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NOTHING

The subject of nothing is something that is rarely discussed.  Jerry Seinfeld’s long running sitcom, is perhaps the most exemplified demonstration of the such in today’s western culture. Indeed, speaking of nothing, contradicts the entire subject.  “Nothing is sacred” is an essential concept in Zen. Emptiness (sunyata) is not “a stuff out of which all things are, rather it is the fact that no immutable substance exists and none underlies phenomena. We all come from nothing, hence, we all return to nothing. But in our worldly existence of what we accept as reality, nothing matters immeasurably. Imagine a speaker incessantly addressing a subject, or a piece of music that never pauses. We all have friends, that in conversation, never “come up for air.” What fun would be fishing, if we didn’t have to wait for the catch? Effective communication cannot proceed in such an manner. Imagine never sleeping, constantly working, never taking a break while eating a meal. Nothing is something we all need, especially in these days of gargantuan material desires and gratification. Anyone with a minimal amount of awareness knows that it is just this very behavior, that is destroying our societies.


The fight for survival

The fight for survival in the world of music “industry” (God! I hate that word) lies solely on money. Music alone; has no chance of popularity unless several people are on the payroll. Commercial music nowadays is exactly that, commercials. When I refer to “commercial” music, I don’t intend to say that it’s all bad or otherwise unworthy. Although I don’t enjoy most of it, it has it’s place. My issue with this music is that it’s the only music that is exposed to the greater population. Here in New Orleans, things are somewhat different. There is a great number of musicians playing, recording, touring and actually selling their own music without a team of executives deciding on what is “good” music. But even then, it’s an uphill struggle.

Being a musician who enjoys a more unpopular taste of music, I find that most listeners have already decided what they enjoy before ever hearing anything different.

I have been trying to make a go of it with my original music for many years. I have exhausted my efforts in trying to present my own music. I understand that my music is not necessarily palatable. But then again, is Life always palatable? In terms of “Art reflects Life,” I have always considered my music as being that kind of reflection. I remember once while my band, “Neslort” was playing for a group of young kids. After the song had finished, I asked for volunteers to describe what they heard. Immediately, this young girl raised her hand and responded with…”confusion.” I loved it. It was a compliment to me that such a child could pick up on that. I just wish I could remember what song we were playing…

Anyhow, after several years of this experience, at least for the moment, I have withdrawn my efforts. For the last few years I have been a bit reclusive. I have only been playing for money. The creative music has been on hold. As well, certain personal issues have played a role.

These days, I have re-invented myself as a crooning pianist, and I’m loving it. It’s good to play for people the songs they enjoy. When I see smiling faces, I feel fulfilled. This; I see as my future. However, I just completed recording a new composition of my own. It’s actually a 5 piece chamber group. Who knows where this will lead to…#@!*?


After the Extinction

armageddon[1]Here’s an often overlooked cut off of our last CD. Just happened to come across it when it played in iTunes in a shuffle. didn’t know who it was until I looked at the screen. After the Extinction


Dear New Orleans….From Rio

Rio de Janeiro 2002

Dear New Orleans,

There’s no easy way to say this, but I have found myself suddenly taken in love with another city. Her name is Rio.

Much like you New Orleans, the people here embrace their music. They sing along, dance, eat, drink and flirt with the music. They are part of the band…there are no boundaries between the listeners and the musicians.

The culture here is deep, and the people have not abandoned their roots. Tradition is practiced in social life as well as in their religions. They celebrate Carnival just like you do my dear Orleans; only many more people dress in their regalia, and it’s practiced all across the nation. The lust for Life here is strong, as it is with you.

The music here is full of joy, sorrow, pain, love & hope. It moves my heart. This night, I found myself on a crowded dance floor moving to the rhythms and absorbed in the sound, much of which my reasoning mind has no understanding of. It doesn’t matter, for my spirit has taken flight. I have found my passion.

Love Always, Rick


Lex Luthor Review

Neslort – mystical scam, cd review

If you are a Deadhead, February 23, 1993 (Mardi Gras), Oakland Coliseum, The Grateful Dead featuring Ornette Coleman is one of those special shows you share with your friends. And after they listen, your friends ask, “why did the Dead not have a horn player, seems an injustice?” Indeed, if you ever heard Branford Marsalis play with the Grateful Dead (MSG) or even the Jerry Garcia side project, Reconstruction Band, you will think all this hippie music is more New Orleans and less California. And you would be right.

