The Oneness
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


1. Mahmoud's Philosophy: Monism

This is what I think: that Mahmoud Ahmed and Bobby Patterson are brothers. It goes without saying, of course, that Mahmoud is older, that Bobby idolizes him, that Mahmoud is in his second year of college, that Bobby is in his junior year of high school, that Mahmoud studies philosophy, that Bobby plans to study philosophy (though he doesn't know what it is). It's probably the case that after Mahmoud's first semester, he returned home to Philly for the first time since he left to study in Addis Ababa. It's certainly the case that he tried to explain to Bobby the concept of monism.

"There is only one thing," Mahmoud instructed. "Everything that you view as distinct from something else, is in fact identical to that thing and everything else."

Bobby: Wait a minute... What about mom and dad?
Mahmoud: The same.
Bobby: The United Nations headquarters and the fattest cat in the world?
Mahmoud: (holding up three fingers) How many fingers am I holding up?
Bobby: Three!
Mahmoud: Not even close, man.
Bobby: But...

Once Bobby understood and everyone had opened their Christmas presents, Mahmoud returned to Ethiopia. Bobby went back to school and told all of his teachers and classmates about his brother and his wonderful idea. Almost all of them immediately recognized the obvious truth of monism, and only a few skeptical cohorts asked questions like:

"But what of lice and concepts? Surely these are separate?"

Or "Isn't a Michigan sandwich something other than the Brandenburg Concertos?"

To which Bobby would reply, "I'll ask my brother and get back to you tomorrow." And the next day: "Mahmoud assures me that lice, concepts, a Michigan sandwich, and the Brandenburg Concertos are all one thing."


2. Mahmoud's Music: Soul

After his first year, Mahmoud came home for the summer. He brought his band with him. Every night after dinner, Mahmoud and the band would set up their gear in the Ahmed-Patterson backyard and serenade the family with a rendition of "Tezeta." No matter how many times Bobby heard the song, he never tired of it. In fact, it seemed to him that each night's performance was significantly hotter than the previous night's. The bass always bored deeper, the organ grew ever more lively, the guitar more romantic, the vocals more fluid, and the glorious flute more... Until the intertwining pentatonic runs became so seamless that it rendered the individual parts indistinguishable from one another. By the end of the summer, Bobby could hear the song only as a whole. The various instruments, the late summer's breeze, the moonlight: all were one.

Bobby decided then that he would form a band of his own. After all, even though it probably wouldn't be as good as Mahmoud's, it would in some sense be exactly the same.

Bobby Patterson - "If I Didn't Have You"

[Buy Mahmoud, Bobby]

Posted by Jordan at October 18, 2006 5:52 AM

Beauty. In some sense, this tract is as good as the first orgasm that I have each year of my life (you know, first of '90, first of '95, first of 2007), all piled together. Of course, they are one orgasm, the orgasm is the song(s?), the song is the write-up. Naught is more obvious.

Posted by Joel Taylor at October 18, 2006 11:40 AM

You are the best! Really. The only music blog I care about. I wish you had a DJ night at a bar near me (in Chicago) — I'd be there every time.

Posted by Lisa B at October 19, 2006 5:10 PM

Writing this good makes me angry when you don't return my phone calls.

Was it something I said?

Posted by Jordan at October 19, 2006 5:45 PM

I must confess; most of the time I download the songs without reading the text. It's a shame really, because I'm impressed everytime I actually take a minute to read one. This post is the best thing I've read in a while (at least on the internet).


Posted by Zane at October 19, 2006 6:23 PM

Amazing. Thank you.

Posted by Linka at October 19, 2006 6:30 PM

For some bizarre reason, the Ahmed track reminds me of Paul Anka's "Diana." I keep expecting that sax solo to pop out at me.

Posted by Mark at October 19, 2006 7:50 PM

I too must confess that sometimes I read the prose without listening to the music. Luckily the quality of the writing shares with that of the song such that by experiencing the one I may know the other, but really both are part and parcel of your gramophone's speech; you are the gramophone and i am the gramma and we are one, and not just when online.

Such are the trials of leeching the net from neighbors.

Posted by randy at October 20, 2006 2:42 AM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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