Archive for Tag ‘the future‘

The State of Kuwait: One Grain of Sand In the World (Lean Back)

Photo: Aaron Defourneaux

OpEd: Richard Paul Harper, Jr.


It is on the night after the death of the great Pete Seeger and upon streaming Henry Mancini’s “Best Of” that I write this.

The duel purpose with which the occasion compels me to jostle my thoughts down can also be revealed in the opening sentence. I awoke this morning to read of the news that Pete Seeger – the legendary folk singer and activist – had died peacefully at the age of 94. This is the first monolithic musical figure that has passed this year, but in 2013 the world lost Lou Reed, Donald Byrd, Phil Everly and Ray Price, to name the smallest amount. All major figures, both in the music community and in the popular landscape as well. But none illicit nearly as much of a reaction from me as Pete Seeger’s death did. My initial thought was that stating he died peacefully seemed a bit ill-fitting, given that the current climate in which we live (double meaning intended) can hardly be navigated in a “peaceful” manner. As such, Mr. Seeger appeared to gracefully let go of the torch he (once) carried, while still maintaining his fervor for life. Either that or he probably asked himself every day upon waking, “are you fucking kidding me?”

My next thought immediately went to the onslaughts of tributes that were about to be poured out for the righteous man. A mental rolodex began to spin of all the people who claimed Seeger as inspiration or in his lineage: Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, etc. etc. and I vowed to skim everyone of them with a dull-attention span and to not go and do likewise. In fact, en route to my relatively yuppie job bar-tending at a locally-sourced burger joint (where I also am in charge of the music during the shift), I said to myself that I wouldn’t so much as even mention his passing to anyone and would play only a few of his tracks – exclusively deep cuts – as I queued up whatever jams for that morning shift. Yet here I am. Human beings are fickle, malleable beasts.

Den Rest lesen…

Jerkwater Burg

The evening of November 3, Open Gallery – here in Nashville – will play host to an environment built up of corporeal experience. ‘Jerkwater Burg’ is the collaboration of Nashville artists, under the guise of Blacktooth Records (in the archival sense), who work in varying mediums, combining their abilities in order to manipulate multiple senses with the hope of wholly influencing and enhancing the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of its audience. It is not a gallery showcase, but a temporary hyper-reality, designed to encourage its inhabitants to feel something new, something strange.

In ‘Jerkwater Burg’ an attempt is made to house an environment not unlike what Alan Watts described as, “the experiencer and the experience becoming a single, ever-changing, self-forming process,” one where the situation is familiar – semiotically, artistically, etc. – but unlike the unification of the place and person, we desire a slight discomfort with what we call the Arpeggio of Meaning while still holding belief in the singular experience. Magical. Curious. Off-putting. Inviting. A kind of forcing of an unconscious suspension of disbelief. 

Our idle frustration with our own inability to project a concrete meaning on experiences is fascinating to us, and in our current age we think that many others feel the same. Perhaps it is that these affects exist entirely outside of logistics. We invite you to explore ‘Jerkwater Burg’.

You may accidentally find yourself in the middle of Jihad or adorning yourself with Mimosa in the springtime. Perhaps you’ll discover your lover to be too coquettish in this space, or that all your friends are a pale mutiny of dispossessed voidoids hatched in a misty somewhere between fictive and mundane. And we know you’ll want to help – we do too, that’s the idea – but we can’t help, and we view all these attempts at meaning as banging your head against a wall: it’s nice when it stops.

The more unsure we are of the exact spacial provence we’re inhabiting, the further into the liminal hinterland we go. You have to know it feelingly in these ugly, mystifying times and the last thing we want to do is rest on our laurels when it comes to this slug we’re trying to salt.

Picture by Ventral

DA can SD

It’s been a busy few weeks on the home front and out and about for us here at the Tooth, and that means a busy time to come here on the net bot.

There are real life things happening, people. Some will get mentioned here. Others will not. Be of a sweet mind and not at all in milquetoast land. While things are not inchoated, we are still shaking the dew off of this black tooth we found. Sweat and bones and rowdy tones.

