Dr. Thomas Stanley (a/k/a Bushmeat Sound)
is an author, artist, and scholar deeply committed to audio
culture in the service of joy, justice, and noetic (r)evolution.
TWO EARS AT A TIME
Thomas Stanley received his doctoral degree in music for research on Butch Morris' unique compositional system. In 2004, he launched MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND (MOM²) as an electrophonic improvising ensemble and has since considered his artistic contributions as macrotemporal interventions (rips in the fabric of history). He is the co-author of an oral history of George Clinton and P-Funk (1998, Avon paperback) and in 2014 (Wasteland) published
THE EXECUTION of SUN RA
Ethnomusicologist Thomas Stanley has written a book that he hopes will bring Sun Ra’s cosmically grounded prognosis for human development into classrooms, workplaces, homes, and hearts around the world. Titled in homage to a Sun Ra pun on the double meaning of the verb "to execute", Dr. Stanley’s work offers an active intellectual response to Sun Ra’s thickly layered take on the fate and condition of intelligent life on Earth. Stanley takes on Ra’s kingdom with a well-sourced rhizomatic reading.
Thank you for your book Thomas. It is amazing!!! I completed it on a bus in Germany. I went into it expecting it to be about Sun Ra in a more or less typical biographical format but soon discovered that it's SO much more than that. I learned an incredible amount, thought a lot, and FELT a lot when I read it. Tears on the last chapter. The feeling lingers. Above all (at least to me) what shines through is the tremendous love that went into it. Thank you for bringing it into the world!
~~ Prof. Mark Cooley, GMU
MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND (MOM²)
MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND or MOM² is an intrepid trio of improvising musicians who have been liberating zones of sonic sedition since 2004. Composed of Bobby Hill on record players, Luke Stewart on bass and sequencer and Stanley on electronics and effects, MOM² offers neuroleptic enhancements to modern life through a unique performance experience.
Bushmeat is a term borrowed from parts of Africa where humans supplement domestic foodstuffs bought at market with wild game. While the killing of primates and other endangered species for food is highly discouraged, the name symbolizes Stanley's effort to steer audio culture in a wild and dangerous direction. Dr. Stanley uses Bushmeat for his solo electronics work and his radio show on WPFW is called Bushmeat Jams.
Bushmeat Airways (w/Vincent Rado on guitar and sequencer) is an iridescent UFO landing at each of the 7 primary spinal chakras, a soothing wildness spreading like a shockwave through the silicon and steel superstructure of the alien mother(fucker)ship that has taken control of our backward little planet. Ask about special benefits available with our frequent flyer program.
LECTURES and WORKSHOPS
Stanley's work erupts at the churning intersections of sound art, experimental music, and social justice all informed by his provocative internal wiring. Sessions with Stanley can become pointed interventions, rich with broad musical references, blackadelic dimensional shifts, and a genuine love for human beings and their evolving condition away from war and waste -- towards some kind of collective renewal and justice.
Sun Ra used his cosmic circus of a big band as a platform to advocate for human pursuit of what he termed our "alter destiny." If something called human nature is responsible for our most incorrigibly vile behavior, he argued, then perhaps we have reached a point in history where we are ready to try another path for ourselves, a way out of our humanity. Maybe we would do better as something else. Unlike visual stimuli, sound embeds its presence in the same intimate recesses where the inner speech of thought refracts awareness and translates the jumble of experience into the portability of narrative. Tantric wisdom conceives of sound as a powerful agent for disciplining the mind. Science has confirmed the capacity of shamanic drumming, chanting, and mechanically produced binaural beats to induce the entrainment of brainwaves.
Ra called his attempts to use music to mold minds "tone science." He was the first Black musician and among the first musician of any background to avail himself of the unique timbral possibilities of electronic instruments. In my own work, I am attempting to build on many of the basic laws of Sun Ra’s tone science within the limitations of my skill sets and chosen instrumentalities. My tools and methods are conducive to a sound product that is more a hypothesis about musical functionality (than music itself).
Friday, February 9, 8:00-11:00pm .::. Praxis of Resistance #5 .::. Moor Mother and Bushmeat in duologue and modular performance @ Rhizome, 6950 Maple St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20012. .::. Camae Defstar (Moor Mother): I played Boise, Idaho, one of the most racist places in the US, and I was going to just straight play a noise set. But I got on the mic and I told them the whole situation. All my thoughts. And they were like, “Whoa, thank you so much.” You know, in this place that I just didn’t expect to make an impact by just being me, was just incredible. And it surprised me how many kids of colour were in these spaces. What I find a lot is that kids are losing their identities, their historical identities. It’s what I’m feeling, and that’s what they’re telling me...It’s telling you they’re actively erasing your memory. So we have to do things to remember. I’m not saying hacking in the be-all-end-all or whatever, but something needs to happen. It’s like the Mandela Effect, I think that’s cute and all, but there’s something to that. Misinformation, misrepresentation of these people that have toiled for so long. Changing our streets, destroying our neighbourhoods, poisoning our kids with lead. All of these things are in cahoots, if you will...I’m part of a collective called Black Quantum Futurism and we do practical things like ‘thought experiments’. We have a community space right now that we call the Community Futures Lab. I’m reclaiming the word ‘experiment’, because that’s in the whole vocabulary of genocide, when we think about what’s been done to us.But in a sense of reclaiming that, and finding new ways to envision our future — definitely building off of Afrofuturism. Finding different ways to view time. Finding different ways to designing our own life, not according to what’s been laid down for us, and not according to what’s the indoctrinated into our psyche. Those are some of the things that I’m doing, but as far as me personally, I’m trying to create and live my own holistic practice, and I advise other folks of colour to do the same. You don’t have to graduate from some college or whatever just to try to listen to yourself and design your own path. There are no bounds. Ancient African philosophy says that there are unlimited possibilities. So we need to step into that and create the future that we want. Straight up. And believe that we have the agency and the power to do so.
RESIDENCY at RHIZOME DC
As the organs of power retreat into the protective shell of the security state, radical art, at least offers a way to act that doesn’t necessarily require direct confrontation with evasive or masked power. It is, however, a way to act that obviously runs the risk of standing in the way of more radical direct action. What, then, defines the terms of engagement for the deployment of our Creative capacity as a successful means of Resistance? Dr. Thomas Stanley will host a series of duologs and performances with the aim of exposing and consolidating the power of artists as catalysts for deep structural change. Through the discussion and interaction it is hoped that Stanley, his guests and the audiences assembled, will drill into questions like: How can artistic practice be economically sustainable and maintain its integrity as resistance? Where do we aim this thing – is our audience always our “target”? Which institutions are useful? Which institutions are soul-sucking parasites? What, of the work itself? Must it be propaganda to be political – to be active or activism? Stanley will sit down, talk, and make art with creators who are already friends and allies, men and women for whom there is no need to develop a common vernacular. These conversations should, therefore, start and end on a very high level.
- "Six is Nine," chapter in Live Movies: A Field Guide to New Media for the Performing Arts (2006, Multimedia Performance Studio)
- "Asexual Reproduction," excerpt from The Execution of Sun Ra published at Point of Departure (2015)
- Cecil Taylor interviewed in Seconds magazine (Issue No. 5001, 2000)
- Bevis Griffin interviewed in Yoyo/so4 (The Advanced Ebonics Issue, 2015)