Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Thalia Zedek: Flux Factory

The quiet, introspective Eve shows off the Thalia Zedek Band’s impressive musical range. Zedek made her name playing her singular brand of ear-splitting, dissonant lead guitar with Come, Uzi and Live Skull, outfits known for their fierce approach to performing and recording. Her music with the Thalia Zedek Band may not be as loud, but it has the same level of emotional intensity that’s always been her trademark. Zedek will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

Flux

Zedek: This is a super-cool art collective that started in NYC in 1993, and I’ve been lucky enough to have become acquainted with the collective and some of their artists over the past few years. They run a year around artist residency from their base in Long Island City, Queens, where they host exhibits and happenings, almost always free to the public. This year they had a Fung Wah Biennali, a exhibit that traveled between all of the North Eastern destinations that can be reached by New York’s “Chinatown” buses. The artists who pass through there stay tightly connected and have spread the “Fluxer” network of artists and friends around the world at this point. Find a “Fluxer” near you and give them a hug!

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From The Desk Of Thalia Zedek: “The Beast Pageant,” A Film By Albert Birney And Jon Moses

The quiet, introspective Eve shows off the Thalia Zedek Band’s impressive musical range. Zedek made her name playing her singular brand of ear-splitting, dissonant lead guitar with Come, Uzi and Live Skull, outfits known for their fierce approach to performing and recording. Her music with the Thalia Zedek Band may not be as loud, but it has the same level of emotional intensity that’s always been her trademark. Zedek will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

YouTube Preview Image

Zedek: Set in the future, a totally bizarre film about a young “factory” worker guy who has a tiny singing cowboy growing out of his stomach. It also seems to reference the industrial farming of fish and many other ecological concerns. Both surreal and gross but in a fascinating way, the ”singing cowboy” is actually a great (and hilarious) singer/songwriter, making it a musical of sorts.

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From The Desk Of Thalia Zedek: Cassettes

The quiet, introspective Eve shows off the Thalia Zedek Band’s impressive musical range. Zedek made her name playing her singular brand of ear-splitting, dissonant lead guitar with Come, Uzi and Live Skull, outfits known for their fierce approach to performing and recording. Her music with the Thalia Zedek Band may not be as loud, but it has the same level of emotional intensity that’s always been her trademark. Zedek will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

Cassettes

Zedek: I’m so glad that I never threw any of mine away (including all of my Dangerous Birds rehearsal tapes!). Especially since my new band E has a cassette player in our van, and cassettes are absolutely the best way to listen to road music. Latest favorite re-discovery? William Burroughs reading from Nova Express and Cities Of The Red Night. It’s got a b&w Xeroxed cover, and I have no idea where I got it. And I love that part of it, too!

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From The Desk Of Thalia Zedek: “Culture Crash: The Killing Of The Creative Class” By Scott Timberg

The quiet, introspective Eve shows off the Thalia Zedek Band’s impressive musical range. Zedek made her name playing her singular brand of ear-splitting, dissonant lead guitar with Come, Uzi and Live Skull, outfits known for their fierce approach to performing and recording. Her music with the Thalia Zedek Band may not be as loud, but it has the same level of emotional intensity that’s always been her trademark. Zedek will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

ScottTimberg

Zedek: An interesting and necessary but incredibly depressing read. As making a living in the arts becomes increasingly impossible for anybody other than the most commercially successful one percent of artists, what will become of the other 99 percent? And then just replace artists with journalists, photographers, architects, studio musicians, recording engineers, graphic artists, etc. You might just want to lay down and cry for awhile!

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From The Desk Of Thalia Zedek: The Elephant In The Room

The quiet, introspective Eve shows off the Thalia Zedek Band’s impressive musical range. Zedek made her name playing her singular brand of ear-splitting, dissonant lead guitar with Come, Uzi and Live Skull, outfits known for their fierce approach to performing and recording. Her music with the Thalia Zedek Band may not be as loud, but it has the same level of emotional intensity that’s always been her trademark. Zedek will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

HillaryDonaldTrump

Zedek: I have to admit that I’ve spent more time than I would like this summer agonizing over the coming presidential election here in the U.S. and all the divisiveness surrounding the primaries. The fact that Donald Trump was actually elected to be the Republican nominee is incredibly shocking and depressing to me, and the amount of vitriol being spewed on the Democratic side of the aisle is heartbreaking. Hey, I’ve got a fun idea for a wager. I am willing to bet any one of you $100 that, like it or not, one of the following two people will get elected president in November: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Any takers? And FYI, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

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From The Desk Of Cotton Mather: The Razor’s Edge

Cotton Mather’s Robert Harrison gets brownie points for ambition. Death Of The Cool (The Star Apple Kingdom) comprises 11 of the 64 songs he’s been writing in an extended fit of creativity inspired by the I Ching, the ancient Chinese divination text—one tune per hexagram (or reading). Seriously. Harrison will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

RazorBlade

Harrison: This is my final post, and I’d like to thank MAGNET for inviting me to fill the chair these last two weeks, and all of you for playing along. Now, read the following story carefully. It contains your mission going forward.

