Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Gorilla Foundation Manifesto,
by Brian Nicholson:

Art is a form of communication. It serves a different purpose than conversation, as it attempts to put forth larger, more abstract ideas. Philosophy attempts to do such a thing using the same tools as conversation, and it usually fails due to its insularity. In this and in many other ways, art is better than philosophy.

And yet, this manifesto isn't a work of art, although it is a communication. It is a conversation, a philosophical text, albeit one made by one imagining himself to be an artist. In time, the art will speak for itself. Until then, this will have to do in order to articulate a statement of goals.

Olympia, Washington, is a music town, lorded over by two twin tyrants. One of the problems created by such things is the very existence of such tyranny. The other regards the way they rule, and how they've earned it. Their policies don't speak to the interests of the people, or at least the people I associate with.

And so, Gorilla Foundation exists in the service of both democracy and good art.

Gorilla Foundation breaks down both the hierarchy of the scene, and the distinction between performer and audience. Not fully, as to do so might lead to anarchy and chaos, which is good for a laugh but not necessarily good for art. No, but a balance is struck: Gorilla Foundation exists not in a chaotic state, but it does create something of a shambolic one.

Gorilla Foundation is a band, but it is a band with a fluid membership, open to any who are interested and present at any given time. It has charter members, but that kind of doesn't matter. In interest of democracy, you being there first doesn't mean shit. Take that, scenesters. It doesn't matter how early how arrived. Saying this may downplay the importance of several rather important people, present at initial conversations. Sorry.

The nucleus of Gorilla Foundation are the songs of Gorilla Foundation, whose lyrics are penned by me, but whose melodies are crafted by Evan Hashi. This is partly because Evan Hashi is far superior to I in areas of songcraft, and partly because collaboration is a key part of Gorilla Foundation. It's all about putting your trust in another person's hands. This might undermine the songs I write, and it might confuse the audience's persepective of those songs. It will assuredly create a kind of tension which I find inherently fascinating in collaborative works.

The nature of Gorilla Foundation creates more tension, and undermines the songs. For the performance of the songs, the main members are also Evan and myself. Evan provides the song with their spine, the vocals, the melody, the lead guitar line, the basics of structure. I conduct the improvisational rock and roll orchestra that swirls around that structure.

And this is where the other members come in. They come bearing their own instruments, and they are then conducted. There will be a lot of percussion, a rhythmic cacophony. There may be horns, there may be strings. There may be bounding acoustic guitars, providing counterlines. There may be harmony vocals. There may be basslines, going off the guitar and imploring those not playing instruments to dance.

There is no stage, there is no center. At a Gorilla Foundation performance, there are a good number of things to pay attention to, of utmost importance is the sound.

The sound: Indie rock. Because it speaks to me, goddammit. Because I call Pavement my favorite band, but I know I can't write melodies that good. Pavement were loose and spontaneous, there is a happy energy to their records that I seek to reproduce with Gorilla Foundation, because I can't reproduce it with my other theoretical musical venture, The Art Project.

The Art Project, along with the other musical ventures of Evan and the others involved (Notable in particular is Loren Thor, present in the initial discussions, member of The Tasteful Nudes, and advocate of Olympia scene overhaul) seek to legitimize Gorilla Foundation. The other ventures are to make Gorilla Foundation seem inviting to people outside our smallish circle. We want to paint a picture of a new scene, to replace the one that currently exists. (Well, Loren and I do, Evan seems much more content) That is what the other bands do. Gorilla Foundation is a way to prevent the flaws of revolution, lest we become tyrants ourselves. We our inviting others along, for we insist that ours is a democracy. And its a democracy open to current scene participants as well: We are not opposed to them as people, because some have made some very good records indeed, and some of them are probably perfectly decent as people. We are just opposed to what we view as their rule.

Ours is an open invitation. Come to shows, bring instruments. Join us, for ours is an exciting movement to be a part of; and with your aid, the music might very well end up being exciting as well. Excitement is a very large part of what we are trying to communicate with our art. There are other things as well, but they are comparatively boring. It is exciting to be excited. In a similar vein, it is also rocking to rock. Come rock.

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