~Meniscus Archives~
Winter 2003
Issue #2

November - February 2004

Link to Issue #2 Home


Bynum's Corner Word Games

The Dissapperance of Childhood
Sarah Trachtenburgh

There's something about Crystal Boots
Drayton Patriota
Debate/Retort by Little Lamb
The Apothecary and Mr. Cesnek
Chrystie Hopkins
A Stroll Down Shakedown Street
Caleb Estabrooks
Out of the Box, Into my Hands
Derek Gumuchian
Travel Log of a Colorado Girl
Erin Hopkins
Santa Fe
Chrystie Hopkins
How to find your friends at IT!
Rob Hansen
Meniscus New Years Picks
Sound Tribe Sector 9: Focusing the Light
-Jon Heinrich
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Take a Trip with the Wild and Wooly Masters of the Jam-Jazz Scene
-Brian Gagné
CD Review:
Solar Igniter
CD Review:
Cadillac Jones-
Junk in the Trunk
Through Glass
and Grain

-Aiden FitzGerald
four poems
-Brandon Rigo
-Pete Pidgeon
Art Model
-Julia Magnusson
-Julia Magnusson
Dead dog
-Julia Magnusson
-Julia Magnusson
Those games
we'd play

-Julia Magnusson
Ode de Toiletté
-Aron Ralston
-Stephanie Laterza
-Stephanie Laterza
-Stephanie Laterza
Meniscus is...
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003

Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003

State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003























Sector 9 is all about peace, connection, spiritual progression, and intentionality; just look at their Communication Lowdown, online communication portal.

Welcome to Communication Lowdown- enabling the vibrationist to find a ride to a show, gather live recordings of the tour, and communicate their experiences with other like-minded cosmonauts. We have also added other topics such as sharing your own poems/ haikus on life, books you are reading and experiential reflections.
Again this portal is for you, the traveler. We believe that the connection you have made extends the physical state of the venue, environment and day. We hope you can find here, a free spirited place, to express your intentions and address topics that propel our state of existence to a higher sense of enlightenment.
Time is Art, You are Love, Peace is Now.


Sound Tribe Sector 9:

Focusing the Light

Jon Heinrich
Published 11/15/03

Anticipation started the night at Boston’s Avalon Ballroom. The air was brisk for the first time of fall and a luminous haze was cast over the heavy sky. Inside the heat was pumping straight from the celestial source to the huddled crowd. When the first note rang through the sonorous hall, all inhabitants of the room were transported to the realm of liquid melody. Fluxing waves of current drained through the squirming bodies crammed in the dance pit.

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is the shaman master of jam electronica bands. Members of the tribe are as congruous as particles of water in a torrent river. Swerving in and out of each other’s rhythm, the effect flows images of the eternal river of life over our senses. Simple complexity rings through their flowing phasing and if you listen closely, you may start to understand the collective consciousness that contains all human life.

On the front of the stage, the tribe focuses their vision on a collection of geologic crystals. Ambiance from the light cannons above enters the transparent shapes on stage and the celestial groove is focused into a laser of intensity. “Activate your mind. Focus…like a lotus….” Technological throbbing dominates the rain of fire from the braided staccato sounds. Something about this band ignites my senses into a flurry of philosophy. Events of life and history seem to equate themselves metaphorically out of the music.

This August, Meniscus Magazine had the chance to sit down with Sound Tribe Sector 9’s (STS9) bass player, David Murphy to discuss the sense of life conveyed by their music. Among the lush trees and vibrant sounds of Gamelan’s Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, the truth came out about their artistic philosophy, the mind behind the music, and the search for wisdom that, above all else, drives the band to be true to itself. While words can never truly describe the Tao as explained by the ancient Tao de Ching, Sound Tribe Sector 9 draws an audible pattern that explains the eternal Way more than words ever could.

A Tribe of Artists
STS9 does on stage, what any artist does with their work: relate their life experience to the world. Murphy and his four band-mates hope that by playing music and playing shows, there’s a group of people that relate—who can listen and feel that relationship and share in their life experience. Murphy explains, “We’re not really here to say anything. We’re here to share our experience, especially with people who resonate with that.”

Among the Atlanta-based band, there are a lot of life experiences, and a vast array of ways to relate to different people. From this, a tremendous creative energy is released, continually reverberating and becoming more powerful.

In Murphy’s mind, staying in the comfort zone is easy to do. Anyone can go out and do something that’s been done before. “But to take risks is invigorating,” Murphy continued. “It is why we’re artists: to take risks and try things that have never been tried before. And if it doesn’t work, if people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. That’s really not what we’re here to do.”

