Mystery Music Manifesto
by Lyle Beers
There is no room to breath in these 4/4 boxes with maximum compression. Imaginations sapped and trapped in shallow classes. It is like the quantizing of a generation with standardized tests.
Let us ask unanswerable questions like Charles Ives, with a lonely trumpet on a field of unsettled strings. Let us make music with creaking machines and cartoon bass drums. And on the side stage, Tom Waits will sing through a broken amplifier hidden in the Lady’s chapel, as the ghost of Thelonious Monk pounds out cubist riffs on a piano prepared by John Cage.
Let us waltz on the gun deck, dipping and rolling to Straussian tempos on a tempest sea, holding at the peak of a wave, staring into each others eyes, before falling back into the arms of the orchestra.
After years of looping in a ProTools prison, Ástor Piazzolla will break us out—hiding us in his pianissimos and fortes. As hints and allegations are murmured, we will retreat to the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum between openings and closings. There we will mourn those left behind, scream for the Earth, and Nina Simone will break our hearts with the saddest song in the world. We will repent, sweat, wail and moan in the gospel tent as Reverend Mingus admonishes, “you better git it in your souls!”
Once free, we will shimmer in the desert with Sigur Rós in a mirage of Debussy. We will rob the box office to pay Bill Frisell to play hints of Radiohead on an AM station merging with Stravinsky static and Sousa marches as we drive on the backside of Mount Wachusett with Amon Tobin and Tim Hecker clouding up the back seat.
On the run, we will hum a little prayer for you as we sneak past the guard who whistles Erik Satie. We will sleep in Music for Airports while dreaming of white rabbits and Django Reinhardt. The day after, a blister-lipped second line will lead the parade to an empty pool at the YMCA. We will hide the Sun City Girls in the innervisions of Balinese Gamelan music that open up into delicate and jagged spiraling infinities, koans folding back into koans.
Let us out to play in the mud like the children of Hendrix and Zeppelin, as exiled gods and goddesses. We will all convene at a speakeasy in North Beach and drink the Bitch’s Brew. Ferlinghetti will hand each of us flyers for a time-travel tour with the Animal Collective back to Luxor.
There will be a holy night at the Acid Mother’s Temple with blood on the strings, moogs in the fountain, and tablas, veenas and sitars to delight. Serra & Richter will build the set while Sonic Youth add the beautiful rust. Sun Ra will take up the baton for the Archestra in the Thinking Feller’s Union Hall of the Mountain King. Back stage you will find hope in a peeling poster advertising Arvo Pärt’s choir singing with Siouxsie and the Banshees at the Royal Albert.
Before we forget all the constellations, the star-sky mandala will be quilted back together by Reich’s eighteen musicians hidden in a wheat field maze called “Number Nine.”
As we pedal over the Williamsburg Bridge, A Love Supreme will scrape the pain off our hearts. When we return to earth, Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn will sing for our blessings and Cab Calloway, for our sins. We will be reborn in Górecki’s Symphony Number Three and our men will finally cry.