Brion Gysin was a Renaissance man in a century with a 15-second attention span. In a world where people are known for “doing one thing well,” Brion mastered a variety of disciplines which he employed to express himself at any given moment. Gysin was a painter, author, editor, musical anthropologist, inventor, philosopher, mystic and restaurateur. And to add insult to injury, he wore each of those hats with ease and remarkable panache. Surrealist ringleader André Breton, Beat novelist William S. Burroughs and Rolling Stone Brian Jones all recognized his brilliance, yet Brion’s work for some reason went virtually unnoticed by the public.
As an artist, Gysin painted otherworldly figures that danced around the canvas like cryptic Arabic and Japanese calligraphy. He was embraced and then quickly expelled (for vague reasons) by the Surrealists. In truth, Brion simply wasn’t the type to espouse the party platform, no matter how bizarre the doctrine. (Although he’s been associated with the Beats through his connection to Burroughs, Gysin would never claim to be one of that clubby bunch either.)
On Tuesday February 23rd at 9 pm THE TEHRAN-DAKAR BROTHERS will play their first set of 2010 at Nublu (62 Avenue C and E.4th St.) in the East Village. The band is as international as its leader, Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi, an Iranian raised in Germany who came to New York in 2008 after two decades in Tokyo. The current line-up includes Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi, who plays a searing saxophone and serves as an unconventional vocalist; Derek Nievergelt, whose intense bass playing combines with the drumming of Swiss Chris to create an insistent and transfixing groove; and guitarist Alejandro Castellano, who has only recently joined the band.
Sohrab describes his band’s music as “Nu World Trash.” The “Nu,” a stand-in for “new,” refers to the band’s unique re-interpretation of the past and the roots of human experience to suit contemporary needs. “World” indicates the truly global reach and influences of The Tehran-Dakar Brothers, which blends melodies from Iran with African and African-American rhythms. Sohrab’s playing has drawn admiration from Salif Keita and Ornette Coleman, who are also two sources of inspiration for the band. ”Trash” means that the band is not afraid to play music that is neither “nice” nor immediately accessible. He’s not interested in playing music as background or vapid entertainment. Instead, he says he’s not afraid to use any idiom from punk to free jazz in order to get his musical point across. Their music can be very beautifully lyrical or edgy, loud, aggressive, and angry.