Thinking Plague — A History of Madness
(Cuneiform Rune 180, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01
Most music critics (and listeners too) tend to get caught up in the genre game when describing music. We think in terms of qualities like loud/soft, electric/acoustic, rocks/doesn’t. But there are other ways of describing music that are equally valid, though they may require a shift in thought patterns. The dichotomy I’m thinking of (that was brought to mind by listening to Thinking Plague) is hard to describe, but could be likened to the difference between a photograph and a moving picture. Most music based on popular forms (as opposed to academic) is like a photo in that it describes a single situation, presents a particular place, sometimes covering it from multiple angles (for example in the verse and chorus), but remaining on a set topic. A movie, on the other hand, usually presents a journey of some kind. There may be themes running through it, but where you end up is not where you started. Thinking Plague’s music is like that. The album is a journey from start to end, and you never pass by the same scene twice. Parts of it are manic and dissonant, as if you’re passing through a busy city; other parts are quiet and contemplative – a forest with a running stream. The journey is not always exciting – but what real journey is? You have to slow yourself down and listen carefully while you’ve got the chance, because a life without rest is exhausting, and something new is coming just around the bend.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more