Thursday, January 10, 2013

When Monetary Value Meets The Sentimental

This is a brief review I wrote recently for Gibson.
 "I play a 2004 Gibson Supreme ebony under gold.  I traded something for it when I was 17 and I see no reason to get another guitar (unless it be a full hollow body electric). The sound of this guitar is so distinct - its genius (and ought to be for the price). It has the depth, rather the essence of a hard old electric blues sound, but what makes it distinct is the light treble that is embedded in the roundness, which usually overpowers that type of sound on new guitars at least, sort of a coarse roundness. Since the treble is not to harsh and the roundness is still full, it makes for an organic sound, which is very rare in my opinion. Don't let the sheen and sparkles deceive you, this guitar is dirty. 

We Supremiers [People that play Supremes] must make sure we have good amps! I recommend an older Vox [like the one above]. Not too old tho. If you are looking to experiment by melding the older more organic sounds with the newly digitized  get a BOSS Digital Delay any of the newer models should work. An old amp with new effects exfoliates its versatility. 

One thing that some may not be aware of about this guitar is that it is great for bowing. Since the bridge is raised fairly high off the body, pointedly higher than most guitars, and a tighter action is not a terrible thing, just ergonomically it is one of the best you will find. If you want to have a totally new experience with guitar, as an idea, get a cello bow and a delay pedal (open tunings are recommended)." 

Lo, Bolivia!

Woke up to new Charango strings (Note: The body of a Charango is traditionally made of an armadillo shell. Charango deservedly means 'noisy' in Bolivian. It is said that Bolivians have strummed it atop their Alpacas while frequenting the barren Sub-Andean region for centuries, but this is only legend). For my family's sake I held off stringing it until dawn. If you play this little monstrosity we ought to pow wow.

Floating On Brackish Water

Scorseses' interpretation of Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of New York resembles a dance after reading this this work of nonfiction(?). Since I can remember I've never really cared for gangs. The fascination with 'Gangland' boggles me. But this epic written in 1958, of the gangs that plagued New York's Five-Points district, now Chinatown, is comparable to Herodotus' Histories. Hegel's 'Original History' would have a commentary on this piece.  It has that nice blend of, "(What! 8 foot man uprooting a couple trees to bash his foes with! This is fiction! Or....)." I read quite a bit and I must say that no book has held my attention like this one for sometime now. I didn't put it down until I finished it (4.5h). Speaking on reading ergonomics, the wordage is not too pretentious, you may need to use a dictionary a few times because he did write it in the 1920's, and as we all know some words do expire. Comma count is fairly low, so eye flow is constant. Prose is surprisingly smooth.

Getting to the good stuff. One of the reason this book is so fascinating is simply for the gang names. We get names like The Forty Thieves (petty criminals, on of the first to run 'the Points'), The Daybreak Boys (labeled as the first organized criminal organization, they robbed ships on the coast one hour before dawn, ironically they were also the first to be exterminated), Plug Uglies (hulkish brutes, always loves a good tussle in the mud), Slaughter Hausers (I don't recall they were German,  but they have a Warriors caliber name), the infamous Dead Rabbits (One of the biggest, Irish ), The Bowery Boys or pronounced B'hoys (I find them a little boring, but they must be mentioned in that they were the largest gang for most of the Points existence, they resemble the Plug Uglies),  Native Americans (my favorite name, the irony in their mission, lo! the gang of Bill the Butcher, they despised foreigners, immigration, and abolition).

Although I would like to asses the topic of abolition in the Points, I cannot at the moment, I hope you will find the time to DIY(-alas). One point, Scorsese did not expand too much on was the opposition of abolition in the Points. Asbury made it appear that all gangs were opposed to abolition. Regardless of their motives (e.g. Civil War draft), the people of the points were surprisingly tolerant of all races. Although many were living in abject poverty, living in caverns below tenements (projects) or abandoned buildings (sometimes it was too dangerous to walk up to ground level so residents of the earthy caverns simply didn't leave, it is recorded that ten families (or residents) did not leave the caverns for over a week), there were interracial couples - marriages - and they were tolerated (and not simply traditional 'interracial,' but Asians too), whereas the Confederates may have had a different opinion on the issue. Moving 'Forward,' I will stop.

Django Fire

Influentially, he is on par with Edith Piaf, Marcel Duchamp, and John Locke. Born in Belgium (1910-1953), but you can call him French. I like to think of him as a complex combination of flavors. Was raised in the border lands of civilized France. Cart and horse, with lanterns swinging through the night and mud.  Calling him the inventor of Gypsy-Jazz would be unfair, but he certainly is the most prominent to rise in history. His bassists of ninety some records never own his own bass, he rented it from a small music shop monthly, that was their style.  Severely burned in a caravan fire, he lost the use of three fingers on his left hand. Fortunately for the future of music, his index and middle digits were left undamaged. In a letter to a friend, he was cited saying that people ask him for guitar advice all the time, but he didn't know why, "It is sad that I will never be able to play the chords in my head." It is likely that no guitarist will ever invent a "style (pointedly remarked by Djangologists)" as era-descriptive as Django. With complex orient swinging his riffs side to side, he captured the rhythm of a night culture.  We all need more Django flavor.