Crazy brilliant Ed Pastorini and his band 101 Crustaceans finally have a web site (webmaster is one steffani p. jemison, currently looking very sleepy). Also: Ed is back in the studio for the first time in over 20 years. Guaranteed masterpiece, just wait.
I caught a bit of the Konono No. 1 show at Joe's Pub on Wednesday night, completely packed, thanks in part to this article, no doubt. I've seen everyone from the Frames to Mike Ladd to Abdullah Ibrahim to Martin Hayes at that venue, and always thought it worked well, but it was just the wrong place for Konono, so very wrong. The biggest problem was that it just wasn't loud enough, not nearly, and a corollary problem was that the sound wasn't distorted at all, completely clean. The famous loudspeakers were set up on stage, but I'm pretty sure they were just props, and all the sound was going through the excellent and super clean soundsystem (I even saw that one of the likembes was running through the Joe's Pub house guitar amp, a characterless solid state thing).
The amplified volume being so quiet meant that the snare drum, which was being fucking pounded for all it was worth, was too loud, just acoustically, in the room (quite a feat). That was unfortunate because the drummer had mastered the art of playing way ahead of the beat all the time (without ever actually speeding up), and it's just exhausting to listen to. The old dude playing the extended cowbell was all pocket, though.
The most astonishing thing about that band is the bass, and although I knew it was made by likembe, I had expected it to be a big likembe, one you had to sit on or something. I spent a full ten minutes of the show trying to figure out where the bass sound could possibly be coming from before finally realizing that yes, it was actually coming out that tiny handheld thumb piano.
By the way, other than a slightly showmanship-y singer (who I wish wouldn't sing quite so much, so you could hear more of the likembes), the band is absolutely impassive, affectless, motionless. This is both cool and rather unnerving, especially when you have a crowd of Manhattanites cramped into Joe's Pub and getting down with their $15 martinis, as the band looks on stonefaced.
On the Arts page New York Times web site right now, there's an articled called "Photos That Don't Capture Reality, but Change It," with a subtitle that reads "The works on display at Paris Photo, which closes on Sunday, make a daring argument for photography as art."
Is that really an argument that still needs to be made? Can it really be "daring" to make that argument? My oh my.