Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Literary Education of Ralph Ellison

Tuskegee University ca. 1916

"Three novels above all gripped Ralph. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Each has at its center a misunderstood young man, ambitious, tormented, transgressive; each this held a mirror up to his own nature."

R& continues to throw lightning bolts of truth at his target.

The Sculptural Education of Ralph Ellison, #1 Augusta Savage

Somewhere in our glimpses, we have a picture taken in Savannah, GA of a sculpture of Gwendolyn Brooks of Augusta Savage. We discover in turning R&'s leaves that Savage jilted Ralph when he was seeking a real course in sculpture.

We'll head out to SAAM to catch a glimpse of the painted plaster and post the real picture (not this copy of a picture filched from the internets) here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

All of It

You can travel here in the spaceways if you want to see all of The Green Pastures.*

* b/t/w: a noteworth part of the literary education on Ralph Ellison.

Conjurings this Morning

Our mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west. We were deep in the early portion of R&'s bio of Ralph Ellison and pointed to a world we try to conjure, the mind of the past, before it got hard-coded into the forms it takes now. Points of interest here: Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony, Marc Connelly's Green Pastures, Emperor Jones. It's not too much, but bigger than we think. It's just big, very big.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

:: p o u r s a l i t t l e l i q u o r o n t h e g r o u n d ::

We read in the NYT about how yet another moment from the future has followed Eshu home into the past tense. Marion Brown was a professor second and inventor first. This morning we'll pull up Afternoon of a Georgia Faun & Geechee Recollections from the crates, maybe Ascension and Fire Music. They are all the right church for a Sunday morning.

But we want a future that we can anticipate, which is the way Marion would have wanted it. So we'll pull up a little Djinji Brown while we're at it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Old School Mixtape

We've said before how important it is to work the tip of early 20 c. musical theatre. The oldschool mixtape here is just one more point in the case of proof. These guys write the book of Will Smith,DJ Jazzy Jeff, f'rinstance.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Freaks of the Industry

We're strumming through Dr. Octo on our way to work this AM.

We've got to say we've never really gotten that close, even though it is tempting. Lissening, though, is a comforting reminder that the boys over @ Odd Futures aren't any farther from the tradition than the audible sound of the good doctor's voice.

It prompts, even tempts, more thinking on the Lazarussian (maybe it's Orphic) of the unnaground -- the all about it is about coming up and coming back, no matter how much murder and rape you rhyme over.

We owe it to Keith Matthew Thornton to pay closer attention, even though looking close @ halfsharkalligatorhalfman may ultimately blind us, or turn us to stone. How can we look at it w/out looking back?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here's what ancient to future looks like when it is happening.

Our record is overscribbled with the phrase ancient to future, a phrase we stole from AEC 'bout 35 years ago the instant we began unnastanding the all about it going on in Nice Guys (as important to the 70s as PB4CL is for the 90s).

We are reminded of our early reading in Kurt Vonnegut. His tralfamadorians were capable of perceiving things as they existed over time. So when they looked at the stars, the stars looked like spaghetti, not single points of light. We suspect that there are no such things as tralfamadorians (even though Vonnegut, like Lester Bowie and Madlib, has fits of autobiography), but rather that they are clever written figures standing in for people who experience ancient to future, you dig? Look up at the picture of Madlib. He's all acting up like a tralfamadorian.

Come back to this. Go forward. Come back to this.

That's what we mean when we say on and on and on and on.

To the breakadawn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

While we're at it...

...we couldn't help noticing something simular here:

It's blue. It's blues. And you can't deny it.

We don't work on fresh...

...but we call out the blues when we hear it.

Chaboy Fennesey, who earns muchlove, put some time into OFWGKTA, and you should too, so visit.

We put you up to this last month, remarking that the shit was more like Stan Brakhage or than the other homemade hiphop out there. It's as real as the 7th 8th and 9th strings on Big Joe Williams homemade axe: the realness of "I can't help myself. I need to hear that more a little more." To make it clear: this hits me up like AEC's "Barnyard Scuffle Shuffle," or Bert Williams "Nobody," or put something in that is out on the list.

In a recent exercise in tapping, chaboy Coates, who also earn his love and has the privilege of dropping science on the somewhat lacking and in need over @ The Atlantic talks about this, as he is wont, in autobiographical terms. "I am, it seems, always bidding adieu to the formative music of my youth. I am not bitter, but in the long kiss goodnight I hope to soon understand why and how I came, so powerfully, under the sway of two turntables and a microphone. Now, I am pushing past 35, and I offer these thoughts as a man who almost surely will never buy any of Big Sean's work. And this is as it should be. The music no longer belongs to me. Likely, it never did." Sentimental, but truetrue. He calls it hiphop. Over @ this house we call it the blues.

Let us be clear, though. This is not about the youth, or the fresh or any of that. It is about being displaced from what we do when we grind, and the subsequent illusory sense that we can return to where we used to be. Makes you want to holla, the they they do your mind.

What we love most about the Odd Future crew is how easy it is to see that they are taking the music away from us. And they got so much to take. We were lissening to Earl Sweatshirt @ the office the other day, letting it boom the 'buds while we ground our nose on this and that. The note is simple: blew the shit up outta the workplace. We hadda get a cup of coffee and regroup. Just took it all away w/ the holla, "It never was yours and it never was."

Get over there. Dwell in their house for a while. Pick up a few of the joints they leave around for you. Yours for the taking, right?

Got it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What We're Hearing

We were running the course through some Cape Town jazz, something about which we wish we knew much more. We came through this crossroad project, pulled off in Italy late in the last century, and were moved by its pressing, somber force.

This is a movement made of many crossings, doubled over and back on the Atlantic, the church, the state and the tradition. We have called for help on this. The books? The sites? Found one here. Nevertheless, we reiterate the call. Where is the treatment that this movement deserves? It needs its own devilin' 'proach. Point us.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What We're Hearing

We're rolling this Sunday moaning w/ the Aladin Records story. We commend, by way of background, this artifact of some earlier era of the internets on the matter for your reading pleasure.

All About the All About It

Ralph Ellison defined the blues as "an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger the jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism." Enough.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We had the good fortune last night to drink our Redstripes @ HR 57 while Eric Lewis tore up everything in the room. Metal armor on his wrists, a buffalo stance ripped from Little Richard, he put himself foursquare in the tradition. He took the crackerrock anthem,* "Sweet Home Alabama" and turned it inside out, the same the people took hymns and turned them into mnemonics to track the unnaground way home. By bringing Michael Jackson into the same picture frame as King, Rossington and Van Zant, he circles the square -- love rules by embracing hateration. There is so much things to be said 'bout brovah E to the Lew, so much more than just calling his name and genius when he plays "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as if he were Сергей Рахманинов. We just hope he hits the strip in the diamond and stays within near a $15 cover and a Redstripe. All blues this good is better in small house full of mojo than it is a concert hall.


* You'll fnid our thoughts on this twist in the threads over @ the Blue Light. Join us.

On the Deck This Moanin'

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

Friday, October 8, 2010

What We're Hearing

We said hearing. That between soul and jazz groove was underrated because it felt good. Give it up now. Give it up. Get some.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What We're Hearing

Atchully, we're hearing Blues for a Hip King by Abdullah Ibrahim. But we've been lovin those good Friday bullets Kanye's been firing off, too.