There’s a Mucus Covered Skeleton Calling You Jason Baldinger
There are no more strange delineations than those which lie between the world of experimental music and that of new age music. New age is a long-fostered mage fogged in Thai Stick smoke, surrounded by hippie girls thrilled by tantric sex or spiritual fulfillment. Experimental music is usually sweaty dudes yelling into microphones while slamming a bull chain wired with a contact mic off a concrete floor. This creates an ungodly brutal sound that may cause self-mutilation. I know these two paradigms are extremely biased, mostly incorrect and basically stereotypical, but for the purpose of oversimplification they will fit my need. It is safe to say that both concepts will immediately conjure an image within your head, which also makes writing about both concepts difficult.
Enter Mark Mangini, or enter the beard of Mark Mangini; the rest of him will be by in the morning. It is a glorious beard that hangs below ears that are attuned to the sound vibrations which are constantly barraging our very addled modern heads. Over the last several years, Mangini has turned out several slabs of guitar tone poems starting with Finally the Fall, followed by The Color Bands. His latest seven-inch is entitled Loss.
All three of these releases are linked in the way they construct sounds, build sounds, burn and watch sounds decay, crescendo in all the quietness that sound can offer when it has frayed to its bleakest. As with previous releases, heavy card stock stained by minimalist water colors keep media safe as well as hint at the journey through breathing sounds. This is careful, numbered with thought to every square occupied. It is necessary to know this care will shout through lost city chord constructions, through ghost sounds hands that reflect with stardust.
These are careful works of time; music swirling fragile around speakers. It pushes the listener along and holds its own while still fleeting. These are sounds that align favorably in a camp crowded by parties like Basinski, Diaz-Infante, and it nods towards Brian Eno or Terry Riley. It sleeps well in tatters resurrected in new age masters like Gurdjieff or Laaraji. While it orbits these spaces it exists almost entirely on its own, a sleeper walking the grid prints placed by cookie cutter planets.
This package is accompanied by a movie, directed by Michael Pisano, and as it plays it burns images away leaving remnants of ghostly affairs. Animation and real time blur and linger in a world unmoored. The groans of spirit animals call from evolutions skulls, the voice of ancestors flying above the desert of thought, a lava river runs through hearts pouring into the nether worlds of waking life. The rising guitar with simple archipelagos lost in the gloam with skeletons that watch damnation routines. Sounds drowned by morning trains, the curse of modernity damned in the free climbing of concrete buildings. Crowds congregate packed elevators, men in gondolas rescue migraines. The pulse. Metal rails hold gossamer figures before they draw back and drop sleep in polka-dot sheets.
The clarion call of the lava river, hearts of fazed fuzz swirl speakers and the routine comes and comes and comes and then gets lost in teeth and platforms. Where is my beard, mucus man? Where are the dogs of our memories? Chords build castles for the silent boatman. If you’ve never seen evolution you’ve never seen the sun temple, the cubicle, or the elevators that think they know the thoughts in deer skulls. The immediacy of evolution runs before the death shadow can turn it back into darkness. This dreamless sleep lost in the gnash of steel string; the howl of the animal men, the sun temple waits, the sun temple waits, the sun temple waits under the chords of another dawn.
This is heavy shit, brothers and sisters! I just blasted two paragraphs in a trance. Maybe there is something to this new age music. Maybe this is experimental music with its eye closing on composition rather than the maximum explosion of sound. There is no way to know for sure unless you have enough dope in your system to kill a fucking bull. Close your eyes in the dark friends, let your new ears grow strong.
Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs, if only poetry was the strangest of them he’d have far less to talk about. Somewhere in time, he has traveled the country, and written a few books, the latest of which are The Lower 48 (Six Gallery Press) and the chapbook The Studs Terkel Blues (Night Ballet Press). A short litany of publishing credits include Blast Furnace, B.E. Quarterly and Fuck Art, Let’s Dance. You can also hear audio of some poems on the bandcamp website by just typing in his name.