Kishi Bashi

by Matthew Crain

Artemis of Ephesus, goddess of fecundity and fertility, is often described as having little in common with the Greek goddess Artemis. Artemis of Ephesus is principally the Earth Mother, the Anatolian Cybele. At some point she was adopted by the Greeks living in Anatolia (ca. 1100 B.C.), and a large temple was built for her, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. With her help, here is my (improvised) temple for singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi, who, sponsored by Mercantile Home, played in the Gold Room of The Grand Eastonian this past September.

A clean violin drone. Clean glissando singing over a clean violin drone. Clean glissando singing a thin long major 3rd higher looped over a clean glissando singing over a clean violin drone. Clean glissando singing a thin long perfect 4th higher looped over a thin long major 3rd looped over glissando singing over a clean violin drone making thin long glissando singing looped over a clean violin drone making long thin shiny sticky singing making thin long silky shiny sticky singing making long thin thick rich glissando singing looped over a clean violin drone doubled and phase-shifted back onto itself making long thin sticky singing making long thin olive avocado parsley kale lavender cocoa-red rust-red blood-red shiny clean strips stacked on top of a clean violin drone now redoubled in time with itself burbling bubbling stormsurging but careful not to splatter those thin clean artistically-folded strips of variegated glissando singing looped over a clean violin drone (that remembers being on acid and rocking out to Robert Fripp, that nods off into a dream of the 22 golden breasts of Efes Artemisi; thinking, The next time I go to Uganda I’m camping at Hairy Lemon Lake; thinking, this music sounds like a collage of all the trippy orchestral parts of Magical Mystery Tour; thinking, Rex Parker was right: Plant was the face of the group but his name wouldn’t fit in the puzzle so that’s why John Bonham; thinking, Je veux une pizza aux champignons: Je veux une pizza aux champignons avec une bouteille de vin rouge god I can taste those chanterelles and gooey Fontina right now; rousing as the clean glissando and the drone get louder and whip up a tide that spills over the sea wall and then bursts:

A dandelion caught in a pinwheel—a squirrel eating sunflower seeds and spitting out the hulls—Djuana Barnes waltzing—a janitor combing his salt-and-pepper hair—the tablecloth’s shadow on the lobby floor—creaky mechanical cobblers turning on a Gothic town clock—cheeks packed with BBs—Salomé in caramel cowboy boots and a pageboy and a pearl choker—a seething intersection of Tokyokians on lunch break—a stumbling packhorse—shouting inside a matchbox and then out under a Nevada sunset—licking the cold sweaty iron hasp of a dungeon door—Kishi Bashi’s whiteflashing sleeves on the iPhone screen—an overstuffed suitcase that keeps popping open—dive in and hit your head on the bottom of the pool—Alvin and the Chipmunks meet The Human Beat Box and become Tiny Tim strumming his ukulele and waiting to one-up Ed Sullivan—smoothspinning crankshaft in a transparent crankcase—Bruno Sammartino glossy publicity still—Mickey and Minnie Mouse on speed to give them an edge in the hump-a-thon—“The Delaware and The Levi’s River”—a quilt’s colors suddenly wash away—the fire alarm and the lights in the ceiling in the form of a quincunx—the preemie’s fist grasping Herzog’s finger—the anvil melts, and Mary Tyler Moore tosses her hat up and says, Good luck to me!



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