Thursday, April 21, 2011

Repost: Deacon Fielder Strikes Again...Boston Fielder and his Muthawit Orchestra

finally, a release i'm reposting...

I came to be acquainted with the inimitable Boston Fielder about half a decade ago, believe it or not, on Myspace.  I'd been writing a blog there while promoting my music and building up a following which consisted of myspacers worldwide.  We were mutual fans of each others music.  

At some point I'd posted a blog chronicling a particularly challenging period in my journey and the next day, in my inbox there was this message from him... It was raw, straightforward, scolding, as if he'd ordained himself an authority on the subject of Brig Feltus, and it was a profound moment for me.   I'm telling you this up front because there's no use in pretending to be unbiased when it comes to Boston Fielder, the Muthawit Orchestra, or Underground Railroad Broadcasting Alternatives, aka URB ALT.   We have been devoted friends for longer than linear time can define.  We knew each other in another lifetime even.  I'm sure of it.  I am a proud member of the URB ALT Family.  

 I'm telling you up front because though this is meant to spread the word about the art this man creates, it is unabashedly personal.  Let my honesty about this fact represent my confidence that what you will experience will more than justify my love of all things Muthawit!
So by all means, explore for yourself when you're done here.  You'll find me to be an honest report on the virtues of the man and his art.  I am confident of that much. 
The music of Muthawit Orchestra will not be contained in the structure of conventional musical genre descriptions.  But, oh... it is in every way music, encompassing all genres and none all at once... neo-classic, jazz, rock, funk, bluegrass, gospel, experimental, metal, psychedelic, blues, electronica...and it's own indescribable something-or-other which can only be experienced and never explained.  You can forget about trying to put this man's art into a box and tying it up in a nice neat bow.  If there is any thematic, that be it. 

You will be challenged.  You will be challenged to free your mind, to let go of your own preconditioning, break loose of the chains of stereotype, archetype, and cultural characterization.   The Muthawit orchestra's sound is beautiful noise that will touch your most guttural conscience and your most ethereal dream scapes as well.  It is frightening and sexy and comforting and confusing truth all wrapped up in compositions you can relate to despite your own conditioning.  If you are afraid of your tail feathers shaking, do not listen.  If you are afraid of arousal, do not listen.  If you fear your own emotions, this is not music for you.  Go and have a cup of tea and carry on. 

Every time I listen to this music I rejoice.  lol... I choose my friends wisely, you see...  

URB ALT is also Mr. Fielder's brainchild... a community of artists, filmmakers, photographers, poets, musicians, and their admiring relatives and friends, all attempting to live on the cutting edge of free thought and inspiration.   For me personally it has been a place where I can get to know others like me... alternative thinkers who don't quite fit the manufactured grooves of this groupthink society we all live in.    He will say differently but for me it is a movement, by pure definition of the term.   You see, I have been moved more than once since becoming a member of URB ALT.  Movement is the nature of the beast!  
Boston's orchestra ensemble Muthawit releases its next album soon and I am honored to have been one of the first to hear its jewels pre-mastering and I couldn't wait til the proper time, so I'm telling you all about it now and getting a jump on all the promotional hype that's coming down the road closer to release date.  

As far as I'm concerned, the character of the artist will tell you a lot about their art.  This man is extraordinary in every way that I know him, and has many layers of depth, not to be digested all at once.  
Being his friend is a constant temptation to be greedy. There's stuff I just intuitively know about him but don't have to think about most of the time because it's beneath the surface.  His surfaces, when you meet him, are slow, and easy going, and gentle, just like his southern drawl.  
But don't be deceived.  Every now and then he says something or does something and I'm reminded about that other stuff beneath his skin... things that can be intimidating when one considers to look straight on.  
(Do you think people understand you? Not really. If they did they'd run...)
I gotta look with sunglasses, because he's like the sun.  Most know the sun is strong, so we resist the urge to look at it straight on.  The timid don't bother looking at all, won't even stand naked in its rays for fear of getting cancer, and in the process end up with vitamin deficiencies because of it. The foolish, in their greed, forget and try to look straight into it, and end up with scorched corneas.  
That's what he's like.  Seductive ease on the surface, and raging nuclear energy underneath!  His music is evidence of all that stuff beneath the surface, organized a bit, and recorded for posterity, which is a good thing because his sub-surface stuff evidently doesn't like repeat it self in order to keep you on your toes!

As if to prove my point, while I was writing this last bit a minute ago Fielder emailed me a disclaimer warning me not to hold him to his answers because he plans to contradict himself regularly over the next few months... Schizophrenia Convenia he calls it apparently.. ( one of a thousand Bostonisms I've had the pleasure of cracking up over all these years.)  THEN  a minute or two later, a post-post-disclaimer requesting to add Igor Stravinsky, Samuel R. Delany, and Jack Kirby to his influence list... Did I ask for an influence list? Perhaps he was referring to his heroes... Uncle Baldy, and Co...  He also informed me that this is one of a handful (literally) of interviews he's ever allowed. 