For now:


More 2 come, chicks.

Music for the Gift: Riley & Bombino (Reflections)


May 1st, 2012. Strange things coinciding, convulsing.
Terry Riley – 20th Century Avant-Classical composer – is speaking, along side a panel of others, at Vanderbilt University in conjunction with the premier by the Nashville Symphony of his newly commissioned piece.
Bombino is playing their initial – and presumed by some (although proven wrong) to be their lone, ever – show at the VFW Post 1970 in West Nashville.
May Day is happening. At once an ancient, cross-quarter pagan holiday, relatively neutered by Christianity, and (more popularly known as) the International Workers’ Day after the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago. A fine, lost-but-resurfacing memory of police brutality if there ever was one.

I decided to set out on all 3 of these events, all together in my life by happenstance, and to see if I couldn’t make something out of them. I don’t know if I did, but recount is worth explication.

The May Day event took place internally. A re-membering of mine and many others’ lives and stories to a Grand-Narrative scale, one that would serve true posturing, inward disposition, and personal politic.

Most likely, Terry Riley does not need an introduction. If you do, it’s relatively easy to sink into, and will probably be given by someone far more adequate than me. I am fairly familiar with his corpus of work – mainly from my brother – but I was also familiar with his thoughts and musings, spiritual or otherwise. I expected a sagacious old man; what my friends and I got was so much more – and so much smaller – than that.

As Riley spoke (he is who I will primarily focus on, although most everyone else on the panel had not only great insight, but convivial tales of running around New York with their buds as well) I got the more than slight impression of a reflective life. Not only because he was the oldest among the group speaking (77, the others 40-50), no, his internal pace was different. Unhurried and unsullied. When he talked about taking the “improvisational moments and composing from them to allow the architectural possibilities to get seen,” I didn’t hear pious or heady nonsense; I heard a light-gravity from a man who was (and still is) desperately seeking to convey beauty, and who seemed to know that to do that sifting through of life took a long, slow time, and was on nobody’s schedule but its own’s. He was truly insightful and quite the regular human being. Riley didn’t get classically trained players when he premiered (what would turn out to be) his monumental piece, “In C”: he had regular players because he felt that amateurs “get it”. (Of course when some of those amateurs happens to be John Cage and John Gibson, well…) He said he wanted to make consciousness music, not in melody, but in the sound of it all. He wants people who were open to that.

The crowd was sparse, tame (save when an impromptu jam session happened between violinist Tracy Silverman, which was electric), white and (probably) educated. The atmosphere was proper, clean and very conducive to thoughtful conversation and questioning. That’s not to say it always happened, but it was most certainly ready for it.

We left.

The sun was setting at the VFW as we arrived, full of fun thoughts and discussion. In this turn, the VFW was to become a hybrid for the evening. There were the regulars, presumably (always) there for the fried chicken and would soon – again, presumably – leave once the show began (spoiler alert: not so! entirely).

The Cherry Blossoms and William Tyler opened for Bombino, but again, my recounting will focus on the one.

Bombino might need an introduction. In brief: The GROUP is called Bombino, which consists of 4 players, but the MAN in question is Omara “Bombino” Moctar, a member of the pseudo-nomadic desert people, the Tuareg. The Tuareg have traversed the Sahara desert since time immemorial, allowing IT to provide for THEM. In some ways, they have kept their nomadic ways, and have settled in some. They are also a very matriarchal society. The fantastic musical group Tinariwen is also Tuareg. Their peoples’ movements (or lack there of) has caused rifts with the made-up borders that now exist (i.e., Niger, Mali, etc.) and have led to two uprisings of the Tuareg people. It is my understanding that after the first one, Bombino started writing songs for his people, both to encourage and educate, as well as help them remember their past (there’s that consciousness thing again). To say the least, they took to them quite nicely. As the second Tuareg rebellion, the government of Niger executed two of his fellow musicians/band mates and sent him into exile. After the “peace” (and Bombino’s rise in popularity) he was allowed back and…here we are? In short: I felt an immense respect to get to hear the music.

