{I’m}”Perfect Pitch” Makes Me Puke, & Micr0~bubbles Don’t Affect Tone?!? Rejecting the Past Creates a Future

      Perfect pitch is antithetical to the blues, and therefore to jazz, rock & roll and consequently punk & heavy metal. Although after Judas Priests’ ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ album essentially pre-defined modern metal as having less and less to do w/ African or American roots in the blues, the earliest examples of heaviness w/ Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly & Cream were essentially the blues played by longhairs who were buzzin’ on 11! The amps only, of course {yeah right!} ahaha. The semitone, the bent blues note, the flatted fifth bent up to another interval ala bebop or harmolodic theory of Ornette Coleman certainly stood the Western classical based music theory on its ear. With polyrhythmic underpinnings making the African diaspora, as opposed to the representative European colonialist standardization of hegemony placing notes in rigid, while according to later concepts such as Just Intonation} artificially compromised intervocalic relationships with each other merely to accommodate a musical instrument standardization for the emerging dominance of the clavichord/harpsichord/ piano~forte keyboard family which wa the primary compositional tool in the early polyphonic eras. Think MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) for the 17th century! 20140205_163209

     While the metaphor is imperfect, since MIDI is a technical standardization of compatibility between various manufacturers and instruments used to create electronic digital sounds, and the piano is the actual musical interface to the human performer, the idea at hand is that the basis for the agreed upon ‘middle C @ 440 Hz” tuning is rooted purely in false interval ratios artificially imposed in order to allow the then many different independent instrument builders and evolving symphonic/orchestral Euro tradition (now called classical) to have an agreed upon standardization, thus making performers be able to visit different theaters or churches to play and groups to rehearse w/o hella confusion Re: who’s “in tune”. Yet w/ so many of life’s progressions forward it had to compromise the actual natural relationship in terms of Pythagorean mathematically perfect relationships between the notes, and therefore the imminent or latent harmonies built like wedding cakes layering those same notes. The reason many chords sound so rich or “chorused” on a well tempered Clavier (or even a mass produced digital piano tuned thusly) is that they have inherently wrong numbers with clash ever so slightly, giving the acoustic effect of a wavery, shimmering timbre. So called “perfect pitch” is an addiction to two wrongs: first the philosophical difference between a communal, drum/groove based percussion driven African musical history, which precedes according to anthropology (Bird wrote a tune by the name, as well as Ornithology!) was the human races first musical statement considering we all started from Lucy’s time and place. 20140205_144314

     As opposed to European/Western music theory, which while it has much decent to offer the evolutions of the art form is ultimately reflective of it’s essential denial and contradiction of its own goal; if it was to be a progression of Pythagoras’ “Music of the Spheres”, why are his sacred ge0metrix which can only be the result of numerically proportional intersections to create such celestial harmony, in theory, corrupted by Perfect Pitch’s and standard piano tunings’ compromised scales which are in no way ‘sound’ in terms of a calculators unflinching assessment that the chords are in fact designed to sound ‘pretty’ or ‘pleasing’. yet not live up to there own goal of a universal human language of truth. There is no veritas in perfect pitch. That is why with the truly beautiful concept of the 45, 50 and penultimate 100 watt Marshall Amplifier, plugged in to a pair of vertically stacked 4×12″ speaker cabinets locked in an ouroborous feedback/volume loop with a prime electric guitar of the same mid 1960’s vintage was and remains the ultimate FUCK OFF to said classical tradition of delusional, romanticized worldview bubble now shattered by the power of electricity and voodoo of the Blues note/s. Feedback is the electro~mechanical reaction when undampened strings, or at slightly louder settings fretted notes as well sustain nearly indefinitely (well, in the hands of the undisputed master of feedback James Marshall Hendrix at least it seems infinite). 20140205_163559

     The actual fundamental note vibrating in the air at first alone, stacks layers of upper partial (many beyond our human ear yet these same ultrasonic vibes affect the rest of the signal too therefore are crucial) harmonics, especially complex when combined with amplifier ‘overdrive’ or purposefully overloading the circuit till the vacuum tubes add there own specific tonality to the guitar signal, then creating a wave of something that sounds like splitting the difference between a note and a chord. Feedback is impossible to notate on sheet music. Just like light is neither a particle or a wave yet has aspects of both. It is prototypically harmolodic in nature, unconstrained by the Western dream/nightmare of a dishonest narrative which we’ve been socially and acoustically conditioned to  wrongly believe is the ‘true sound of music’. The real meaning of the lryics (in Berry’s case ahead of it’s time since feedback didn’t hit the scene as a intentional musical statement  till a decade later) “Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news” or “I hope I die before I get old” was not merely popstars shocking the squares; these verbal confirmations that the ruling musical and philosophical underpinnings of an oppressive Western control over our thinking patterns was noisily and chaotically coming to a swift and final death. 20140207_123931