While there are many pressures in the world, distracting them from music, a healthy perspective keeps their art on the top of the priority list. In many ways, music is the only thing that matters. And it pays off in everything they do.

“We got to go to Tokyo,” touts Murphy, relating all the amazing things they do through art. “If we have one thing to say to people, it’s follow your heart with what you’re doing in life. So many gifts are given when you learn to let go of your fears and securities in life.”

“We all have the potential. We were all brought to this earth in the likeness of God. We all have the power within ourselves to create and to cause creation. There is no one here whose sole purpose is not to find themselves.”

Acquiesce on that statement. What do you need to overcome to fully realize your potential? “For me,” explains Murphy, “accepting that I didn’t understand everything, in the whole of creation, was a liberating thing. At that point I was able to live and experience life.”

David Murphy explains the dichotomy of modern day science; it’s a philosophy that drives us forward, but also holds us back. Science taught us to ask “Why?” and gave us curiosity. On the other hand, we always have some body giving us the answer, before we have a chance to find out for ourselves.

But it’s the question that drives us.

That’s why we have to give into that question and be that question. Just live right now. That’s our biggest problem; we’re always living in the past and in the future. “You’ll never have a life experience and gain that wisdom, unless you can live— right—now. One will never know the reasons why things happen unless they give up to it; just be there.”

Everybody wants to pursue his or her dreams. You’ve got to let those answers come to you and to make those connections that will further your life to the farthest reaches of your imagination—because those things can be real.

At every next step however, the choice is ours. We make the decision to take a new path or stay on the old one.


What comes from Sector 9’s philosophy of living? “Musically we hit on all those depths. We try to show beauty and show anger and show frustration and show ecstasy and all these different emotions through musical existence. They all have their place. They all compliment each other.”

Tribal Rhythms
Uttering a complex, yet paradoxically simple rhythm begins with the tools on stage. An array of percussion tools lie to the back of the stage as a foundation to the primordial beats. Sounds from the electronica family are brought by the help of Macintosh laptops aside each player. In addition to David Murphy on bass, the band is comprised of Hunter Brown on guitar, Zach Velmer on drums, keyboardist David Phipps and percussionist Jeffree Lerner. To stand and stare at the band, one would hardly notice the electronics if Zach did not pause occasionally for a few bars of air drumming.

The advent of technology has allowed five people on stage to represent a near infinite number of sounds. The diverse mixture of styles and textures come across as a musical palimpsest.

The dictionary defines palimpsest as: “a manuscript written over a partly erased older manuscript in such a way that the old words can be read beneath the new.” The principle may apply artistically to painting on top of an existing print, where many new and existing layers blend to form a completely new piece of art. Musically, STS9 is blending many past and present layers from their diverse cultural backgrounds, and taking it to a new level.

“Everything has been done before in a way. Anything new that is created is created off of an artifact that someone else created,” explains Murphy. “But you are inspired by that soul-breaker, that you can now create a song around. And that’s the way we work a lot. It’s getting inspiration from the little things and putting those together.”

On Sunday evening at Berkfest, Sector 9 shared that inspiration with the frolicking crowd. In a beautiful display, a flower bearer came out on stage to prepare a majestical bouquet in a coreographed celebration of beauty. The ecstatic dancer ran among the towering flowers like a happy young lamb gamboling in a sunny meadow. It was quintessential beauty; the display brought a tear to my eye.

The beauty is intentional.

“Every next step we have the decision to play any style of music. And there is a lot of freedom living with that mentality. We’re not held back by anything musically and we’re inspired by that,” he said about the band.

“We’re Sector 9; if anything we are unique unto ourselves,” he continued. “And we’re happy to be that. We’re about getting up on stage and playing music.”

The crowd at Berkfest was in full agreement as they let loose the largest cheer for an encore of all the acts playing the main stage that weekend. It was a full on celebration.

Sector 9’s musical journey is much like anyone’s who is trying to find their true path.

“On the new upcoming album, we’re trying to just be ourselves. Its easy to get caught up in the ‘this is cool right now’. Like hip-hop breaks are cool right now so lets put a lot of that in our album, or cut-up vocals. ...Except in five years that will be a fad, that will be a trend, we’ll listen to that album and realize we weren’t being true to ourselves. We weren’t using, or pulling that inspiration of putting in our own music. We were being influenced by [what we were listening to], we weren’t inspired by it. It’s two different things. You have to find the inspiration. And that’s really getting into the truth of the music for ourselves.”