The scene was wild, sweaty, and fun. The usual walls were gone – or were at least not apparent within the crowd. The usual “cool” was gone; the new sincerity was gone; the irony was gone. The vibe felt cohesive. Something, in a crowd that diverse, I hadn’t felt in a long time. There were older people from poor to affluent amounts of money and culture. There were people who had their ear to the ground as far as music in Nashville. I never thought I’d see weed smoked in a VFW, which struck me as ironic at first, but later on not so much. There were people who had fought in wars, some which were just fine relegating themselves to the back bar.

Bombino struck a chord with a bunch of Nashvillians. So did Riley. (I later saw the premier of his piece via the Nashville Symphony, which I thought was ok.) It was very apparent that they were both after a third thing, on “the cusp of magic” if you will. The thing that happens apart from the self and creation of something. The thing that can change things. Both were equally as gracious to us as we were to them, and it seems fitting to me that on May Day I got to experience these workers in the field. The events themselves were very different in some ways, but were strikingly similar in others. It was nice having some sort of Classical Avant-Garde world sit nicely next to desert rock and roll AND have people enjoying themselves (we were not the only ones at both).

Alchemy by other means.

Square People: Mysteries and Secrets Unzipped

It’s debatable whether or not the band Square People (or, for that matter, the individual members contained within) are indeed lazy and/or nervous. Sometimes they might be, other times not. Their latest release – a movie – fits perfectly within that continuum. Is it lazy or assiduous? Is the movie itself nervous or rather forthcoming? Yes. Heed it. They heed it. They heed.

“Mysteries and Secrets Unzipped” debuted at the Noa-Noa house last night, and there were moments of laughter, confusion, sensory-overload, and all smiles. I feel confident in saying this movie brought joy.  Someone artificially flavored the popcorn the flavor of lime. This is either a command or an anecdote.  We have decided, then, to understand the fledgling star in the press, especially when the gold-laden runs of distorted ideas actually arrive at some arrival point that they were forever returning to arrive at. Square People the band and Square People the movie do that. You can watch the movie below and download the songs at Square People’s bandcamp <click!>


Pin-ups in the shape of comets: SHABAZZ


Black Poets, Gil-Scott Heron, Fela Kuti, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets (I know), KRS-One, The Roots: they all come to mind and Shabazz Palaces is their next guard. Torch in hand. It’s hard to even know where to start with them because ‘Black Up’ is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. They love it and they mean it. Words are loaded, fired, absurd, flippant and provocative. The beats are next level and mind blowingly crisp and if Palaceer did loose the best beat he ever had (per the opening track and if there’s a better one I must have missed it), I’m not ready for it and couldn’t handle it. I’ll take grade-B, please. Also, Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler’s complete discography-obsession with the Ali/Frazier fight is worth your personal investigation.


green beans, purples, indigo/catchy yes but trendy no/never finished scheming though/that’s beneath Barbara Jean offspring with po/I never seem to know/gun beats comprise arsenal/up or don’t toss it at all.


No ironies arise/No predictable surprise/No sarcastic satires/Just ancient, patient beings/seeing to it you get high.


Hip-hop mysticism and where were you at?

Below are some culled tracks from Shabaz’s previous EPs and Black Up, as well as that new SBTRKT, remixed by D-Boy and then murrrdah’d by Palaceer Lazaro (although I can’t imagine how the hell  they hooked up). The track retains that UK-minimal cool that’s flying around right now, but now it has a Cadillac-ready beat to it.
SBTRKT – Wildfire (Drumma Boy remix feat. Shabazz Palaces)

Shabazz Palaces – Are you… Can you… Were you? (Felt)

Shabazz Palaces – Recollections of the wraith

Shabazz Palaces – a mess, the booth soaks in palacian musk, palaceer in vintage LRG, yes pure NS, uppowndet watermelon lips beat