Oh. And vice versa too. The whole British Invasion was a celebration of American Blues. And the psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s was mostly American Country Music all spaced out. Everybody has a favorite Grateful Dead song that is actually a Dylan tune. And that theme carries right on through to modern day jam bands like Widespread Panic, who sneak J.J. Cale and Robert Johnson tunes by their audiences night in and night out. So New Orleans bands, as original as we are we, are perfectly allowed to take whatever they want from whatever kind of music they like and make it New Orleans battered, fried and covered with rémoulade.

And so we have Neslort (Trolsen spelled backwards), a powerful New Orleans band that needs its own niche, its own funky, artsy neighborhood inside the music genre. It is about never that we compare any New Orleans band to something like the Grateful Dead, but what the “no one does what we do so we are the best at what we do” attitude they held true to is carried on by our expansive, creative, robust and talented local musicians in New Orleans 2012. The Dead tended to take an organized song and disassemble it. Likewise, they often took the “drums – space” improvisational portion of their show and turned it into an organized song, after a few minutes.

When I first heard the track, The Picture, off of Neslort’s cd, Mystical Scam, I immediately pictured a scene similar to the Grateful Dead’s Standing OnThe Moon, with Jerry Garcia hammering away at his heartfelt, peaceful warrior lyrics about the worlds’ struggles before letting loose on a mind bending guitar attack, beautifully utilizing his only available weapon against injustice. The Picture will grab you, assault you and then make it all better. The guitar playing of Tim Robertson will grip your mind and tear it apart. You do not expect such timely, explosive and just pleasing guitar solos in and amongst the high level trombone playing of Rick Trolsen. But time and time again on Mystical Scam, Robertson delivers.

The pocket of neslort is the real reason that players like Trolsen and Robertson are constantly popping their bearings on this record. On the track, The Noise, drummer Boyanna Trayanova and bass/tuba player Matt Perrine bring it hard and show where this band is coming from, the marching streets of the Crescent. The Noise is stamped New Orleans like a water meter cover, it really moves. And the moves do no stop with The Yoga Rope Rag. Oh man, you will drift away to this track and start inventing new dances. And whether you 2nd line it down the street or do your best Lyuba Ranevsky dance through the Cherry Orchard, it will feel as if you are making this music your own. You are now a Neslort head.

Frank Zappa was another music pioneer who went looking in his own direction. Most neslort fans will feel and hear the Zappa influences from the start, with tracks like March of the Native Alien, Blues for Man’s Extinction and Mystical Scam. These tunes are seriously funky, but they are born of mayhem and chaos, dripping with social commentary and questions like “are you losing your mind”? The track, I Found You, still sounds Zappa influenced, but I prefer to think of it as Black Sabbath with horns. I Found You goes from heavy metal to cobblestone shoulder bends behind the brass band, and back again.

Neslort is going places. Whether you want to enjoy them as a New Orleans band that automatically takes advantage of the top notch players within and just jams. Or if you want to see them as breaking new / old ground, get the tattoo, the bumper sticker and go all in, it is Amerika and it is still your choice. But remember, “security breeds insecurity” so I suggest going all in.
Lex Luthor


Another reason why we are the Aliens

Reason #134: What other earthly species would have come up with the idea of the mirror? Why must we see ourselves?


Neslort @ Blue Nile

It’s June 26th, 2012 planet earth. tonight is the night that neslort makes it’s post solstice emission. Go to New Orleans Louisiana, in the North American Continent, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. You will find a drinking and listening establishment known as the “Blue Nile Balcony Bar” located at 532 Frenchman St.

Emissions will begin at approximately 10PM. Wonga Winga


Primordial Fusion Explained

Long ago, before the circus came to town, a large scale, genetic procedure was conducted on the primordial creatures inhabiting planet earth, by an advanced life form, from not so far away.

Injected with a revolutionary genetic formula, over several generations, great changes began to manifest themselves. Over the course of time, an altogether different species had emerged, known today as the Homo Sapien.

“The Hairless Ape”

This event came to be known as, “The Primordial Fusion”
The true purpose of this procedure is unknown….but military involvement is suspected.

Even to this day, the procedure continues to be monitered.

We are being observed continually.


