Shimmering and floating, dynamic patterns of sequencer-spun urgency eventually give way to lush atmospheres and glowing textures before taking one more giant leap into the next compelling sound immersion, hypnotic rhythms and extensive use of the sound-design capabilities of his instruments–with repeated pitch, filter and effects changes– to render genuine spacescapes. Holmes is creating or discovering music using different tone qualities that breaks free from existing ideas.
Gerald (Jerry) James was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Coy Hilton James and Aurelia (DeBuchananne) James on February 28, 1945, and he died on February 15, 2020 at his home in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Frances (Dunn) James, sons Matthew and Nicholas James and his wife, Alicia (Kinter) James, much-loved granddaughters Alexis and Taylor, his brothers, Coy Hilton (Jim) James Jr. and Robin Brintnall James, nieces and nephews and extended family and friends.
He was a vocal proponent of respect for women and abhorred bullying and domestic violence. Although slight in build his entire life, as a middle-aged man, he once placed himself in harm’s way for a neighbor in a domestic violence situation. He was also a staunch, life-long Democrat and would gladly tell you his reasoning behind this stance.
He moved to Albion, Michigan as a child, graduated from Albion High School in 1963 and received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and Economics from Albion College in 1967. He was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity.
He married Frances Dunn in 1967 in Bethesda, Maryland, the same year he began working for the Aluminum Company of America.
His first son, Nicholas S. James, was born on February 28, 1968 in Pittsburgh, PA. Twins, Matthew B. and Evan M. James were born December 12, 1972 in Seattle, Washington. The family spent many years in the Pacific Northwest, including suburban Portland, Oregon before moving to Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1984. Gerry left Pottsville in 1989, but returned to Pennsylvania to reconnect with his three sons in 1999.
He was preceded in death by his son, Evan, and his parents Coy and Aurelia James.
Instrumental electronica, with layers loopy and delicate, with components of cycling patterns, with surprising line breaks, with quick, associative leaps, and peppy repetition on this moment of insight or revelation. The music overall has a beat, especially the brighter melodies, it is consistently energetic. With all of its richness and vitality, this day is, in the end just “like any other,” subject to an exotic location and a masterpiece of varied tones and sample sources, such as you might hear from synthesizers, strings and chimes. Electronics zoom in like a telephoto lens to see the dust inside yesterday and then tomorrow, and pulls back to consider the entire, ordinary day in which all these things occur. It also registers the mixture of repetition and variety in everyday life, with its insistence underscored by repetition, to make a declaration about what is valuable, what is worth noticing, because that will so fascinate the listener. It is a day like any other, deliberately leaving open what “it” is meant to refer to, is “it” the meaning of this specific everyday moment? It’s a day like any other, calling us as it explores the complex and moving musical poetics of everyday life at the center of this work.
Darshan Ambient discovers a new, more vital mode of music, one highly attuned to what is happening right in front of our noses, all the time. In a way, he realizes a song could be born simply from paying close attention to the present and immediate, to what was happening outside the window, he turns away from the remote and the antique, and toward the common and familiar. Through his gift we are suddenly aware that this kind of “marvelous” event happens every day, and that only our inattention obscures it from view.
The first track is titled “City of the Seven Hymns” (5:20) and features percussion and synthesizer beats with celestial organ and steel guitar, using precise and fresh images to notate how the listener’s ear perceives the minute and shifting details of an ordinary dusk in an ordinary evening at sunset.
“Ah! Sunflower” (4:01) brings strings and uplifting feelings, the resulting sensation itself serves as both the fruit of that recognition and a recognition about subject matter, about attentiveness to daily life, and about form, with intelligent light.
Flowing out of fragments he chose but might have otherwise never used, “The Echoing Green” (2:56) is a slower darker deeper track to listen and think about, in an associative fashion that is possibly meant to mirror the way consciousness actually moves in daily life, as if concealed in each drop of water is the sea.
