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the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and Planet Drum on the cover of Maximum Ink in October 1998

Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum

by John Noyd
October 1998

To say world percussionist Mickey Hart is embarking on a new adventure is like saying the Pope is going to church this Sunday. Author, student, artist, composer, Mickey’s musical curiosity in all things cosmic has produced seventeen discs for Rykodisc’s “World” series, two books on the history and mythology of rhythm and countless shows and solos. His latest disc, “Supralingua,” continues to explore new worlds with a strong bent on digital technology and sampling. While best known for his association with the Grateful Dead, it soon became evident that the only past he was interested in conjuring happened long before there was any Haight-Asbury scene.


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The Dirty Three in Maximum Ink in June 1998

The Dirty Three

an interview with Warren Ellis
by John Noyd
June 1998

The fluid ease with which Dirty Three create the romance of tidal pulls and the despair of lonesome oceans in their new CD, Ocean Songs, is both tranquilizing and electric. Drums, guitar and violin serve a common purpose, swirling with deliberate ingenuity that lulls and soothes while cutting against the grain. Billowing sails and creaking timbers have room to stretch out. Gurgling mysteries lay simmering beneath the trio’s simple nuances and subtle twists.

Formed in a bar on the rough side of Melbourne, Australia, Dirty Three sound both weathered and full of life, deliberate, yet lazy. Warren Ellis’ winding gypsy fiddle skims and plummets while the cavernous drums of Jim White sound like sharp splashes and plodding depth charges. Their spacious longing can turn romantic and does so several times, stunningly in, “Sea Above, Sky Below,” while the sullen, barren slogging of “Authentic Celestial Music” forms a musical mechanical contraption that starts out of breath then steps up the pace. The ambling ambiance is both hypnotic and ambient, gracefully stumbling in slow motion then turning dangerously monomaniacal. No better example of this appears than Mick Turner’s breezy guitar playing on the whispery “Distant Shores,” a three-hundred-and-sixty degree turn from his crashing, savage churning in “Deep Waters.”


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