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#2182 - Friday, June 24, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

 


 

 

Today's issue comes from a link given to me by editor Gloria Lee. So Glo should be listed as today's editor! It is about the nondual leanings of musician Stuart Davis "His concept album Bright Apocalypse: 13 Songs About God depicts the spiritual life of one who loses his traditional faith and embraces a more subtle, nondual divinity." The link is http://www.answers.com/topic/stuart-davis-musician?hl=nondual

 

Free songs here: http://stuartdavis.com/free

 

Having said all that, Stuart's leanings are better described as Ken Wilber-ian. Within the music industry there's a gang of artists who are connected to Adi Da Samraj and Ken Wilber, and I'd like to find out more about that quasi-movement in today's music.

 

--Jerry

 

 


 

 

 

 

Stuart Davis (musician)

 

Stuart Davis (born on January 11, 1971 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA) is a contemporary American
musician and songwriter from Minnesota. His music contains elements of folk, punk, rock, pop,
haiku, and progressive rock. He has been performing throughout the United States and Europe for
over a decade. To date, Davis has sold 40,000 albums worldwide. Davis is also a member of the art
branch of Ken Wilber's Integral Institute.

 

Lyrics, music and performances

 

Davis' early work was acoustic, folky, and typically indie. The early lyrics critique the
materialism and irrationality of contemporary culture with irony, sarcasm, and biting humor. With
the release of Kid Mystic, Davis' work turns more inward and spiritual, but sustains the
entertaining wit of his earlier work. Many of his recent lyrics reflect the struggle to relate to a
divinity that is truly transcendent, and yet equally immanent. Later albums use a more extensive
and electric instrumentation, and fall under the Power pop genre. His recent work is comparable to
Elvis Costello, Matthew Sweet, Material Issue, REM, and Live. Davis has covered songs by Elvis
Costello and the Talking Heads.

 

Although Davis' lyrics are informed by contemporary philosophical and spiritual issues, they also
display a preoccupation with alternate sexual practices. In fact, one could say that Davis' work
mediates between sensuality and spirituality. Davis practices meditation in a Buddhist tradition,
but he believes that religious traditions ultimately fail to transmit the transcendent events from
which they spring. He has identified Ken Wilber, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ramana Maharshi and
Aurobindo as influences, and his work displays a deep understanding of Zen and Sufism.

 

His concept album Bright Apocalypse: 13 Songs About God depicts the spiritual life of one who loses
his traditional faith and embraces a more subtle, nondual divinity. Davis' next concept album,
entitled Bell, traces the life of an American girl who is an incarnation of God.

 

In June 2004, Davis released an album on his website that consisted entirely of Elvis Costello
covers, entitled Davis Does Elvis. Davis' next album will feature guest performances by Ed
Kowalczyk of Live and Saul Williams.

 

Davis' songs are populated by alcoholics, atheists, bulimics, drug addicts, egoists, false
prophets, fetishists, masochists, narcoleptics, pedophiles, pornographers, prostitutes, rapists,
sadists, sexual predators, suicides, swingers, and terrorists. (Perhaps it is needless to mention
that Stuart's lyrics are considered explicit and/or obscene by some libraries and retailers.) But
his lyrics also describe angels, artists, gods, gurus, messiahs, mystics, prophets, psychics,
saints, and wizards. There is a clear and constant religious component to Davis' work. In fact, the
mystical and transcendent themes render some of his songs able to be construed as Christian. This
tension points to the profoundly integrative aspect of Davis' thought—on his view, the theme of
sexual deviance does not contradict the spiritual themes. His perspective is wide enough to
coherently include much more of the human experience than most. Thus it is possible to see Davis as
a mystical poet like Rumi, Kabir, Basho, Ikkyu, Rilke, or Emily Dickinson.

 

Davis' performances include light improvisational comedy which, like his music, often mixes
spiritual with sexual themes. This repartee is evident on the live albums he has released. Davis is
a prolific (some would say workaholic) performer, giving about 100 performances per year.

