This show is incredibly special. Michael Musika's album Spells has been waiting to be released for two years, and the novella was finished just in time for the show. (He's been a hermit while putting the finishing touches on everything.) Spells, the album and novella, are masterpieces - genius, magical, and mysterious. This seance will be a gathering of spirits near and far to celebrate the release of this important inspiring work into the world.
"...San Francisco's Powerhouse Balkan Brass Band..."
"...crazy like a fox, convicted like a criminal, determined like the sun..."
Musika's band for the evening will include some of the same luminaries that initially saw a spark in him many years ago. Ara Anderson will play trumpet and Dave Mihaly will play piano. Also performing in the band will be Eric Kuhn (Silian Rail), Matt Adams (Blank Tapes), Indianna Hale, Sleepy Todd, Kacey Johansing, Emily Ritz (Honeycomb), Patrick Byers (Albino), Jeff Giaquinto (BLO), Mike Perlmutter (Zoyres), and Jesse Olsen. (Ramon and Jessica). Appropriately, this event is being billed as a seance. The content to be celebrated is a meditation on the true place where magic exists within this world, as revealed by an emmissary from another. (Read the full intriguing story below.)
Sonny & the Sunsets' Chasing the Moon episode premier
We are premiering Sonny & the Sunsets' episode of Chasing the Moon in honor of the full worm moon the next day. ChasingtheMoon is a monthly local music video podcast that is celebrated with a live show and screening of the new episode near the full moon each month. See past episodes of Quinn DeVeaux, Thao & Mirah, Birds & Batteries, John Vanderslice, Sonya Cotton, Indianna Hale, Michael Musika, Silian Rail, Slow Motion Cowboys, Oona, Judgement Day, Lavay Smith, Foxtails Brigade, Steve Taylor, Kacey Johansing, TaughtMe, the Devotionals, Magic Leaves, Sea of Bees, & Ever Isles.
"Spells" is the title shared by the record and novella slated for a March 18th release by Michael Musika. The text and related music combine to form a highly crafted and intricately layered document. The text proclaims itself to be the transcription of a story told bya shape shifting, fugitive, animal spirit who passes through the boundaries that separate the land of the living from the land of the dead. The motivation behind the spirit's travels we learn is to provide willing souls with the way to defeat a fascist oligarchy. Meanwhile, the music is a thematic interwoven suite, both distinctly present, and instantly antique. Densely acrobatic rhyme schemes are invoked melodically over orchestral arrangements with a childlike disregard for the unnecessary constraints of convention, without losing an acute ear for all that is vibrant and essential in the traditions of folk and pop.
Michael Musika will tell you that he did not enter the path that led to the creation of this masterpiece by way of a fortunate last name, nor by a childhood spent in practicing music (he dreamed of being a baseball player). Rather he insists that the decision to become a musician was based on a parable relayed to him by a coyote while stranded, existentially and literally, on the verge of adulthood on a desolate roadside in central Colorado. That fateful meeting occured in July of 1998.
Shortly after hearing the coyote's words, Musika made his way to San Franciso and taught himself to sing and to play guitar. It was not an easy process. He spent years tagging along and observing up and comers Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes, Dave Mihaly, and Ara Anderson who were generous enough to occasionally share the stage with this determined, young apprentice. The early work was awkard and tempermental. Audiences perceived Musika to be a provocative curiosity at best. Eventually, the vision and faith bestowed upon him by more experienced musicians were rewarded. Through unparalleled devotion to craft, and a boundless imagination, the unrefined novice took long strides toward becoming a master.
Fast forward to September 2008, when Musika went into Studio C of Hyde Street Studios to record his first album. In addition to providing each of the talented musicians recruited for the task with lyric sheets and charts of the music, Musika also included a swiftly rendered version of the parable told to him by the coyote many years ago. He thought perhaps the story could lend unity to the collection of songs slated for recording. It turned out to be a momentous decision. The musicians took the idea seriously and the story profoundly influenced the aural imagary rendered in their recorded performances. Whenever a decision needed to be settled regarding the direction of a part, drummer Jesse Olsen would read aloud from the story's text and divine what musical solution the plot portended. Furthermore, at the conclusion of the session Olsen insisted that the recorded music must not be released without the story. Musika did not believe the story was captured well enough in its present form. Olsen shrugged his shoulders and said: "Then finish it."
Two and half years later, after countless hours of difficult work, both the record, and the Novella that contains the story that inspired its creation are complete and scheduled for release at a March 18th engagement at the Rickshaw Stop. Musika's band for the evening will include some of the same luminaries that initially saw a spark in him many years ago. Ara Anderson will play trumpet and Dave Mihaly will play piano. Also performing in the band will be Eric Kuhn (Silian Rail), Matt Adams (Blank Tapes), Indianna Hale, Sleepy Todd, Kacey Johansing, Emily Ritz (Honeycomb), Patrick Byers (Albino), Jeff Giaquinto (BLO), Mike Perlmutter (Zoyres), and Jesse Olsen. (Ramon and Jessica)
Appropriately, this event is being billed as a seance. The content to be celebrated is a meditation on the true place where magic exists within this world, as revealed by an emmissary from another.
*to subscribe to the weekly-ish email version of this list, to say hi, or to suggest an event or update (a sentence or two description w/ the who, what, where, when), please email me: email@example.com