In yesterday’s song, “Faded,” artifacts from a relationship have emotional resonance. Expressionist painter Agnes Martin once wrote, “When a beautiful rose dies beauty does not die because it is not in the rose. Beauty is an awareness in the mind.”

Beauty is a quality we assign, a perception within the temporal, and therefore ever subject to change, as opposed to reality, which rests within the immovable eternal. Which raises the age old question about whether or not the tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it makes a sound. I should think not, since sound is perceived and perception requires a perceiver. I’d go so far as to say without an audience of at least one, the tree doesn’t exist. Tangos take two. And artists are looking for more than two perceivers I can assure you, however pure the soul’s intention may be to channel the eternal. We are navigating the temporal and perceivers are a big part of the game. Emily Dickinson, whatever you may have been told in grade school, curated her work meticulously to make certain her future perceivers would continue to hear that tree fall. And I’ve got news for you. When I conceived this I Ching song project, it wasn’t intended to be a monastic exercise in private self-flagellation, anymore than it was to be a get-rich-quick scheme. Now I’m going to leave you with a story. It’s a vile disgusting story. And its a true story. But if you’re squeamish read no further.

Cotton Mather’s first bassist, Owen McMahon, also played in band called the Joint Chiefs, who were part of the post-punk scene in Austin in the early ’90s. At rehearsal one night, he told us how over the weekend he’d performed at a punk-rock festival out in the country called, “Woodshock.” After his show he’d gone into the bathroom and saw the lead singer for the next act, Squat Thrust (I think their name was) emerging from the stall with a clear plastic cup of his own feces. This is true. Obviously Owen was curious as to what the hell was going on, and given that this was “Woodshock,” and this act the headliner, he feared the worst. As the sun was going down, the changeover went quite slowly but eventually the band started, with the lead singer defiantly staring into the crowd and hoisting his plastic cup in the air. And then to Owen’s horror he produced a razor, waved it about, dipped it into the cup and began to shave with his own excrement. But there was one problem (well probably a lot more than one)—by this time it was dusk, and no one in the audience apart from Owen had any idea what he was doing. The man had only one perceiver to witness this atrocious act of punk-rock self-sacrifice. And Owen wondered if it were somehow incumbent upon him to let the other people know. But he decided anyone stupid enough to do this didn’t deserve an audience. So he watched the man, um, lay waste to his face, and a perfectly good Gillette, pointlessly. Or as he told us over and over, “He shaved with shit for no reason.”

I can think of a lot of reasons for him not to do that. When it came to this I Ching song cycle, I couldn’t think of any, save one. That we wouldn’t find enough perceivers to warrant the expense. But once I had the idea, I knew I had to do it anyway, or else I’d spend the rest of my life kicking myself for not. And now that I’m nearing the halfway mark, I’m glad I went for it. I’d rather fail spectacularly at something than succeed dully. The reason I tell you this story is—friends, label partners, family, publicist and fans—if you’re enjoying this project, these posts, and especially these songs, please tell lots of other perceivers. Otherwise I’ll be just another guy “shaving with shit for no reason.”

This is Robert Harrison in your Austin, Texas, bureau signing off.

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From The Desk Of Cotton Mather: “Faded”

Cotton Mather’s Robert Harrison gets brownie points for ambition. Death Of The Cool (The Star Apple Kingdom) comprises 11 of the 64 songs he’s been writing in an extended fit of creativity inspired by the I Ching, the ancient Chinese divination text—one tune per hexagram (or reading). Seriously. Harrison will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Faded

1.
Dear Dr. Beachpechra,

I don’t know if you recall me, but we met, shared anecdotes and more than our fair share of Pernod two summers ago on Helmut Valdez’s back pavilion, upon the occasion of his daughter’s graduation from flight school in Guam. I am Lloyd Van Talmadge, heir to the Van Talmadge bauxite empire, and the world’s most renowned collector of historically significant false teeth (Mamie Eisenhower, Baron Von Richthofen). If memory serves, you were quite the fan of my young friend Robert Harrison, and we spoke of his music like two sea captains who’d happened upon the same uncharted island.