 

Business and success

 

With the formation of Dharma Pop in 1998 (previously known as Post-Apocalyptic Records), Stuart has
created a new business model for artists. According to Davis' website, "Dharma Pop's purpose is to
create music that amplifies awareness, and the formal elements of these songs (melodies, hooks,
rhythms) are a Trojan Horse, sneaking mysticism into mainstream culture." Dharma Pop consists of
volunteers, who manage Davis' products, websites and performances; "Punk Monks" who promote his
shows; and investors. Thus Davis has succeeded in financing a professional multimedia company
without interference by major labels.

 

Davis has embraced internet technology enthusiastically, releasing lyrics, guitar tabs and .mp3
samples of all of his songs on his website. One can download any of his songs for one US dollar. He
also has several bootlegs and a studio demo available, for a fee, on his website for download.

 

Although Davis has received critical acclaim from those who have heard his music (Ed Kowalczyk, the
lead singer of Live, called him "The greatest lyricist I've ever heard"), he has yet to receive
recognition from the pop music establishment. In fact, Davis ridicules his relationship with the
mainstream by calling himself "the Pop Pariah".

 

Miscellaneous

 

Davis has created an original language, called "IS", which uses a script that Davis also created.
Characters from this script can be seen on the cover of Davis' most recent album, Bell. Although
Davis has declared his daughter to be the first native speaker (she was born in September of 2003),
he says that he intends to record an entire album in the language at some point.

 

Davis has a tattoo on his wrist that says "Memento mori".

 

Stuart Davis is also a (semi-?)fictional character in Ken Wilber's post-modern novel, Boomeritis.
Wilber and Davis are very closely associated, both personally and intellectually. Davis is the most
accomplished poet of Wilber's integral philosophy.

 


Quotations

 

"Love has no opposite"

 

    —Actually a quotation from J. Krishnamurti (Chapter 10 (http://www.choiceless-awareness.com/jk-fftk-10.htm), Freedom From the Known, 1980). Davis (who says that he has never read Krishnamurti, "at least in any waking-reality sense") calls it his philosophy.

 


"If Ramana Maharshi came from clay
there's more to evolution than a little DNA"

 

    —"Ladder", Stuart Davis

 


"As we were
before we were
Is
as we are
after we are
Is"

 

    —"Dharma Drama", Bell

 


"There's a light bulb in everyone
bright enough to swallow the sun
Earth and sky are all One taste
there is just the Original face"

 

    —"Original Face", Bell

 


"Mysticism is creation seeking its source"

 

    —'Twisted Mystic' website

 


Discography

 

    * Idiot Express, 1993
    * Big Energy Dream, 1994
    * Self Untitled, 1995
    * Nomen Est Numen, 1996
    * Kid Mystic, 1997
    * 16 Nudes, 1998 (Live album)
    * Bright Apocalypse: 13 Songs About God, 1999
    * Self-Titled, 2001
    * The Late Stuart Davis, 2002 (Live Album)
    * Bell, 2003
    * Davis Does Elvis, 2004. (Available by download only.)

 

Bibliography

 

    * "Infinity Hymn", essay on spirituality in Radical Spirit, 2002

 

External links

 

    * StuartDavis.com (http://www.stuartdavis.com), includes concert schedule, weblog, lyrics, and music samples.
    * Integral Naked (http://www.integralnaked.com) Ken Wilber's multimedia website: contains interview with Davis.
    * Dharma Pop (http://dharmapop.com)
    * Dream Usher (http://www.dreamusher.com/) A fan site
    * Infinity Hymn (http://www.radicalspirit.org/online/thebook/sdavisexc.cfm) An excerpt from Radical Spirit
    * How was the show (http://www.howwastheshow.com/reviews-2004/stuart_davis-03-10-04.html) A review of a Stuart Davis concert
    * Integral Institute (http://www.integralinstitute.com)
    * Twisted Mystic (http://twistedmystic.stuartdavis.com/) Stuart's old website; contains lots of fun stuff

 

This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been
reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

 

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