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Encircled by the polyrhythmic mallet patterns and echoing reverberations committed to tape here, one is reminded of how much Cage and co. copped from the near and far East, not that anyone’s complaining. To bring another New York-based kindred spirit into the conversation, BANANA “LIVE” feels like Arthur Russell’s “First Thought, Best Thought” recorded in an echoey Unitarian Church in Java, lovingly documented in hand-drawn field doodles by someone the likes of anthropologist Mic Taussig. The worlds—the imaginative geographies—of BANANA are held in tension like multiple exposures on a roll of film, and indeed the sextet’s profoundly cinematic sounds would ably update the already impossibly cool soundtracks for ethnographic psychedelic films the likes of Bruce Conner’s “Looking for Mushrooms” or Phill Niblock’s “The Movement of Working People.”
Performing live, the band donned identical woven mohair hats suggesting agricultural work in the global South, one of many ways in which BANANA upends and submits to scrutiny the conventional North American chic for the “exotic.” BANANA “LIVE” is about the respect of bandmates for each other’s improvisatory wherewithal, and, by extension, the respect we all must have for the earth and for each other under this new political dark cloud. To this end, there is a mini-parable embedded in Hassell’s album “Dream Theory in Malaya” that is instructive. Hassell famously became enamored with the renegade anthropologist Kilton Stewart, who in the 1930s traveled the highlands of Malaya (now Malaysia) in search of vernacular musics recording and celebrating the nightly dreams of the Senoi tribe. Songs and dances were composed in order to make sense of children’s nightmares and visions, and these songs were shared with neighboring tribes as tokens of good faith, mutual concern, and respect. It is a lesson BANANA has learned well.
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You may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. We'll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error (you received an incorrect or defective item, etc.).
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