Louis Armstrong – (What Did I Do To Be So) Black And Blue – New York, 22.07. 1929

I’d like to hear five recordings of Louis Armstrong playing and singing ‘What Did I Do to Be so Black and Blue” – all at the same time. Sometimes now I listen to Louis while I have my favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream and sloe gin. I pour the red liquid over the while mound watching it glisten and the vapor rising as Louis bends that military instrument into a beam of lyrical sound. Perhaps I like Louis Armstrong because he’s made poetry out of being invisible. I think it must be because he’s unaware that he is invisible. And my own grasp of invisibility aides me to understand his music. Once when I asked for a cigarette some jokers gave me reefer, which I lighted when I got home and sat listening to my phonograph. It was a strange evening. Invisibility let me explain, gives one a slightly different sense of time, you’re never quite on the beat. Sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes behind. Instead of the swift and imperceptible flowing of time, you are aware of its nodes, those points where time stands still or from which it leaps ahead. And you slip into the breaks and look around. That’s what you hear vaguely in Louis’ music.

Once I saw a prizefighter boxing a yokel. The fighter was swift and amazingly scientific. His body was one violent flow of rapid rhythmic action. He hit the yokel a hundred times while the yokel held up his arms in stunned surprise. but suddenly the yokel, rolling about in the gale of boxing gloves, struck one blow and knocked science, speed and footwork as cold as a well-digger’s posterior. The smart money hit the canvas. The long shot got the nod. The yokel had simply stepped inside of his opponent’s sense of time. So under the spell of the reefer I discovered a new analytical way of listening to music. The unheard sounds came through, and each melodic line existed of itself, stood out clearly from all the rest, said its piece, and waited patiently for the other voices to speak. That night I found myself hearing not only in time, but in space as well. I not only entered the music but descended, like Dante, into its depths….

Ralph Ellison, “The Invisible Man”

Bonnie Jones interview w/ Human Pyramids Blog


BONNIE JONES: Foods, Toothaches
“Born in 1977 in South Korea, Bonnie Jones was raised by dairy farmers in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. In sound performances Bonnie plays the circuit boards of digital delay pedals. Her primary sound collaborators are Joe Foster in Korea (as the duet “English”) and Andy Hayleck. She is also a member of the Performance Thanatology Research Society, a interdisciplinary performance group dedicated to the advancement of a higher histrionics brought on by imminent finalities. Bonnie has performed at the Kim Dae Hwan Museum, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, the ErstQuake Festival, and the 14 Karat Cabaret. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College.” She’s obsessed with the microtonal and the microsyntactic, but she parties like a bear in a stream, is always ready with a joke and will roast you a chicken any day of the week. Whether its wearing fake teeth at the 14Karat Cabaret while Blaster Al Ackerman tosses red glitter about in a dental monologue, or masterminding elaborate, sophisticated events, Bonnie’s body of work is varied, exciting, and, best of all, just begun.

What do you do?
I make music with broken digital delay pedals and microphones. I make sound/text compositions. I sometimes perform these sound/text pieces. I write a little prose and a little poetry. Lately I’ve been practicing my variousness with seriousness.

How long have you done these things?
I’ve been inputting for 32 years and outputting at a low frequency for about 20 years and at a higher more accessible frequency for about 10 years.

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
I do these things because it makes me feel human and closer to other humans and helps me understand things – My things and other people’s things and non-human things. I feel pretty good about it on the whole. Sometimes though it’s better for things not to be understood. That’s also what I’m learning these days.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
I’m not so sure yet what I am to become so that’s a hard question. There might instead be a series of self-defining moments – one after the other after the other in a rapid motion through time. Oh this is what it’s going to be like, oh this is what it is, oh this is another one. The last one I remember was when I realized I wanted to stop thinking about everything as a problem to be solved. First off – everything is not a problem and every problem doesn’t need to be solved.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment’s effect on you?
To the last moment, I’m taking a lot more time experiencing things. People, sounds, foods, toothaches, closenesses and farnesses. I’m starting up an old machine that is latent in me called – experiential living. Also – I’m thinking about how if I want to make things that are very fast, complicated and layered — how they can really communicate this idea of slowing down and paying attention that I find to be so intriguing these days.

How has your work affected your life in return?
Every time I make something I wonder.

How does David Lee Roth make you feel?

Do you have anything you’d like to ask me?
I’m wondering how you do your hair? Or what your hair routine is like each morning/evening/every other day? Also I’m wondering what you’re working on these days.

Wash with a mixture of pearls and enchilada sauce, comb thrice with cat’s paw to increase shine, apply coagulated salve of baby tears beneath a fountain of cold running water and upon drying much prayer is necessitated so any curl will hold even after the sun has set. The trick is never changing the basic shape ever for years and always making sure it looks like David Lee Roth in the darkness but without the balding part and the shameful cutting of the locks once he reacheth fifty. Tender shampooing is always careful, on the condition that one does not transmit head lice to a family of four in Portsmouth, NM. Including dog. Some things cannot be helped, and the itching persists for years. Nature’s Gate opens the herbal way to a deep shine on my checkbook, ordered by the gallon and biotin its cousin and friend also soaking me for the long run. DO NOT BRUSH WHEN WET!! Do this every other or every third day as the weather and smell in the air dictates. Lately, I’ve been working on a remix of a song and it will be debuted at Mirkwood sometime this month of November 2009.

