Poem: A Brief Autobiography

clitboys_1

The 2014 MichaelKonik.com SUMMER POETRY FESTIVAL, June30-July13. A New Poem Every Morning

 

I was a punk rocker. A real one. Original Midwestern Hardcore Punk Thrash

loud and fast and angry enough to convey the depths of agony

residing in our adolescent breasts, the unspeakable (only screamable) pain

of being trapped like a bear in a sharp leg clamp,

tortured by the knowledge that we were ensnared in a system

we wouldn’t choose except under the threat of torture, and maybe not even then.

Not having a choice: “I want to have high ideals, I want to love mankind,

trust my fellow man, be loving true and kind – but everyone tells me ‘No!’ Everyone tells me

‘No such thing!’” That’s what upset us so in those naïve days before

we figured out how it’s all arranged.

 

For a minute or some decades . . . → Read More: Poem: A Brief Autobiography

Poem: Finding Harmony

one version of harmony

He was the oil

She was the water

He swam through her ocean

She laughed when he caught her

Together they swirled yet somehow apart

Through eternity

 

You know that the two

Don’t naturally mix

Connection was broken

Space delaying the fix

Mystery deeper each try a false start

Finding harmony

 

Finding harmony

Finding harmony

Finding harmony

Blend it all together you got harmony

They needed a plan

They needed a change

They needed a weaver

To sing in their range

A stitcher of souls when science meets art

Bring on synergy

 

Add in a third

Triangulation

Call it addition

Of God’s adulation

That welcomes the new and draws a new chart

Possibilities

 

Oil and water

They never lost hope

Trusting believing

They discovered their soap

To bind them as one to make a new start

Finding harmony

Finding harmony

. . . → Read More: Poem: Finding Harmony

Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two

dharma gypsys volume 2

Reggae. World. Rock. Social consciousness. Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two is music for yoga, meditation and revolution — and for obsessive replaying. Created by celebrated yoga teacher and former death metal guitarist Daniel Overberger, the DGs are a collective of some of Hollywood’s coolest musicians, including one of our favorite jazz vocalists, Charmaine Clamor, who leads the chorus on the “No GMO” anthem “Wicked Garden.” Each Gypsy adds her pungent spice to the musical stew. The result is one of the most compulsively groovy records ever to serenade a downward dog.

The North

The-North-Slow-Down-This-Isnt-the-Mainland

The descriptor “easy listening” connotes saccharine elevator music, and “goes down easy” suggests diluted medicine. The debut album from The North, a Brooklyn-based piano trio, is called “Slow Down, This Isn’t the Mainland,” and the entire recording is indeed easy like Sunday morning and smooth as a polished seashell. But there’s nothing insipid or cloying; the journey is an aural pleasure. Recorded in Hawaii, “Slow Down” is relaxed, gentle, charming, approachable, and utterly pleasurable. The band covers Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk and Bob Dylan beautifully. The bulk of the project, though, is devoted to lyrical originals, mostly by pianist Romain Collin. His virtuosity, like bassist Shawn Conley and drummer Abe Lagrimas, never calls attention to itself. The North is all about songs — melodies and grooves and especially dynamics. Imagine the Bad Plus blissed out and chilling on a beach. The result is one of . . . → Read More: The North

Daniel Koren’s “The Most Important Thing”

the most important thing

When a performance is difficult to explain yet utterly cogent to live audiences, something suspiciously like art is probably happening. In the case of composer Daniel Koren’s “The Most Important Thing,” a mélange of music, video, dance, and comedy, the results are wildly entertaining, formally provocative, and resolutely their own thing. That’s not easy in a culture built on reiteration. But the Israeli-born, Berklee-educated, Brooklyn-based Koren appears to have an essential quality intrinsic to liberated creators: fearlessness. Disembodied heads singing in harmony; tiny hands clapping and snapping; nonsense syllables conglomerated into a symphony — “The Most Important Thing” is subversive, surreal, and, if you’re hip, unmissable.

Tierney Sutton’s “After Blue”

tierney sutton after blue

When one of the world’s greatest jazz singers, Tierney Sutton, interprets one of the world’s greatest songwriters, Joni Mitchell, the result, in the case of Sutton’s new “After Blue,” is a startlingly sublime work of art. Recording for the first time in a decade without her Tierney Sutton Band mates Christian Jacob and Ray Brinker (the extravagantly musical Kevin Axt appears), Sutton’s clarion voice receives stellar accompaniment from the Turtle Island String Quartet, Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings, and other heavy dudes. Al Jarreau duets — and trades scat licks with her. Hubert Laws blows. It’s that kind of album. And it has most of the Joni songs you’d hope to hear, all of them sung so beautifully, so knowingly.

Laurence Hobgood’s “Christmas”

LH Xmas

We’re on the record: the world needs another Christmas music collection about as much as another porno clip. We’ve got plenty. What more needs to be added, what else can be said on the subject of Christmas songs that hasn’t already been said wonderfully well by hundreds — thousands? — of others? Pianist-arranger-composer Laurence Hobgood, until recently the celebrated collaborator of jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, thinks differently. After hearing his new collection “Christmas,” we’re glad he does. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in twelve keys. A symphonically dense “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” that sounds like Tchaikovsky on ‘shrooms. Joni Mitchell’s “River” — with Mr. Elling making a valedictory appearance. This is unlike all the Christmas albums that have come before it. No reiterations, many inventions.

Late Quartet

alatequartet promo

Despite being handicapped by a complete absence of CGI natural disasters, murderous firearms, or human bloodshed, the feature film “A Late Quartet” is surprisingly interesting. You could say it’s an adult film — about four adults (members of a world-famous string quartet) playing adult music (Beethoven, Shostakovich), grappling with adult concerns (mortality, fidelity, honesty). Writer-director Yaron Silberman isn’t afraid of big ideas or small idiosyncracies. Working with a masterful cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, and the sensationally sexy Imogen Poots, he’s made a movie as compulsively watchable as much louder films. Encore, we say.

 

Cambodian Space Project

CSP LIve

Aside from the usual side-effects of hypnotic music — tapping toes, pumping heads, swaying shoulders — one of the interesting results of listening to the Cambodian Space Project is the onset of what feels vaguely like a psychoactive hallucination. They’ve got a delightful weirdness factor (at least to unseasoned Western ears). You feel transported. But where? Angkor Wat? The 1960s? Thanks to front-lady Srey Channthy’s captivating voice — part feline mewl, part tuneful warble — CSP’s music, which they call “space rock” is as fun to hear as to dance.

Don Johnson Big Band

Don Johnson Big Band

Finland’s Don Johnson Big Band is an ironically named collective of modern hip-hop artists. They’re not big and they’ve got nothing to do with the former star of “Miami Vice,” but they are a band. A funky one. With percussion and a flute-and-sax man. They’re extremely groovy and unabashedly weird — klezmer gangsta rap, anyone? The best reason to see the DJBB live is their sensational front-man, the wickedly talented Tommy Lindberg, who you could fairly call “the Finnish Eminem.” But that doesn’t do him justice. He’s a superstar. If you can’t seem them live, check out their killin’ recordings (“Fiesta” is the latest) or watch Tommy and his crew on the Helsinki Metro: Ripping it Up.