What? I haven't said much of anything about the new album? Perhaps you should go back and read this posting again and pay attention this time. 

Other than that? Have a listen here and then you'll just have to wait!

Below is a quicky email interview I sprung on him today without warning.  These are his off-the cuff answers.  Thank you Boston for your friendship, for your music, for your wisdom, and for your most admirable existence!!   May your purse reach you...

What is Muthawit? A loving homage to my elders, peers, children and folks who use common sense.  
When did you start Muthawit? When I was 7 years old.
What was your inspiration for its creation?  My grandmother's singing voice and my grandfather's speaking voice.
What is the Urb Alt Movement?  Following the North Star is a movement that inspires me personally but I wouldn't call URB ALT a movement.  The financial component would make that hypocrisy.
What makes the Urb Alt Movement important in these times?  I don't know that URB ALT is important.  Is making people feel good about themselves and others enough to say that it's important?  Hmm. 
Would you compare Urb Alt with other movements in music history? Pouring glass as slowly as possible into a pitcher.
What kind of people are participating in your movement?  People who probably don't consider it a movement because movements tend to have a head, the head is lopped off by history and then it dies, is placed in a museum or cryogenically frozen in a state of mediocrity.
Who are your musical heroes past and present day?  Uncle Baldy, Marvin Gaye, Alice Coltrane and that old dude who used to sit on the front row of the church is Tupelo and chanted "Yap, Yeah, Yap, Yeah" during Reverend Pulliam's sermon.
In 10 lines of PROSE or less, describe your musical compositions in poem. "Beauty. Booty. Baby. Bounty. BOOM."
Do you think people understand you?  Not really.  If they did they'd run.
Does being understood matter to you on a personal level?  It means everything and nothing.  Too much to do.
Does it (being understood)matter to the successful spreading of the music?  Only if the music is good does it matter and even then pirates will hijack it on the seas of change before the purse reaches the hands of the chosen.
What do you believe your art contributes to the world?  Joyful cacophony and a good reason to get out of bed or stay in bed depending on the situation.
Is there a subject matter you are afraid to write about?  No.
Is there a subject matter you love to write about?  No.
What is the story behind your new album's title Men and Women?  The death of individualism, the rise of the IRS in the micromechanics of governing and the joy of watching tadpoles swim downstream.
What was the most joyful moment in creating the music on this album?  Mixing PMS Junkie.  It was a bloody good time.
What challenges did you face in making this album?  Tenant revolt.
Is your music influenced by any esoteric or ethereal experiences?  Mainly dead people who walk with us and share our experiences.  They like to dance and eat popcorn.
Did you have any experiences of transcendance during the creation of the music on Men and Women? If so, explain.  I got regular sleep for the first time in well over a year due to roommate overhaul.  It released a torrent of positively kinetic energy.
Which song is your favorite and why? What's it about?  My favorite didn't make the album cause it hasn't been written yet.  It'll be the greatest song ever written in history.  Better than anything Lennon and McCartney or Liberace could produce on their best day.
When will the album be available in stores?  May 9th.  Mutha's Day.
What are your thoughts on overcoming incomplete paradigms in life?  A paradigm by nature is complete.  It's a simple signpost of change that has served it's purpose.
What are you dreaming up for the near future artistically?  Children.
What are you dreaming up for the near future personally?  Protection.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Introducing SALUMAXIMUS: The Great Sea