Observations of Mystical Scam

I have enjoyed the sounds of Bulgarian music for some time now. In “The Tyrants Invitation,” the basic theme quotes a Bulgarian melody. However, the subsequent melodies sound more Middle Eastern to me.*
It was written around the time that the USA invaded and occupied Iraq namely for the suspicion that Iraq was a depot of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” At the time, I thought they went in there to take out their post 9/11 rage on an easy target rather than hunting down the real perpetrators, but more specifically, it is my belief that the USA was lured into the proverbial “Hornets’ Nest” by the Tyrant’s Invitation.

* I suppose this statement is an indicator that “my” music writes itself, and I am only the messenger/translator.

Why we humans put so much thought, money and time contemplating “Aliens” never ceases to amaze me. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how distinctively different we are from almost all other species here on earth. A good honest look at our behavior is proof enough that we indeed, are the “Aliens.” It’s just because we feel at home here, that we feel we native. Our continued abuse of this planet is what I consider to be “The March of the Native Aliens.”

There was a time in my life that I spent playing “Hippie” when I had no one to answer to. My theory was, and for the most part still is, the less we humans do, the better off we all can be. I did very little in those days, and truly believed that my Spartan lifestyle was saving the earth. I was living amongst 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Christians, believers in the Urantia book, and many others who felt the same way. One day, with my eyes wide open, which meant I hadn’t smoked pot in several hours, I saw that we were ALL, hypocrites. We still went to Wal-Mart to by tennis shoes assembled in Taiwan, produced from the rubber trees of the great rain forests. That we put so much faith in dogmawhilst we practice the opposite and still believe we will be rewarded in “heaven,” is an indicator of a “Mystical Scam.”

“I Found You” is a fun little ditty I wrote one afternoon on Octavia St. I named it in lieu of the fact that I had met the Love of my Life, Barbara. Somehow, I was lucky enough to have found her.

The “Blues for Man’s Extinction”was written in two parts. The music itself was written shortly after the Saudi Arabians hijacked planes and subsequently crashed them into the World Trade towers in NYC. The lyrics however, were written, shortly after the BP Oil, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry,which flowed for three months in 2010. My optimistic look at the Life of the Earth relies in our own extinction.

I find those little card stock advertisements in magazines to be quite annoying, as they hinder the ease in finding the page you may be looking for. The products they are trying to sell can be quite annoying as well, mostly soliciting items that we don’t really need, or solutions to problems we should consult a doctor about, such as “Bedwetting for Example.”

As pessimistic as I can be, my idealistic side can come out shining sometimes. I am a firm believer in creative visualization. To quote Thoreau, “If one advances confidently in direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” If we want a better life, we must first“Picture” it.

It is difficult in this workaday world to find silence. Everywhere you go it seems there is a constant “Noise.”

I love Yoga; someday my practice will make my death more pleasant than it otherwise might be. In some practices, ropes that are anchored in wall framing are used as props. The configuration is such that you can actually hang from them; they are strong. I have a set hanging from my wall. One evening after dinner and drinks, I was playing the piano while friends of mine were doing an interpretive dance using the ropes. Their dance inspired “The Yoga Rope Rag.”

Sure, we go to school, church, and other institutions in order to learn how to grow, survive, prosper and aspire to whatever titles or positions we desire. We think we are doing things all so correctly. Perfection is what a lot of us strive for. Perfection is illusive, and education is incomplete. For every one of us eventually comes upon a time in our lives we haven’t been prepared for. It’s these times that we are forced to improvise. Not knowing, is not necessarily a bad thing. Improvisation has easily led to the best moments in my life, not only in music, but in REAL LIFE. It’s even better when you have friends to improvise with. I named our little improvisation “After the Extinction.” I believe it paints the perfect sound!


Martian Circus Waltz

The spirit and inspiration of the late Frances Vincent Zappa continues to rain down upon the planet, showering the sphere in the warm dewy wetness of his creativity and genius. Clearly caught in the downpour without an umbrella, overcoat, hat or galoshes is the New Orleans group, Neslort, a heady jazz-funk-whatever-you-make-of-it ensemble that recalls the mustachioed Mr. Zappa’s humorous operatic art-rock phase of the late 70’s. Mixing fink and jazz with a liberal dose of pleasantly sarcastic humor, the band displays a lot of what in the 70’s would have been called “chops” intricate horn chars followed by stretched out jams featuring plenty of all out blowing. And most importantly, as the band plays it’s impressive and innovative music, it does so without a whiff of pretense.