The combination of plugging the blues into the power grid, literally when John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf w/ Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy and Magic Slim as well as Charlie Christian, Slim Harpo…electrified guitar quickly became adopted from these blues & jazz pioneers as Rock’s flagship instrument within the next 5 to 10 years (piano and sax played lesser roles later on). When the ral crossroads Robert Johnson sang about happened was not at the intersection of Highway’s 61 & 49 converge. The real crossroads of infinity as sung about (well he said “outskirts” but then again Jimi always made everything a bit sexy in the way he sells t to the listener, inn’it?) on RJ’s classic really happened when Hendrix landed in London in 1966 and jammed with Cream onstage the first week there. His initial agreement to come over and test the waters as a frontman in the UK w/ Chas Chandler from the Animals is well documented and included a single request for proof this could work; Jimi stipulated to Chas that he would introduce him to Eric Clapton and hopefully get a jam happening. Well, less then a week after arrival the moment came and ws in fact better then he hoped. In what was almost certainly  the initial revelation to Mr. Jimi exactly what a fully warmed up 100 watt Marshall fullstack could do in his talented, alien spec overlarge hands could do, he plugged in his white Stratocaster he’d brought from NYC Cafe Wha in thr Village gig and proceeded to play Howling Wolf’s ‘Killing Floor’ with Clapton pensively watching from sidestage as GInger Baker & Jack Bruce unleashed their mastery and fury on this blues chestnut. May I interject as author/editor that If there is 1 time machine moment for every music fan this is mine!

     As much as I love all versions of the JH EXP {especially the Mitch Mitchell & Billy Cox ‘Cry of Love’ tour lineup since it produced Hendrix’s continual peaking brilliance in soloing in late spring, summer and early fall 1970} Ginger Baker was simply the innovator heavy drumming and the obvious technical king of it’s new form. Jack Bruce was an improvisational monster on the20140201_161527 bass guitar, combining the  later players in Jimi’s bands strengths. A wall of sound epic tone Noel Redding had which underscored Jimi’s epic freestyle wailing well with a phat air-ride on his nebulous roar, as well as the so deep in the pocket your change fell out badass groove power that the more refined, minimalist loopy type James Jamerson skills with Gypsy Sun & Rainbows/Band of Gypsys/Cry of Love bassist Billy Cox brought to the experiential & experimental table. Not to mention Jack could sing lead like a motherfucker and at least early in Cream’s run seemed to be the more prolific of the 3 in terms of stylistic compositional range. 20140207_124019

     To invert a LedZep phrase “what wasn’t but always should have been” did exist for one 5 minute unicorn fragment of the space time continuum, and those that witnessed this most certainly saw what was the best of the best of the entire spectrum of USA/UK stylistic synthesis regarding a linear socio~musical progression from Wolf to Jimi transplanted into the Valhalla volume levels and mad redhead Baker pummeling the dual-bassdrums trapkit whilst Bruce nimbly bridged the difference between  Jimi’s incendiary pyro~technique on the wang bar and feedback and Gingers incessant mojo doom vibe big beat. Did we mention the Hendrix pulled out all the stops, playing with his teeth, behind his back, between his legs and wagging his long, salacious tongue at the jaw dropped ladies in waiting in the crowd, soon to be clamoring to meet this soon to be legend backstage and bypass Clapton aka ‘God’ up to this point in history? Eric’s face drained of most color and asked Chas “Is he always this fucking good”. Of course, Hendrix would only ramp up the power in each subsequent gig, single, tour, album and solo!

Tune in next week to find out how alleged {or semi~ nonexistent?} micro-bubbles under the clear finish on a superbly grained ash body Fender Thinline ’72 reissue was 1 of a dozen factors leading to the demise of trust, and therefore preeminent demise on Zerpent’s Exile aborted attempt at revolutionizing the interzone shadowplay between hard rock & heavy metal. . . 20140207_123940

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