Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
NEW YORK, NY – I work with a lot of musicians on any given week, and of all the things that run concurrently among them is the desire to have the last word on my photo and video uploads. Now this can at times be a pesky situation, but I do totally understand. I gotta admit I’m the first one to scream, “Let me look at that photo of me before you post it!” at any event, so I do my best to give the final say so when I can. I get it. I’d wager to say it’d be near impossible to find any artist’s work in its rawest form especially with the advancements in technology such as they are. That’s why a piece of new music I ran across by Sasha Brown not too long ago stuck out like a big beautiful sore thumb in a sea of manicured pinkies.
Now I must apologize for not presenting this buried treasure immediately to the masses, but it often takes me a little while to find words equal to the genius presented to me. Moreover, I tend to get distracted a little easily like a kid in a toy store that just ate three cups of sugar, so it’s a wonder I ever get anything done. Despite my inclination to jump at shiny things, however, I knew there would be a day that I would make it back to that wonderful new work by the ever so talented Sasha Brown because I had never heard anything like it. Upon release of Caveat Emperor: 4 Troubled Mind Improvisations 4 Troubled Times back in April I quickly realized it was the first I’d heard of its kind, and just I couldn’t let it go.
I first ran across Brown at Summer Camp Music Festival in 2016. His performance was incredible, and in the few moments I was blessed to enjoy his company I discovered a friendly charm which is a rare gem in this day and age. His extraordinary skills blew me away as he tore up the stage with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. The band’s entire set was absolutely amazing, but Sasha had that passion that truly makes a musician stand out above the rest. It was that special presence that he carried which enticed me to find out more about his musical career.
So, it was initially a trip to a music festival that led me to discover one of the best musical collections of our time from Sasha Brown. Before I go into the actual song description, though, I simply must emphasize a little more that it takes a hell of a lot of balls to publish anything completely raw. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t publish my raw photos without a few little tweaks. Sasha Brown must have balls so big that they scrape the floor every time he takes a step, and it shows in his skills. Within the first few seconds of the first track, “[Imp. 01] GFC GFY (Emperor Reveal)“, my whole body is already covered in those beautiful musically induced goose pimples. I’m pretty positive if somehow Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar could make love to Steve Vai’s guitar that this is the music they would emit during climax. The track is a filling 14 minutes and 14 seconds long yet somehow I still feel it was way too short. Thankfully there are 3 more songs left.
Even more impressive than Sasha’s musical talents is possibly his amazing stream of consciousness that can be found hidden in the track notes of each song. In the explanation of the second piece, “[Imp. 02] Fast (Syria)“, Brown mentions he was inspired by the atrocities of war and the current state of affairs in Syria. He goes on to describe his own melody perfectly when he states, “This improvisation is a reflection of what reading about these tragedies does in my brain.”
The anguish Brown feels is apparent as the second track begins to crawl out of my speakers. His cries can be heard loudly as the riffs tear into my ears with an urgency not often felt in music since the long gone days of the legendary Jimi Hendrix. I can feel every second of every agony brought on wrongly in this world in this mere four minutes that Sasha allows me to peer inside his soul. Well, thanks a lot, buddy, now my brain is right there with you.
Regardless of my now slightly saddened demeanor I am tickled pink at the emotional persuasion Brown seems to now hold over me. I’m not sure why the powers that be even mess with weapons of mass destruction when there is obviously something far more powerful. With only a few flicks on some strings Sasha Brown has managed to elicit complete body and mind control over me. I’m an addict looking for a fix as I move on to the next track.
Number three is titled “[Imp. 03] Brown’s Black Sabbath Blues (Strep af)“. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but I know it’s gonna be good. Anything with the words “Black Sabbath” in the title is obviously going to be beautiful. I hit play, and crank the volume. The third track does not disappoint. It shows the same wonderful haphazard genius displayed in every moment my ears have reveled in so far. This song in particular reminds me of why I became a Sasha Brown fan to begin with. I haven’t been this excited to hear the blues since Albert Collins turned me on to the genre at a tender young age with his daring “Babysitting Blues“, and I don’t want Sasha’s playing to end. I can’t believe there’s only one track left!
I embark on the last little Sasha Brown adventure, and I’m saddened immediately to notice the final hurrah is only a teeny tiny three minutes and 15 seconds. I’ve got to savor this last little morsel properly. I kick my mouthy cat outta the room, shove food at him, and put my phone on vibrate so I can enjoy the last song uninterrupted by a sea of animal and human yowling. “[Imp. 04] Emperor, We Comin For You” is the ominous name of the fourth track, and it reeks with a finality I’m not sure if I’m ready to accept.
I stare at the play button, and hover over it slowly with my mouse not quite following through on that click. I’m torn between the craving I now have for more of Brown’s work, and the depression I know I will feel when my aural addiction is no longer being fed. The beginning of the end starts with a perilous passion just as scintillating as the rest, and it continues throughout the duration. Sasha’s guitar not only somehow speaks without words, it screams, and the loud and clear message mirrors its owner’s every notion. The song builds, and seems to take on a life of its own until culminating in a mind-blowing fury that truly embodies the title of the collection.
Consistently throughout all of the tracks Sasha Brown’s vivacious virility reigns supreme. 4 Troubled Mind Improvisations 4 Troubled Times was everything it said it would be, and more, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to look at a guitar the same way. Now that Brown has displayed its full potential I can no longer just look at it as an instrument. The guitar is also a mega phone for justice in the right hands, and a mind control weapon of the utmost degree in the hands of this amazing and talented man. I hope that the future of music in general is even half as bright as the future about to unfold before the genius that is Sasha Brown.
Check out and purchase Sasha’a phenomenal 4 Troubled Mind Improvisations 4 Troubled Times at https://sashabrown.bandcamp.com/album/caveat-emperor-4-troubled-mind-improvisations-4-troubled-times
Follow Sasha Brown now for even more amazing music right when it’s released at www.facebook.com/sashabrownmusic/
Make sure to catch Sasha on tour this summer at one of the following stops!
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