Up the pace again with piano sounds including the hammer strikes and reverb pedal wide open, embracing organic form, quotidian experience, and colloquial instrumental language, “Wishful Thinking” (4:33).
“A Little Wool Gathering” (4:38) whimsical with strings bright pace, the listener’s jaw drops open at the wonderful, accidental congruence of this contingent everyday moment. Or so it seems now.
Next the sound is slower and darker, reflective and somber, “He Lamented His Thoughtless Acts” (4:34) echoing the colors of the setting sun in the sky and building facades, vividly etches the gritty details of the urban scene, with dizzy whirls between self and world where the differences blur.
Heavy sustainment systems that allow long term survival, the bare necessities to live another day, behold “LightFighter” (5:11). Here and now I cannot adequately tell you why I like it (I do) and why it works (it does), it features many new textures including passages of backwards sounds, perhaps from a piano. An efficient design, demonstrating the benefits of the element of surprise, lyrical superiority in the air, to simultaneously have superior maneuverability, and to possess suitable melodic effectiveness.
This next track for me allows the present to mingle with memories of the past, in particular. Enjoy glimpses of the “Shadow Lines” (5:23) featuring guitar electronique, expanding loops which seem to effortlessly arrive at this commitment and devotion to the literal and unsymbolic day.
While the reference remains loose and indeterminate, “The Rain Has Flown” (4:49) favors a classical guitar sound, with electric guitar trills and decorations, a bit of steel guitar (country-western style slide guitar sounds) at a moderate pace that is not so up and also not so dark, to conjure up memories of other rhythm and rhyme.
The title song, “A Day Like Any Other” (4:02), has a nice energetic pace, strummed guitars with electric spices, a pronounced beat, a walk on a sunny day’s conclusion which turns the everyday – and everydayness – into its central theme and subject, as well as an object of representation, ‘a day like any other.’
The album’s listening adventure concludes with “The Republic Of Dreams” (4:44) perhaps a bit energetic for a sleep piece but illustrative of positive dreaming, an upbeat tune. It comes in with a quiet feeling and then rises in tempo and pace, to help us find out more, including how to control something marvelous happening, transforming everything. It then occurred to me that this happened more often than not, which catches the composer at the very moment of a conversion to an everyday-life aesthetic.
Michael Allison hales from San Francisco, California. In 1992 after several years as bassist, guitarist, and vocalist, for groups like Nona Hendryx & Zero Cool, Richard Hell And The Voidoids, China Shop and Empty House, he began a solo project using the name Darshan Ambient. The name Darshan is derived from the Sanskrit word darshana meaning something like “sight,” “vision,” or “appearance.” In 2008 his CD From Pale Hands To Weary Skies won Best Ambient Album for the New Age Reporter (NAR) Lifestyle Music Awards. His music has been used in films, documentaries and television commercials.
In an interview on the radio program Echoes (October 2013), Allison reveals that “Growing up with the Beatles and progressive rock, I’m always trying to be progressive with the music that I’m doing and that’s really what I, what I consider myself doing is more progressive music than anything else. And that could be anything. Progressive music could have jazz elements, classical rock, you know, that sort of thing.”
Overall, A Day Like Any Other is an upbeat, melodic and energetic album, positive and well lit, no brooding darkness or strange zones. Most of the songs are a walk on a bright sunny day, moving right along and with a happy feeling, as reflected in the cover art created by Spotted Peccary graphic design master Daniel Pipitone.
1 City of the Seven Hymns 2 Ah! Sunflower 3 The Echoing Green 4 Wishful Thinking 5 A Little Wool Gathering 6 He Lamented His Thoughtless Acts 7 LightFighter 8 Shadow Lines 9 The Rain Has Flown 10 A Day Like Any Other 11 The Republic Of Dreams
Last year was so much better than 2018, and I am most grateful for that. I believe that attitude has everything to do with having a good life. Expectations facilitate feelings of reward or disappointment, satisfaction, or whatever. Existing is often difficult and I hope we can all find our way and never try to force our opinions on others. Of course, good conversation allows for anything!
