Murmur 85 : Tom Scharpling "Full Battle Prattle"

When Conversation Is Art.  In an age where rhetoric is mistaken for communication, let's spare a thought for times we've spoken, been heard, then returned such favor with our own.  Now, take a moment and count how many of those moments you've had, recently.  Finished counting, already?  Us, too.  Iconic creator Tom Scharpling ("The Best Show") has made communication art & craft his life's work; an unending series of conversations both true and false; hilarious, yet deceptively insightful.  Sadly, in our experience, with the potential of real talk comes a real downside.  Particularly when one's "job" resembles what one was taught to do as a human being.  Who knew conversation could be so heartbreaking?  

Murmur 84 : John Darnielle "My Own Private Iowa"

Hometown Art & Artists.  Let's explore the fuel, fate, and fascination of the artist who lives and creates outside of "traditional" centers of art, such as New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo and elsewhere.  Do artists who defy these hubs of creative traffic do themselves a vocational disservice, or have they discovered the 21st Century's worst-kept-secret?  To wit, we've established that an artist needs an audience, but how large a one?  And are artists even entitled to that ever-elusive work/life/sanity balance?  The well-traveled, oft-acclaimed John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats (currently based in Durham, North Carolina, USA) could be onto something...and we don't mean merely a better price-per-square-foot.  

Murmur 83 : Mike Patton "Forever '22"

WORLD PREMIERE : Mike Patton.  We are honored to both present the World Premiere of a track from Mike's unforgettable score to the film "1922" -- a script adapted from the novella by Stephen King -- and to talk cinephilia with one of the great living polymathic plumbers.  To be able to visit Movie Dorkdom with Mike is as humbling as it is rare.  Yet, though Dorkdum certainly has its privileges, can you love something too much be able to make it your vocation?  Mike is living and scoring proof to the contrary.  Perhaps you have to love it to do as well as he has for so long and in so many formats.  Even plumbers love their pipes.

Murmur 82 : Pete Tong "Club Darwin"

The DJ.  Certain figures, certain forms, certain words survive in time because they were simply great from the jump.  The DJ has gone from "great idea" to "transcendental figure" in no time.  And, as the age of curation only strengthens, so shall the spell this hybrid artist (half-lover/half-craftsperson) casts.  Cue: pioneering DJ, Pete Tong!  There is an underbelly, however; as the DJ-life is, ironically, not for the romantic.  Long nights short rests, and expectations to mix for the masses.  Hang the DJ?  Nah.  Long may he and she reign/rain.

Murmur 81 : of Montreal's Kevin Barnes "The Secret To Cement"

Identity.  The classic ideal of identity is a detriment.  The Stoics should have been more clear -- yes, "Know Thyself"; however, know that you are the sum total of multiple compounds, not merely a carrier identity.  Kevin Barnes knows this.  His many faces, styles, curiosities, sounds, stories, genres, personae...are all one.  Oh, and by the way, he's also a huge Cleveland sports fan who loves a meditative baseball game at the Jake.  Surprised?  Here's your chance to not be.

Murmur 80 : Frankie Poullain of The Darkness "Better Than Francis"

The Rockstar.  Certain ideas need to be revisited; surprisingly, this is one.  It is our p.c. culture that's taken it from us?  Is it our long-overdue examination of what allowances artistic professionals are granted?  Or, is it that everyone now is called a "Rockstar" except Rockstars?  Only one occupant of interplanetary craft can untie this knot - Frankie Poullain of The Darkness - offering-up his own definition of the word; who's "in", who's "out", and who should be scared.

Murmur 78 : U-GOD of Wu-Tang Clan "Put The Flag In My Hand"

Legacy.  A maddening topic, typically deflected.  Perhaps, as with cats, there are far too many variables to manage; rather, as with Rashomon, no two people see their legacies, let alone those of others, similarly.  To make matters more vexing, when one's legacy is connected to nine other Killa Beez (aka The Wu) straight from the slums of Shaolin, why even bother?  We trouble U-GOD with our complexes; he, in turn, picks-up the flag and holds it high and, as always, raw.

Murmur 77 : Paul Auster "An Omelette About Me"

Art as Autobiography.  Consider the source of all painting, cinema, music, performance, and literature.  Genre notwithstanding.  The source is Self.  Life.  Details, echos, remembrances and references of our "real" life, midwifed into creation.  Conscious or not, narrative or not -- art is always about what we're going through at the time.  Acclaimed writer Paul Auster probably disagrees.  And he should.  As this author of iconic literature - including five memoirs (!) - has always been in the eye of the self-reflexive storm of creating, he would only feel its calm.  Assuming there is one.

Murmur 76 : Guy Maddin "The Stupidest Man At Harvard (In Praise of Beloved Aunt Li'l)"

Teaching Film.  A subject uniquely-near to us.  Can film be taught?  Yes.  Should film be taught?  That's up to the instructor.  An instructor we'd never let down is filmmaker Guy Maddin who has made teaching a subtle advocation for the past several years.  The film students at Harvard were exposed to this genius artist, begging the questions -- do advanced degrees make the film teacher?  Is teaching an art?  And what are film students truly signing on for when they study a craft and history that's concise and finite-enough to learn autodidactically?  In the hands of Professor Maddin, learning film is merely an excuse to go to class.

Murmur 75 : José González "They Choose Where We Live"

The Artist-as-Parent.  Singer/songwriter/musician José González provides us an exclusive, beyond-rare opportunity to share his (and Mom's) navigation of the early months, hours, days, and seconds of their baby Laura's life.  Do artist/parents read "how-to" books or are they uniquely intuitive?  To wit, does parenting make artists of us all, or fools?  It's also humbling which decisions are made pre-birth, pre-sound, pre-geography, pre-art.  Laura, naturally, will have the final say.