Joe Cirotti is another artist I have known for a long time, and one of my favorite guitarists. Watching him cut loose with a Strat and Marshall half stack fronting Only Living Boy a decade ago is an important memory. Currently Joe is leading his acoustic trio, conducting flat-picking magic on an old Martin. If you are a Radiohead fan…here is an absolutely gorgeous interpretation of Ok Computer.
Beneath the layers of upbeat major chord harmonies and deft pop production of a love song lies this image. Coiled, writhing. Existential terror as Emily Dickinson describes:
But never met this Fellow
Attended or alone
Without a tighter Breathing
And Zero at the Bone.
“Serpentine” combined with “mind” is especially horrifying. Reptilian non-negotiable predatory purpose superimposed on (dwelling within) mammalian skull, our locus of empathetic warmth and compassion.
Excellent writing, Gabriel.
Throughout our evolution, what is the one predator from which there is no escape? The one predator capable of silently killing, even when we are hiding in treetops for safety, seeking protection from larger carnivores below?
I want to propose an hypothesis.
The hypothesis is this: crowd-sourcing safety is the evolutionary driver for language.
Let’s step back 2 million years for context. Fight, flight, freeze, fuck. Our basic survival responses to new external stimulus. Fight (including hunting), flight, and freeze are physical movements under the control of each individual. Fuck — sexual reproduction — is coordinated and negotiated chemically via pheromones.
None of these responses require vocalization.
However, what would? Two million years ago, what would be the single most useful tool to ensure our species survival?
“There’s a snake on the branch above you.”
The ability to transmit instantly an image directly from mind to mind using sound waves.
There is a multiplier effect when suddenly ten individuals with twenty eyes and twenty eardrums are coordinating information from ten locations and perspectives. Incredibly powerful survival mechanism. This is what drives the evolution of language.
Once Homo became fully erect and disconnected diaphragm control from breathing, our ability to develop complex nuanced language evolved exponentially. We now use and practice language as play, enriching our experiences across the entire spectrum of human activities.
However, the fundamental purpose underlying all linguistic development remains: safety.
I want to propose a second hypothesis.
Freedom of Speech is not only a moral right, Freedom of Speech is a biological imperative essential for human survival. Surrender that right at your peril.
When considered at the level of DNA replication and generational transference, all speech is useful, and all thoughts are useful. This is our species-wide survival mechanism of individuals broadcasting their unique perspective from their location. And as individuals, we assess the relative accuracy and urgency of that raw incoming data from other people…
Consensus is not analogous to safety, at any scale. Autonomy is an evolutionary failsafe.
Imbricate | Killick
Most of us approach music through a learned set of cultural filters. We are anticipating melody, harmony, a sequence of chord progressions structured and arranged around twelve notes separated by semitone intervals spaced with rhythmic regularity.
Killick bypasses all that with Imbricate. I love the surprise.
It may be useful to reframe his music in context of visual artists. He is possibly most similar to Jackson Pollock, in intention to avoid conventional structure. Splashes of texture and color created with appreciation for coincidences inside improvisation.
There is the deliberate meticulousness of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. Use of natural materials, organic acoustic sounds, placed within form-following human intervals of breathing and pulse. Sudden changes of direction, of attention, bird flocks responding to air currents.
Sometimes shiny kitschy repurposed cultural artifacts like Jeff Koons. Atari guts cross-wired to dismembered Buzz Lightyear, bleeping MIDI and following the main action, commenting arcade-speak.
Track 1: Demi 8-string multiscale fretless
Track 2: Symbiote 8-string bass harp (seen in Imbricate music video)
Track 3: Walrus 6-string multiscale fretless with MIDI
Track 8: Demi 8-string multiscale fretless with MIDI
Recently this last year, Killick helped co-found Habitable Records, bringing his exceptional editing and production skills to the new label.