What conceited person hasn’t thought of the inherent interest in his or hers personal “audio diary”? I know I have. As I clacked my skee balls together for luck only to roll another 10 at the Buckshot Bar in the Inner Richmond, I felt quite satisfied and enamored with my company from Josh’s giggling confirmation. Audio diary this Bay Bridged!
In my quiet moments before bed I know that these are not truths and that my life is a shallow and narrow existence that holds little interest for friends and almost zero for an at-large listening public. Ah, but as Duncan Cameron (aka Dolphins into the Future aka Lieven Martens of Belgium) teaches us, all you really need is a good title. Martens calls his audio diary A Horseback Ride to the Temple of Montu, which clearly shows that he gets this.
A C20 (a twenty minute cassette for the uninitiated) out on tanzprocesz, A Horseback Rideâ€¦ is a very literal bird-chirping, hoof clip-clopping listen. Augmented by synthesized glyphs and phantoms, it’s quite effecting for someone who is into books on tape with sound effects. So my search for a good title to impress all with an unimpressive life is at hand.
“True history seeks, it does not answer,” writes Nick Tosches in his enigmatic study of the black-faced minstrel man Emmett Miller, Where Dead Voices Gather. “For the deeper we seek, the deeper we descend from knowledge to mystery, which is the only place where wisdom abides.”
I’m New Here, the first album by Gil Scott-Heron in 16 years, is a combination of pre-hipster spoken word and post-hipster auto tune rap samples. It screams authenticity and has a stench of dubious wisdom through experience similar to Johnny Cash’s American recordings. In all ways, it is a good record, enjoyable, informative and short, but perhaps Iâ€™m getting a better sense of American history from Miller and Tosches.
Minstrel Man from Georgia, the out of print CD collection of Emmett Miller’s greatest tunes is a laugh riot of antiquated and far past (supposedly) racism. The crackling yodel on songs like “Lovesick Blues” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” all pre-World War II sides, is what is really funny. The man with the clarinet trick voice as he was described by the days’ press, Miller is a prototype for country music and a soul whose history is buried by the nation that wanted to forget its halcyon and simpler times.
I can take or leave the black-faced dialogues that introduce many of the songs (in fact, let’s just leave them), but the ghostly voice of Miller makes me believe in the movable nature of American history. Forget Miller playing at nudie bars in Nashville in 1962 thou exalted history, the year of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, forget him as a contemporary of Alfred Hitchcock and Stalin. European history may be older, but our history belongs to no time.
Over some Blue Moon beer battered corn dogs, Josh and I spent some time reminiscing on our days in Bloomington, Indiana. “Evolution is progressing exponentially,” I thought I heard him say. Yes it is old friend. We canâ€™t remember the road or the address that we lived at, but we remember a glossy time when freedom was another word that meant nothing to us at all. These are secret histories with good titles, but this is an art that is lost on today’s artist to whom I donâ€™t relate.
About Sade Sundays: Sade Sundays is a two-part monthly column written by Michael Tapscott and Joshua Rampage. A profundity has never slipped past the lips of a man who lives a life of quiet desperation. He has time for no such subtleties. So basically, Joshua and Michael have time on their hands. They spend it together one Sunday a month, dispensing boozy wisdom and violent, undefended revelries. You may listen, but you may also render their words as a call of the wild, a spear from St. George into the side of the dragon beast, or a meaningless squabble. Contact us: Sade.Sundays@thebaybridged.com