I Will Smash You – Film by Michael Kimball / Luca Dipierro

I can’t wait to see this film! See a clip below of Adam Robinson


I WILL SMASH YOU is a documentary film in which dozens of people each tell a story about an object that has some personal meaning for them and then destroy that object in whatever manner they wish. Michael Kimball interviews each person about their chosen object and the story behind it, which leads to amazing realizations, for both the subject and the viewer.

There are 18 different chapters filled with people, objects, destruction, resolution, and understanding. A man burns his discharge papers from the Army in attempt to exorcise his recurring nightmares about being forced to re-enlist (and always at a lower rank). A teenage girl destroys a papier-mâché version of her mean teacher’s head, which she cracks open and then burns in an attempt to get all the meanness out. A man smashes his procrastination. Another man burns his favorite double album, the one that he listened to over and over to get through adolescence. A woman destroys a ceramic bust of Zeus that bears an uncanny resemblance to her husband. Another woman destroys her Ford Taurus with a crowbar because it is cursed.

I WILL SMASH YOU is filled with moments of relief, moments of release, unexpected realizations, and a couple of political statements. You have never seen a film like this

We’ll start to screen I WILL SMASH YOU in September. The release party/premiere will happen somewhere in Baltimore.

Anybody interested in getting a screener copy of the DVD can write Luca at lucadipierro@yahoo.it


I Will Smash You – Chapters

1. Ella Grossbach, Teacher’s Head, 2:30
2. Ivan Bojanic, Procrastination, 3:14
3. Monica Mohindra, Salt and Pepper Shakers, 1:24
4. Tom Smith, Fan, 1:07
5. Susan Nolan, Doily, 2:46
6. Gregg Wilhelm, Double Album, 1:23
7. Adam Robinson, Hymn, 7:04
8. Chancellor Pascale, Discharge Papers, 2:33
9. Geoff Becker, Wine Glass, 1:38
10. Betsy Boyd, Car, 3:03
11. Mike Rippe, Distributor, 1:05
12. Caitlin Cunningham, Ceramics and Ornaments, 1:26
13. Leslie F. Miller, Bust of Zeus, 1:57
14. Molly Warsh and Piotr Gwiazda, Cell Phone, 1:21
15. Andy Kratz, Computer Monitor, 2:04
16. Jessica Gill, Simon, 1:36
17. Bonnie Jones, Chair, 2:23
18. Jeff Rettberg, Work Pants, 0:56
19. Michael Kimball, Office Environment, 5:25

Zadie Smith “Speaking in Tongues” NYRB

But I haven’t described Dream City. I’ll try to. It is a place of many voices, where the unified singular self is an illusion. Naturally, Obama was born there. So was I. When your personal multiplicity is printed on your face, in an almost too obviously thematic manner, in your DNA, in your hair and in the neither this nor that beige of your skin—well, anyone can see you come from Dream City. In Dream City everything is doubled, everything is various. You have no choice but to cross borders and speak in tongues. That’s how you get from your mother to your father, from talking to one set of folks who think you’re not black enough to another who figure you insufficiently white. It’s the kind of town where the wise man says “I” cautiously, because “I” feels like too straight and singular a phoneme to represent the true multiplicity of his experience. Instead, citizens of Dream City prefer to use the collective pronoun “we.”


NPR Story on Sonic Circuits

NPR did a nice story on Sonic Circuits 2008 – I was opening the show that night. Nice story and shout out to the stalwarts in DC who keep experimental music going.

All Things Considered, January 6, 2009 – Washington, D.C., is a gray town, known more for suits than fun. There are lots of lawyers, lobbyists and politicians. But there are also lots of musicians. Washington has a long history as a home to diverse styles of music — from Duke Ellington to hardcore to go-go — and it has been a hotbed of country and bluegrass. Washington and its environs have also been home to some of the hottest guitar players ever to touch the fretboard: Roy Clark, Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton.

Today, D.C. is home to a different sort of scene: Experimental music is thriving under the city’s official radar. One of its homes is the Velvet Lounge, a neon-lit bar with blood-colored walls on the fringe of the city’s uber-trendy U Street corridor.

An Intense Whine

On a recent evening, a motionless crowd packs the lounge’s dark upper bar. The whine is intense. It’s a relentless, unforgiving, slightly pulsating, shrill cry of a sound. It’s being produced as part of an event called the Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music, which showcases electronic, experimental and avant-garde music. As a slim, serious young woman with a bow at her throat manipulates circuit boards and digital delay pedals, the whine changes, lowering and distorting. Bonnie Jones was born in South Korea and raised by New Jersey dairy farmers. Now, she lives near D.C.

Read the full story on NPR Web site >>