I’m calling you out.
A great theme and a great refrain from a jam-packed CD from the National Microphone Association, an experiment in collective activism and cooperative creativity.
The CD, muse-licks, is a cleverly produced effort that contains 25 tracks from various artists that have come together under the banner of the National Microphone Association.
I got the lowdown from Reid Parent, alumnus of Raw Element and Hammerhead, now of Proverbial and a founding principle of NMA.
Parent has teamed up with Charles Hegsted to form Proverbial. The two Yukoners are now based out of Southern BC and are planning a tour of the Kootenays that will also hit some Southern BC music festivals. They hope to extend the tour as far as Whitehorse for a glorious homecoming.
This unassuming CD has a cover made from 100-per-cent recycled file folder paper (kudos from Mother Earth for that one). The cover art is a silk-screen representation of a child pouring microphones and discs from a cereal box.
muse-licks is indeed a nourishing repast: sonic sunshine that warms the soul and stimulates the mind.
From first listening, I found the album was reminiscent of Beat poetry from the 1950s with a hint of The Last Poets form the late 1960s.
Like the Beats, NMA has focused on the poetry and added only a minimum of accompaniment using hip-hop rhythms and a bit of theatrical rant to convey the message and engage the listener.
Like The Last Poets, the message is raw, exuberant and right in your face, suffused with egoless auditory activism.
“Spreading positivity, care, hope, joy and life, … Taking the shards from the fragments and rebuilding them into the tower from which we will look and say…”
Well, you get the idea.
The words exit your speakers with a rapid-fire flow. An intelligent stream of consciousness mind … adventure with every track.
NMA is out to open your eyes. The groups featured on this first album are Proverbial, The Outspoken Wordsmiths, The Soapbox Poets, Odditory Presence, Blank Space, PeSt and Random Adjective.
We all want to change today toward a better world of tomorrow, but how will we do it? The lyrics contained within the tracks possess an innate and raw awareness of our ability to positively change our world if we only step up and take the initiative.
NMA dares to suggest to the suggestible listener that with a bit of education, some thought and a change of perspective, there are possibilities in abundance to help us create a better tomorrow.
There is a bit of fun and experimentation outside the regular fare. Sound poems: guttural at times, incredibly strange at other times, this CD has a balance of fun sounds and a sense of forging a new world from the tattered remains of the old.
The NMA has presented an inspired merging of styles at the same time defining a genre all their own.
muse-licks is a titan effort of home-produced craftsmanship. These 25 tracks are all self-produced by the respective artists and, like a jewel in the rough, no polishing is needed to bring out its fundamental light.
When ordering a CD, fans of this free-spirited genre can also order NMA’s regular ‘zine, On The Rocks. Of course, Parent doesn’t call these a ‘zine, instead, he calls them “journeys of space and time printed on paper and sent through the cosmos.
“They’re just words on a page and, if no one reads them, then we’re just yelling on a stage if no one sees them.”
You can check out the whole NMA manifesto and order the CD and ‘zine through their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/nmadistro.