-James Lien


Mystical Scam

Organic alternative jazz / rock featuring the compositions of trombone wizard, Rick Trolsen (formerly of Bonerama,) this aggregation dashes through a myriad of styles, hidden behind a fat New Orleans groove, undetected by the unsuspecting ear.

Full track listing:
1. A Tyrant’s Invitation
2. March of the Native Alien
3. Mystical Scam
4. I Found You
5. Blues for Man’s Extinction
6. Bedwetting for Example
7. Picture
8. The Noise
9. The Yoga Rope Rag
10. After the Extinction: a group improvisation
11. And for a Little Lagniappe…
Live video from The Blue Nile Nightclub in New Orleans!

Buy the Enhanced CD.


Offbeat Review: Neslort’s music is strikingly beautiful and well-played

This just in from the January 2010 Issue of Offbeat,
a Review of Neslort’s Mystical Scam Album:

 

Listen and Buy Mystical Scam

Mystical Scam – Click to Buy

“Neslort’s music is strikingly beautiful and well-played, shaped by Trolsen’s angular, chromatically dense arrangements and a level of performance from the band members that takes everything to another level. The rhythm section of Matt Perrine on electric bass, Larry Sieberth on keys and Boyanna Trayanova on drums is supple and precise as it drives the unorthodox time signatures and layered pulses that place Trolsen, saxophonist Kyle Cripps and guitarist Tim Robertson in such esoteric contexts. Trolsen’s soloing in the midst of these gems of creative whimsy recalls Zappa stalwart Bruce Fowler’s jaunty fights of fancy. His singing is also surprisingly good in a Greg Lake/Jack Bruce kind of way.”

See the complete review written by John Swenson by clicking on this link.


Update to Photo Galleries

French Quarter Fest Gallery © 2011 Scott Myers

Neslort’s performance at  the 2011 New Orleans French Quarter Festival is the subject of a recently uploaded gallery of photos by Scott Myers. See the selection on this site by clicking here.

(Even more of Scott’s Photos can be found here)


A Rifftides Review of Mystical Scam

Doug Ramsay

From the Respected Music Blog Rifftides, considered  one of the best blogs for Jazz Students.

Most reviews and articles about the leader of Neslort (spell it backward) begin, “Eccentric New Orleans trombonist Rick Trolsen…” The reasons for that are apparent in this CD. Equally evident is Trolsen’s and the sextet’s musicianship, which merges street funk, bebop, electronica, rhythm and blues, New Orleans parade pzazz and—as in all good gumbos—a mystery ingredient or two. Tim Robertson’s pliant guitar licks, Kyle Cripps’ saxophones, Matt Perrine’s bass and tuba, Larry Sieberth’s keyboards and the popping vigor of Boyanna Trayanova’s drumming complement Trolsen’s blowsy trombone and his vocals, reminiscent of David Clayton-Thomas.

See the review on-site here.


Sea of Tranquility Review

Mystical Scam – Click to Buy

A review of Mystical Scam …..

“Neslort has delivered a unique album that does not really sound like anything else I have heard recently and that is precisely what makes Mystical Scam such a satisfying listen”

“Neslort are a new Orleans band that are difficult to categorize considering they play a gamut of styles including funk, jazz, fusion, psyche and rock. The leader of the band is Rick Trolsen on trombone and vocals – you may have noticed Neslort is his last name spelled backwards. Other members of the band are Kyle Cripps (tenor, soprano saxophones), Tim Robertson (electric guitar), Larry Sieberth (keyboards), Matt Perrine (electric bass, tuba) and Boyanna Trayanova (drums).

“The band formed in 1991 only to break up in 1998. Their new comeback album Mystical Scam is an excellent listen. Their website proclaims “Primordial Fusion since 1991” and who am I to argue with that. Although the music is melodic, this is not an easy listen as there is a depth and complexity here that may take a few listens to fully appreciate.

“Trolsen’s trombone is all over this album which makes for an interesting sound as this is not something you hear very much in rock music. Three of the tracks contain vocals and I quite like Trolsen’s deep, soulful voice. The rest of the musicians are no slouches either and all do a fine job whether playing as a tight unit or adding snippets of improvisational jamming.”

See the entire review at the Sea of Tranquility website by clicking here