"True wisdom is being able to see the real truth, despite your single peception. When you understand this, you'll always see the truth."

Beyond the Music: Evolution and Wisdom
So what’s at the foundation of this band’s sense of life? It seems much deeper than just music.

“We like to associate our music with owls,” begins Murphy. “People consider owls to hold wisdom. They are the wise ones in Native American culture and regarded in modern culture as the symbol of wisdom. But the owl is really about perception; not really wisdom. What owls are able to do is see through every one’s perception—able to see through, and to your soul.

“The owl sees everything about you. It knows more about you than you know about yourself. Therefore, it can not be deceived by you. It’s the master of deception; you can’t deceive an owl.

“True wisdom is being able to see the real truth, despite your single perception. When you understand this, you’ll always see the truth. You won’t be easily deceived by things, or fall into trickery, if you will. Whether that trickery be fads, or styles of music, or ‘this is cool now’. Or like being tricked into living a particular lifestyle.

“I feel like true wisdom is seeing the deception and lies that we create for ourselves. There is no government conspiracy, we do it to ourselves. We create these façades because some part of our human culture is not ready to deal with ourselves. We’re not ready to see that truth in each other.”

“We’re not ready to be on that level where we can share that truth with each other. I know that inside of me is not ready and pure enough for someone to come around and read my thoughts; to be sharing the same universal frequency. That’s just where the world is and it’s beautiful that we’re there. This is the growth that we are going to incur. That really is true wisdom, to be able to see that, and that’s something we really try and portray in our music. We try to see through a lot of the facades that are in art, and in life.

"We try to see through a lot of the facades that are in art, and in life."

“In life we try and see through all of those deceptions we put up in front of ourselves. It’s easier to do as a group than it is for individuals. But that’s real. It’s easier to sit there with your brothers and to feel one way, but then to have four other people to help me see the universal truth of what I really feel. You can easily be caught up in passion, or being angry or overexcited about things, and you can be one track-minded. I’ll feel one way about a piece of music and they’ll help me to step back and see the bigger picture—see the Truth. Get past the deception.

“What life has shown us, is that if you can be real, that’s what people like. That’s that truth that we’re afraid to deal with. We’re afraid to be ourselves in a system. That’s what inhibits us.

“There isn’t anyone who’s life has’t broken them down. Life just kicked you in the gut and you’re down man, you’re hobbling. If we don’t share that, it’s hard to get back up. I feel like as a people, we don’t share that. That’s what the Sector 9 family is. It’s about that group of people there to pick each other up off the ground, to help uplift each other.

“We’ve got to embrace, because that’s what we offer each other. That spans the globe. Our existence on the planet really depends on whether we decide to pick people off the ground or not.”

Beings of Light
Ayn Rand says in Romantic Manifesto that art is the most important aspect of human life because it allows the artist to express their sense of life. Now, seven years later, Sector 9 is here to raise you to your feet and take your soul to the sky.

As genuine artists, they’ve put fear aside and laid their collective soul down on the line. As David Murphy says, “Eventually as artists, we say ‘Maybe what I produce is going to be embarrassing, maybe people won’t like it, and maybe I’ll be an outcast for it.’ But the fact of the matter is we’re called to lay our souls down and say, ‘this is how I feel’. Maybe its not right, maybe it’s the fault of human beings, but this is what its all about; this is the nitty gritty of it.”

As the cheering finally subsided at the Berkfest stage, hugs flew through the audience like football fans doing the wave. The stage was littered with majestic bouquets; the whole scene looked like a battle of love took place where everyone emerged a winner. The geologic crystals on stage were being packed up, but the inspiration had been transmitted; it was there for the audience to take home in bucketfulls.

Seeing Sound Tribe Sector 9 play live music is an amazing way to enhance life. But it’s not just about joy, and its not always easy. “Being in a physical body is about living those humanistic experiences. Its about experiencing suffering, so you can know the triumph of the other end. Its that realization that you create your own reality. One who lives the blissful life, creates that for themselves. The same goes vice versa. We create where we live. You do have the choice to wake up happy everyday…Its very invigorating.”

Have long-reaching purpose in life and strive for that every day. David Murphy and his four other tribe-mates have found that purpose in life; but they can only tell you about it.

“I had to find for myself. You have to be driven by your own heart’s desires and passions. Happiness is following your dreams. We make art, that’s happiness for me.”

-Jon Heinrich

David Murphy, Jeffree Lerner, Hunter Brown of STS9.

Meniscus Magazine © 2003. All material is property of respective artists.