Thank you Maggie LaNoue for this website and for the various home town websites including AlbionMich.com and AlbionMich.net. Thanks to Frank Passic for his many interests and for his local history articles. I am grateful for having lived most of 2019 in Olympia renting a room in an apartment with my good friend Jeffrey Bartone, in the place where I experienced my most formative years 1977-1995. I am grateful for my friends there and in other places. I am grateful for the medical care and good health I have. I am grateful for my employment at The B Company and the opportunity to create income based on my interest in music, as well as helping Jason Renaud with the Portland Mental Health projects by serving on the Project Council. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as an opener at the Olympia Food Coop. I am grateful that I had a car!
2019 was a very good year. What could possibly go wrong?
I am now in Pittsburgh, renting a room from my sister-in-law, and I am in a much better position to contribute to the care for my brother as he experiences his transition to the afterlife. I am very grateful that his distress is not acute at this time. I am grateful that my nephews are providing excellent care for him.
The future has always been elusive to my calculations. I know that I must strive to stay alert for opportunities both anticipated and mystical or mysterious. I hope I can become a better writer and to develop more ways to experience happiness and to create income to weather my own future transition to the afterlife. The afterlife is less important to me than the period leading up to that transition. Who will push my wheelchair around?
For now, both the wheelchair and the afterlife seem remote and I am focused on making more of my time and expectations. I love making plans, I do it every day, new plans. Plans are usually abandoned when new circumstances and opportunities arise. I am thinking always that I might have sex today. I might enjoy an excellent meal. I might have a fantastic dream. I might meet someone new. I might have an unplanned adventure. I will discover something new. I have confidence in that. Confidence is self-delusion but it is effective. Life long learning is a good way of life.
Dixon Tower by Robin James Short Story: Extreme Experimental Fiction
Right now the long distances of interspace travel to escape from a poisoned earth to a new planet that might be suitable to support human life would take several hundred years to arrive at the destination. What might actually arrive after such a journey?
I have arranged the cassette collection so that if you tap one it will send a ripple through the whole line, you can watch the ripple move along and be transferred to the whole series. Right now David Bowie is visiting and I show him this phenomenon, he is amused. I wonder what it is like to be David Bowie, he seems like a mysterious hero. I do not know how to ask him and I know it would be awkward, so I just joke with him, he relaxes and we laugh.
Its dawn now and my new friend has purchased a cassette for me, she is taking me to a bus stop, there is a greyhound bus parked in the city. We are in New York City and it is early morning. One of the men she is talking to has a new morning face, he looks like he has been up all night with his rheumy eyes. I think he is also a policeman, but he is one of the men at the informal bus stop where my new friend is speaking to the group of friendly men in Spanish, I do not speak Spanish and it is not her native language. I think she begins by apologizing to them for her language skills, they laugh and assure her that they understand what she is saying. She is telling them something and they understand, they sadly look away from me, and seem to assure her that her plan will work just fine. I ask what is going on and she says “You are going to Seattle” and I take the cassette she purchased for me out of the wrapper, once removed you can see its all broken up and useless, the little booklet is fine, the jewel box is somewhat cracked but the cassette itself has been badly damaged and would never play. That is okay, as I do not have a way to play it anyway, I can read the booklet and see the ribbon of audio tape sparkle rainbows.
Nobody seems to care, that is not the purpose of the cassette, they look sadly away. The morning is beautiful, even in New York City. The park where the bus is resting is bathed in new morning light. The new friend of mine has thanked them and now she is on her way, looking away from me sadly while she wishes me a good voyage.
The men are friendly but we speak different languages. The trip to Seattle will begin soon. The light in the park is beautiful and the June leaves all give a pleasant shadow. The cassette is not going to play but the point is not to play the cassette, it is to have something to handle while the time goes by. The bus will be loading soon and I wait. I probably should be concerned about going somewhere by myself, but I feel strangely relaxed and surrendered to the only option I have, which is to go along with my friend’s plan.
