just pointing out the rigorous contemplation neccessary to choose the proper sound device, but it may actually be capable of helping a person to not choose an instrument at all.
if only such things were offered at an early age. or in an earlier age. perhaps we could have skipped a few of the world’s more noteworthy pop music failures. or ‘idols’ as the less droll among us would render them.
but enough about me… please go try steve’s system and see if it can make you reconsider that first guitar.
Chouen and Meknes
hyeongssi and i are in a small and wretched affair of a town called chouen or chefchouen.
it’s a few hours from tangiers. feels like being trapped in the food
court of an american mall. all the joints are themed, but hyeong-chan
loves this place so we are here for another day at least…
we’ve got the whole ditch-the-street-hustler thing down, “my wife says no.”
they all seem to think she’s japanese or chinese so there’s a lot of
‘kinichi wa-ing’ and ‘nee hau mas’ following us like the cat calls all you
ladies hear downtown. me, well i am obviously ‘rasta!’ or ‘africaine…’
pretty funny; especially when they accuse me of being paranoid for not
scoring kif or hash or cannabis…
hopefully we’ll leave this wretched tourist trap for meknes tomorrow.
they have famous musical instrument shops there and i want some
for those who are wondering or were unfortunate enough to see me
before i left and knew how terrified i was of this trip (does she
still like me? will we be able to stand this much time together?) the
answer to that is yes. we are blissing out. a little rough at first,
but now we are like twin pigeons feasting on old pizza on the
waterfront of anytown, usa; the feast never ends!!!
we are in the imperial and thoroughly chilled out city of Meknes.
this is the place kids.
giant walls of stone made over one thousand years ago by a murderous tyrant named Ismail. streets paved with two thousand year old marble plundered from an ancient roman conquest site. a massive walled courtyard where 15,000 negro slave guards paraded before their king when they weren’t busy slaughtering the unruly tribes of animists who lived in the surrounding mountains. and streets that only a little more than 100 years ago ran with the blood of thieves and political dissidents.
i am home!
yesterday, the erstwhile object of all my recent affections, hyeongssi, and i went wandering through the more impoverished shrines of what barely passes for living in this country. children playing soccer to the sound of wandering mules in streets that are still broken from an earthquake of over 90 years ago. the stench of piss and shit gags
me, but hyeong-chan seems unaffected. she tells me this reminds her of home before her parents got money and the municipality of seoul, korea began to consider the fortune of finding favor in the eyes of its poorer citizens.
people eye us strangely not just because we are obviously moneyed, in
a sense, but because they never see koreans and what the hell am i
with these dreadlocks and that strange woman on my arm?
as i begin to fear the vultures are circling a man runs up from a
broken and smoldering vehicle. he is smiling and covered in grease and
obviously a mechanic. ‘how can i help? where do you go? this is a bad
place for you.’
i explain that i am looking for the gate, bab jdir, and the souk of
the berber instrument makers. he sends us on a better path, out of the
old ghetto and down to a main street. the stench and the poverty make
me reflect on the worse parts of philadelphia and mississippi and
anyone who doesn’t agree should try exploring those cities more.
after more wandering through the dead tyrant’s ancient courts and
boulevards we found our destination: the bab jdir, north western gate
to the medina. and it is amazing. everywhere old men in traditional
attire or three piecers selling instruments, spitting on the ground at
hagglers, grabbing a young hustler by the scruffiest of collars and
hurling him around the corner (‘yalla!’); it is my place and i have
come a long way to get here.
an old guy in a big chunk of wool obviously high out of his mind and
barely able to whisper, but quite capable of growling, shuffling and
depositing desirable objects and i really get into it. for 150 i want
a horn, some extra mouthpieces AND some cymbals, dammit. no way, 200
you stinking tourist; here, smoke some of this and let’s argue some
more. forget it pops, if i were to smoke that crazy mountain shit it
wouldn’t be while i’m arguing about cash and prizes. fine, but still
200 you stupid interloper.
all this occurs in the most ridiculous pigeon stew of french, spanish,
english, arabic (‘bismillah!’) and berber. eventually things get loud
and someone old and grouchy is stuffing my new horn with extra
mouthpieces while a younger guy intervenes and argues with me in pure
french. after much more haggling, a small child getting slapped for reasons i was never able to pry from these grumpy old farts, hyeongssi telling me that i am ‘beautiful language’ every ten minutes or so and snapping candid shots while being asked not to and a lot of kif
smoke clogging my contacts, i have the horn. i have the mouthpieces. i have my amazing obsidian cymbals. all wrapped in newsprint like the fish i used to watch my dad buy from the door to door muslim fish mongers when we lived in akron. muslims, muslims, muslims. i love muslims.
did i ever tell you the one about the muslim, the christian and the
jew who were trying to get into heaven? another time. just stop me on
the street or buy me a cold one and i will happily give you an
american’s rendition of real moroccan storytelling.
i have been taking a lot of photos. i just can’t post from here. or
maybe i can. it’s just too much work to find out. whatever. i will be
seeding them to some online site when i get back or else illustrating
my dormant blog with these same tales that i have been sending you. i
promise that some of these shots will be worth the wait: i have so
many nudes of young dancing boys and voluptuously large old ladies
feeding me couscous by the pea in my ramshackle bed. hey. did anybody
out there know that they finally outlawed pedophilia in this country?
can you imagine how awful the state of american and european letters
(cough.cough.) would be today if they’d done that back in the 20s and
30s? no good burroughs, or bowles or any of the rest of those boy
lovers who made our literature possible.
god bless the King! Mohammed the 5th! A’Salaam!
from Meknes, Imperial City Extraordinaire,
‘a jew in the high country…’
p.s. i do not do drugs. really. ask around. i also have not had a
drink in days. i am going crazy without my rum.
write a book on the history of marching bands
or perhaps a book on the history of the modern day radical marching band.
sf, nyc, london, greensborough, etcetera; wherever you find radical marching bands.
should obviously include a disc of music and video.
contact honkfest to see if they are interested in participating on any level…
where are the grants?