Well, I am a writing you today because I am desperately concerned about him; and our mutual acquaintance, Fitch Fielding, informed me that you’ve finally found favor following your formerly fledgling fantasy to furnish families with fully functioning fiduciaries—in Austin, Texas. Oh, praise God! But lest we get carried away, please consider my friend for I fear he’s freaking out. As you may well know, his much publicized affair with the fine French concert piano Bridgette DuBois ended quite badly. There are now rumors surfacing that he’s been spotted late nights wandering the streets of south Austin in nothing but a bathrobe and Chinese slippers, pushing a shopping cart of her sheet music. And then today I received in the mail the enclosed—this finely fashioned fastidious farewell to a flickering flame fraught with fatal flaws. A cassette tape marked simply, “just in case” wrapped in a monogrammed silk pillowcase with the initials B.D. and stuffed in a paper bag! Oh, it makes me want to use the F word. Please help my friend …

Fondly and affectionately
LVT

(chomp chomp)

2.
Harrison: I have a song for you today. It’s called “Faded,” and it corresponds to the 64th, or final hexagram of the I Ching. (Remember I am writing these experientially, not sequentially.) And that reading is: 64. Before Completion/Not Yet Fulfilled. Strange right? Logic would suggest that “After Completion,” which is the 63rd hexagram, should wrap things up. But the I Ching states that disorder and chaos immediately follow “After Completion” and always precede 1. Creation, where it all starts all over again. It’s like moving out of a house where you’ve had a life, and starting over in a new place. At first, everything’s in boxes and you don’t know where the light switches are.

“Faded” by Cotton Mather
Written by Robert Harrison and Nicole Atkins
Performed by Robert Harrison, Whit Williams and Rick Richards
Recorded and mixed by RH and mastered by Michael Hynes

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From The Desk Of Cotton Mather: Ask Doctor Robert

Cotton Mather’s Robert Harrison gets brownie points for ambition. Death Of The Cool (The Star Apple Kingdom) comprises 11 of the 64 songs he’s been writing in an extended fit of creativity inspired by the I Ching, the ancient Chinese divination text—one tune per hexagram (or reading). Seriously. Harrison will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

RingoStarr

Harrison: My best dating advice for my women friends is: Never ever date a man who says he hates sports. There’s a lot that comes along with that you don’t want any part of. Trust me.

Since earliest civilization, man has made art out of his physical battle against the laws of gravity in the form of athletics. It’s as basic to our nature as music or dance. In fact, you’d be far better off dating a man who says he hates music because he’s not taking issue with something so archetypally male. We had a bass player do a brief stint with Cotton Mather years ago who used to roam about the rehearsal room like a wounded buffalo saying, “I don’t see why anybody should get paid for being good at playing with a ball.” My Google psycho-emotional translator says, “I stunk at sports as a kid, got picked last, have resented it all these years and am still trying to overcompensate.” Not sexy, ladies. It’s like the “musician” who tells you Ringo Starr wasn’t a good drummer.

Which brings me to my second point: advice for musicians. Never, ever waste your time with a musician who truly believes Ringo was no good. The person who posits this preposterous premise probably perrididdled unprofessionally and pointlessly, prior to proving he was poorly prepared or appointed for prime-time playing. A Rush fan, no doubt. Or the jazz drummer who claims, “I can play rock.” Which means he can’t and doesn’t even know what it is, having failed to bridge the gap between doing and being. The one jazz drummer I know who has become a tremendous rock n’ roll drummer is Chris Searles. Because he knew it was a completely different art form that he was not particularly good at. But the jokers who insist Ringo was a hack are intractable on the matter. I guess it makes them feel better somehow about their own inadequacies. Enough!

Any of you Ringo-haters reading this (which you probably aren’t because you don’t really like music and just don’t know it), let me ask you a question. What do you know that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Martin, Glyn Johns, George Harrison, Phil Collins, Tom Petty—and the list goes on—don’t know? Maybe the guy who played in the band with the most number-one hits ever was actually a master. I can tell you as someone who makes records for a living, that without a great vocal take and a great drum track, you have nothing. Everything else is secondary.

But alas, if they believe this nonsense, their ego has gone way too far down that road for me to turn them around. It’s like the person who is going to vote for Trump, no matter what he says or does between now until Election Day. He could murder a nun with his bare hands on live television and they’d still cast their lot with him. Gleefully!

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From The Desk Of Cotton Mather: Know Your Demographic, Part 2

Cotton Mather’s Robert Harrison gets brownie points for ambition. Death Of The Cool (The Star Apple Kingdom) comprises 11 of the 64 songs he’s been writing in an extended fit of creativity inspired by the I Ching, the ancient Chinese divination text—one tune per hexagram (or reading). Seriously. Harrison will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

JimmyBuffett

Harrison: Lines in Jimmy Buffett songs that continue to hit home with Monsieur Leffe and Madame Côtes du Rhône:

“Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum”
“Heaven on earth with an onion slice”
“Why don’t we get drunk and … ” (I won’t dignify it)

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From The Desk Of Cotton Mather: Know Your Demographic, Part 1

Cotton Mather’s Robert Harrison gets brownie points for ambition. Death Of The Cool (The Star Apple Kingdom) comprises 11 of the 64 songs he’s been writing in an extended fit of creativity inspired by the I Ching, the ancient Chinese divination text—one tune per hexagram (or reading). Seriously. Harrison will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Beer

Whit Williams: Words in new Cotton Mather songs that are bound to resonate with Joe Sixpack and Jane Winecooler:

at·ta·ché
en·sconced
so·bri·quet

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