Born in 1956 in Albion, Michigan, during the time of Elvis and Sputnik, Robin James was often puzzled why he was named “Robin” instead of “Christopher” as his mother was a huge fan of A. A. Milne. Because there are several other people with the name Robin James, he has taken to using his middle initial, B for Brintnall, thus disambiguating him from the author and illustrator Robin James, several musicians Robin James, a London-based hair salon stylist, and a distinguished North Carolina University professor and author of numerous books about modern philosophy and contemporary music.
The first job of Robin B. James after graduating from Albion College (besides washing dishes and waiting tables), was forming a performance art ensemble called The Theatre of Transformations, combining masks, motion and surrealist French poetry with his partner at the time, Lorraine M. Tong, the sister of Winston Tong of San Francisco.
After growing tired of struggling and starving the duo founded a company promoting a visual arts game-activity, Imagination Decks. The starving and struggling continued.
Next came community radio, putting poetry on the air, which lead to sound theater and experimental audio arts. More struggling and starvation, are you noticing a theme here? Some of the previous staff at the radio station founded the Lost Music Network and published a magazine called Op, thus the next chapter of this story is about music journalism. Writing about songs and musicians was all about vinyl in those days. Nobody knew what to do with audio cassettes, the cheapest consumer technology that just did not fit in the record stores at first. Graham Ingels created a column in Op called Castanets which was devoted to these pesky flotsam and jetsam of independent music. Soon he had his hands full and recruited others to help with documenting the exploding new audio art form, and so Robin B. James became one of his assistants. Op magazine was designed to have a finite lifespan, each edition was alphabetically themed, and the Z edition was published in 1984. With his collection of cassette culture contacts, uncounted cassette reviews, and a taste for H. P. Lovecraft, Cassette Mythos was born, which resulted in a book being published in 1991.
By this time Robin B. James was done with the impoverished artist lifestyle and was a librarian headed towards economic stability (or so he hoped), graduating from the University of Washington School of Information Science right when the Internet was first exploding. These were some good times when anyone with a business card that said “multimedia” on it was in high demand. That lasted about a year or so. Robin B. James formed a sole propietorship called Indices Unlimited, specializing in creating navigation tools for collections of media as well as traditional back of the book indexing, right about the time that ebooks as a concept took off, thus making those end of the book lists of subjects and page numbers all obsolete. In 2000 for Y2K he had a job in Detroit with a consortium of librarians, Archive Impact! (the ! is part of the name) which was followed by a fantastic opportunity to serve as a program assistant at the University of Michigan International Institute, Center for World Performance Studies. The job consisted of meeting the visiting international musician or performance artist at the airport, getting them to the gig and introducing them to the audience, followed by getting them back to the airport, after the party. Then came September 11, 2001 and things changed. At that point Michigan was a difficult place to find work, after exhausting his resources he moved to Pennsylvania to work at call centers and warehouses, eventually landing a real library job in Schuylkill County. When the city budget grew tight it was time to spin the wheel one more time, and soon he found himself in Columbus, Ohio working at Home Instead Senior Care, followed by some more warehouse adventures, and one more fantastic library gig at the American Institute of Alternative Medicine, where he received nearly 50 acupuncture treatments. Somehow before the magic number of 5 years was reached (which would have made him eligible for a pension) things changed again. Back to Olympia, he found work providing care to developmentally disabled adults which was a great job, the clients were always fun to work with, but the co-workers were difficult so back to the world of starvation and struggle. By fluke he found an opportunity to review jazz recordings for $5 per title, which provided an entrance back into the world of music journalism. If he was going to struggle and starve, he might as well enjoy the work. This lead to The B Company where he celebrates his first full year as a student of the promotional arts in the realm of New Age Music.