Thomas Stanley received his doctoral degree in music for research on Butch Morris' unique compositional system. In 2004, he launched MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND (MOM²) as an electrophonic improvising ensemble and has since considered his artistic contributions as macrotemporal interventions (rends in the fabric of history). He is the co-author of an oral history of George Clinton and P-Funk (1998, Avon paperback) and in 2014 published a book on the teachings of astro-kemetic jazz iconoclast Sun Ra. He is the host of Bushmeat's Jam Session, a weekly excursion into sonic impossibility heard every Thursday on WPFW-FM.
Ethnomusicologist Thomas Stanley has written a book that he hopes will bring Sun Ra’s cosmically grounded prognosis for human development into classrooms, workplaces, homes, and hearts around the world. Titled in homage to a Sun Ra pun on the double meaning of the verb "to execute", Dr. Stanley’s work offers an active intellectual response to Sun Ra’s thickly layered take on the fate and condition of intelligent life on Earth. Stanley takes on Ra’s kingdom with a well-sourced rhizomatic reading.
Thank you for your book Thomas. It is amazing!!! I completed it on a bus in Germany. I went into it expecting it to be about Sun Ra in a more or less typical biographical format but soon discovered that it's SO much more than that. I learned an incredible amount, thought a lot, and FELT a lot when I read it. Tears on the last chapter. The feeling lingers. Above all (at least to me) what shines through is the tremendous love that went into it. Thank you for bringing it into the world!
~~ Prof. Mark Cooley, GMU
MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND or MOM² is an intrepid trio of improvising musicians who have been liberating zones of sonic sedition since 2004. Composed of Bobby Hill on record players, Luke Stewart on bass and sequencer and Stanley on electronics and effects, MOM² offers neuroleptic enhancements to modern life through a unique performance experience that defies description or repetition.
Bushmeat is a term borrowed from parts of Africa where humans supplement domestic foodstuffs bought at market with wild game. While the killing of primates and other endangered species for food is highly discouraged, the name symbolizes Stanley's effort to steer audio culture in a wild and dangerous direction. Dr. Stanley uses Bushmeat for his solo electronics work and his radio show on WPFW is called Bushmeat Jams.
Bushmeat Airways (w/Vincent Rado on guitar and sequencer) is an iridescent UFO landing at each of the 7 primary spinal chakras, a soothing wildness spreading like a shockwave through the silicon and steel superstructure of the alien mother(fucker)ship that has taken control of our backward little planet. Ask about special benefits available with our frequent flyer program.
Stanley's work erupts at the churning intersection between sound art and experimental music. A thought leader, Stanley's Anti-Predator-Drone interventions are rich with broad musical references, blackadelic dimensional shifts, and a genuine love for human beings and their evolving condition away from war and waste and towards some kind of collective renewal and justice.
Sun Ra used his cosmic circus of a big band as a platform to advocate for human pursuit of what he termed our "alter destiny." If something called human nature is responsible for our most incorrigibly vile behavior, he argued, then perhaps we have reached a point in history where we are ready to try another path for ourselves, a way out of our humanity. Maybe we would do better as something else. Unlike visual stimuli, sound embeds its presence in the same intimate recesses where the inner speech of thought refracts awareness and translates the jumble of experience into the portability of narrative. Tantric wisdom conceives of sound as a powerful agent for disciplining the mind. Science has confirmed the capacity of shamanic drumming, chanting, and mechanically produced binaural beats to induce the entrainment of brainwaves. Ra called his attempts to use music to mold minds "tone science." He was the first Black musician and among the first musician of any background to avail himself of the unique timbral possibilities of electronic instruments. In my own work, I am attempting to build on many of the basic laws of Sun Ra’s tone science within the limitations of my skill sets and chosen instrumentalities. My tools and methods are conducive to a sound product that is more a hypothesis about music (than music itself). According to what mathematician John L. Casti calls the "science of surprise," any such simulations of complex possible world scenarios are prone to extravagant and unexpected results due to paradoxes, instability, uncomputability, connectivity, and emergence built into the problem and the tools applied to its solution…My methods force me along a tightrope suspended over an ugly pit of disarticulated noise. And, yes, I do fall a lot, but other than my pride, it doesn’t hurt much anymore.