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 a book on the teachings of astro-kemetic jazz iconoclast Sun Ra. He is the host of Bushmeat's Jam Session, a weekly excursion into sonic impossibility heard every Thursday on WPFW-FM. He is currently an artist in residence at Non Stop Maker Spot in Washington, DC.
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).
Tuesday, October 24, 8:00-10:00pm .::. Praxis of Resistance #2 .::. Michael Verdon and Bushmeat in duologue and modular performance @ Rhizome, 6950 Maple St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20012. .::. Michael is a Burning Man fabricator and critical member of the organization for Catharsis on the Mall. Catharsis is an annual vigil that features lectures, discussions, workshops, community art, music, and unstructured spaces intended to facilitate seeing and healing wounds in ourselves, each other and in our society. The most important highlight of the event is “The Temple Burn.” The Temple is a non denominational sanctuary, a place of sacredness and solemnity; a place for remembrance, grief, and renewal that anchors the event. The burning of the temple expresses this transition, letting go, the continual flow of life; it encourages the lived experience of catharsis. It’s what makes the temple a sacred experience for each individual.
Catharsis is set on a national stage, with broad scope seeking to affect the federal government’s culture and identity to one of compassion, collaboration and healing. Catharsis is the first and only event permitted to burn a structure on the National Mall and allow amplified music for 24 hours, allowing individuals to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. The event is collaboratively co-created each year by dozens of core volunteers and hundreds of participants.
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.
Sunday, October 29, 8:00-10:00pm .::. Suns of Ra @ Rhizome, 6950 Maple St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20012. .::. Jamal Moore was born in East Baltimore and raised in West Baltimore's Edmondson Village area, a place that has produced other homegrown talents such as saxophonist Antonio Hart and trumpeter Wendell Shepherd. Moore initially took up percussion, studying under Warren Wolf Sr. Moore's dad was a jazz lover, and hearing John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Ornette Coleman around the house made Moore want to play saxophone. He moved to the clarinet in fourth grade—when schools still had music programs—excelled at it, and then spent two years at Peabody Preparatory. He finally got to pick up the sax after he entered West Baltimore Middle School, where band director Betty T. McCloud both pushed and inspired him. In his Ancestral Duo collaboration with bassist Luke Stewart, Moore explores expansive, abstract excursions that involve shifting electronic textures, but even in such inky noise pools Moore's saxophone cuts an emotive path. Moore, Stewart, and Stanley have played together frequently as a trio. Moore labelled his collaboration with Bushmeat Sound, "Suns of Ra" as a recognition of both artists' inspirational ties to the Mystery Schools of ancient Kemet and AstroBlack vanguard artist Sun Ra. It'll be Khepera rising in the swelling roar of Joy and Justice at Rhizome. Vegan "Bushmeat" Stew will be served. Bring your own bowl and bread.
- "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)