Rhythm: Mickey Hart’s “Drum Ki”


Dead Heads and fellow art collectors rejoice! Mickey Hart has revealed an intriguing way for us to visually experience rhythm and I’ll tell you about it a bit later in the post.

While not a Dead Head myself, I’m a fan, and experienced the Grateful Dead at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View in September of 89. It was a spontaneous weekend. My buddy Gary and I went to Trader Joe’s loaded up his BMW with Oranjeboom Lager, jumped on the 405 in Van Nuys, blasting the curious Icelandic sounds of Bjork for the 5 hour drive north. We had no show tickets, no motel room; just an impulse, desire, and the freedom to roll…

Some 24 years later I can’t say I recall all the details of that trip, and if I could, better to leave some things unsaid…What I can share is that it was a short, but epic journey, and everything a youthful adventure Road Trippin’ should be. In the cycle of two California sunsets I came to understand why the faithful followed these iconic musicians across the globe—Vibe; the rhythm of music and community.

At this moment I’m listening to the recording of Grateful Dead from that very concert. VIDEO  The music is recalling the vivid sensory experience of this episodic memory from the deep recesses of my hippocampus. Central to this recollection is the vibratory pulse invoked through Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart’s rhythms.

Mickey’s creative spirit has taken him down many paths. The latest is “Drum Ki” a fine art collection that utilizes sophisticated technology to create a new medium translating rhythm to visual art. I find it to be extraordinary; a visualization of the invisible, rhythmic waveforms created with percussion then captured onto canvas.

Recently I completed production on many hours of percussion forward cross-cultural music with my colleagues for a rhythm-based music listening program. Rhythm has been the central theme in my consciousness. Just this morning I was analyzing the real time visual waveforms of our music when I went online and viewed a piece in Hart’s collection called The Sermon. I was struck as happens when I’m called to a piece of art. For me it symbolizes the deeper meaning of our project; to find our pulse, the rhythm within ourselves and our environment. See it here.

If you’re interested to learn about our rhythm project I’ll be presenting it with fellow producers Sheila Allen and Nacho Arimany at the Interdisciplinary Society for Quantitative Music and Medicine Conference 2013 at the University of Georgia later this month. Presentation Abstract.

Explore Mickey Hart’s ‘‘Drum Ki” and share in the comments if you’re drawn to this collection too. I’d love to know and if so, which piece speaks to you.

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