Nothing makes me prouder than my kid.  He's the one thing I've been responsible for that I KNOW I'm doing the best I can, and that my best is pretty darn impressive!  I allow myself that even in those times when it feels like nothing else I do is right.  Part of raising this beautiful, brilliant child, has included nurturing his passions.  I've been nurturing his passions since he could demonstrate he had them.  Starting at about 3 or 4 years old when he would scream and holler bloody murder because he didn't want to get out of the tub without me reading the Little Fish book to him one. more. time.  "I'm a little fish, I like to get all wet, I have a little octopus, he's my little pet, we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim some more,  we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim, until we reach the shore!"  Every bath time he made me read that padded waterproof book at least 20 times.  It will forever be imprinted on my brain... every line, every picture.
He has been in love with water and marine life since at least that far back, and I made it a point to feed that love as often as possible.  It would not be far into his first years of elementary when he told me he wanted to be a marine biologist.  That seems like a million years ago....way back when we were members at the L.A. Zoo and the Long Beach Aquarium, and, yes, platinum card holders at Sea World San Diego and we milked those memberships for all they were worth and then some.  He had ocean themed birthday parties year after year, and as he got older they became Pyrate parties, because how many times can you really have whales and dolphins for a party before it starts to be uncool to your son and his friends?  We took vacations that were always near a body of water where we could snorkel and explore the ocean, including Puerto Vallarta, Florida, and the Bahamas.  We took a spring break road trip up the coast of California and visited every aquarium, marine life rescue center, marine life reserve, and university lab/aquarium we could find between L.A. and San Francisco.  One of the highlights of that trip was a beach near Santa Cruz where we walked 3 miles down a series of bluff and cliff trails to the ocean where and saw hundreds of enormous elephant seals basking on the beach in the sun.  A couple of years ago, for his birthday he requested a high school marine biology text book from a homeschool website, and marine specimens and a dissection kit from a science education website. We've been contributing to his personal library of books on related subjects since he began to use words.  He has swam with dolphins, manta rays, and 2 years ago we had the unforgettable opportunity to swim in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico with Whale Sharks bigger than a large school bus! 
This year has been an exciting time for the Pyrate.  He's managed to complete a full year of 8th grade in a semester, and was advanced midyear to 9th grade.  By the fall he will be starting 10th grade, with almost all AP classes, and taking 2 courses at the local community college.  He's really excited and has the best kind of confidence building.... the kind you get when you work hard for something and finish it well and with acclaim.
Soon he will begin training to be a camp counselor at the Long Beach Marine Institute where he'll assist in teaching younger kids about the ocean, ecology, and marine life.  He has also applied for a position as a docent at the Cabrillo Aquarium in the Aquatic Nursery, and the youth volunteer program in the fall at the L.A. Zoo.  We've also begun the overwhelmingly complex business of college exploration.  So far there's a couple of Ivy League institutions, and one UC institution on his favorites list....oh yeah, (selective amnesia) and Alaska University of the Pacific.  And somewhere in the midst of all of that, he'll be taking his first ever scuba certification course and training.  A very exciting time indeed.  Which brings me to the purpose of this post...
The Pyrate has just launched SALUMAXIMUS: The Great Sea, a blog where he will share things he's doing, articles about marine life and ocean ecology, and anything else he feels like sharing related to the topic.  If you have a teen child, please share his blog with them.  But it's not just for teens.  The information he will be posting is interesting for people of all ages.  So check it out soon, and join us on this amazing ocean voyage!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ginger Mint Lemonade

This recipe, (sorry there's no picture) is my favorite anytime beverage to make when we have company.  I pull out my fancy 1940's punch bowl to serve it in and it reminds me of my grandma Elee Hollins and how she'd have the entire family... about 20 of us over on Sunday afternoons after church for family Sunday "dinner" (which was really like an early supper at around 2pm).   There was almost always roast chicken, steamed rice, gravy, sweet dinner rolls fresh from the oven, either green beans or greens straight from grandma's garden, and a big punch bowl full of lemonade, made from fresh tart lemons, usually from a tree in the backyard, squeezed by hand.   Hers didn't have mint or fruit floating around in it, and she used regular granulated sugar.  Mine is an updated, organic, sparkling, and has a slightly herbaceous taste which goes well with all kinds of foods.   On a hot summer day, it's hard to resist and from what I've found, keeps party guests coming back to the punch bowl over and over and over.

This recipe yields about 12-16 servings depending on the glass size.  You can make the syrup ahead up to 4-5 days, and add the rest the day you'll serve it.  Multiplying the recipe works great too.  I usually triple or quadruple it at the syrup stage and lemon squeezing stage so that at parties I can quickly refill the punch bowl when it is inevitably empty. 

1 cup of Water
2/3 cups of Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice, Turbinado, or Raw Sugar (or 1 cup of honey, maple, etc)
4 inch piece of fresh Ginger

Heat all 3 ingredients in a saucepan til boiling.  Reduce fire and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

1 recipe of Ginger Syrup (see above)
1 cup of fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1 bunch of fresh Mint leaves
1 cup of Blueberries
5 cups of Sparkling Water
4 cups of plain Water

Mix syrup, lemon juice and waters in the punch bowl or other beverage vessel.
Break the mint into small sprigs and crush them in your palm to release the flavor.
Add mint and blueberries to the liquids and mix everything together.  Add ice and serve!!

Sparkling Peach Sangria

As spring arrives, I thought to myself, "Self, it's time to add some refreshing beverages to the readers' arsenals".   To start off, I'm sharing a super-easy recipe for Sparkling Peach Sangria because people are still talking about the batch I made last summer for an all ladies pool party I hosted at my house.  So, here it is, ladies! (and Gents...)  
You'll need the following ingredients to make 4 drinks, however you can feel free to add other types of fruit as well.  

2 Firm Ripe White Peaches
1 bunch of Green Grapes
2 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
1/3 cup Superfine Sugar
3 cups chilled Rose' or White Zinfandel wine
2 cups Sparkling Water or Lemon-Lime Soda (such as 7-Up)
1 cup pineapple juice

Cut up peaches and apples into bite-sized chunks, add all fruit and sugar to the peach schnapps, mix and cover for at least a couple of hours, but ideally overnight.  When ready to serve, put schnapps mixture in pitcher or serving vessel and add wine, pineapple juice, and sparkling water or soda.  Mix well.
Serve over ice!  YUM!
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