Remaining in the realm of fusion, this month’s entry-or entre-features a group that serves up some very tasty tunes for your musical palette-Dapp Theory. Most likely, very few-if any-of the readers have even heard of this band or their music. Once you’ve listened to these amazing musicians, however, your taste buds will be bathed in a smorgasbord of genres and be shocked in the process!
Dapp Theory is the brainchild of keyboardist Andy Milne (the “e” is silent). Once a member of the ground breaking outfit, Saxophonist Steve Coleman’s Five Elements,
Milne draws inspiration from all types of music and from sociology, philosophy and science fiction. He formed his own band, Cosmic Dapp Theory in 1998. Even though the word cosmic has been dropped, the musical concepts are still out of this world. According to Milne,” I want my music to go beyond notes and rhythms. I want to use it to tell passionate stories and inspire collective responsibility towards uplifting the human spiritual condition. While (Steve Coleman’s concept) M-BASE stood for creatively expressing one’s life experiences through music, Dapp Theory stands for respecting the laws of nature to create balance in love, compassion and good karma. The music seeks to explore the truths which exist in universal cosmic wisdom, while creatively expressing life’s great journeys.” Hopefully, you’ll “get it” after listening to some creative expression by this unit!
The group has undergone a number of personnel changes since its inception. My favorite lineup is Milne on keys, Rich Brown on bass, Gr’goire Maret on harmonica, Bruce Cockburn on guitar and vocals, Kokayi on vocals and the extraterrestrial Sean Rickman on drums.
I am very close to ceasing running my mouth and serving up the music of Dapp Theory, but I need to prepare you for something-when it comes to locking in with time signatures, both as a performer and a listener, you must follow the advice of the great philosopher Yoda and unlearn what you have learned. Here is bassist extraordinaire Rich Brown on this very subject. “Whenever we tour with Andy’s band, we are given the opportunity to do clinics. Every clinic starts the same way. First we play a tune, and then Andy asks if there are any questions. Someone raises their hand and asks, ‘What time signature was that in?’ We all then respond with collective shoulder shrugs. With Andy’s music, 99% of the time the drum part (called the “chant”) is very specific. It’s like another melody. Once we are all comfortable with singing the chant, the time signature becomes irrelevant. So, with a lot of tunes, we don’t know what the time signature is. It doesn’t matter. We play off of the chant as opposed to boxing ourselves in by counting. The groove feels more organic that way. One of the best things about playing with Dapp Theory is playing with a drummer as monstrous as Mark Prince (and Sean Rickman). You see, every rhythm (be it odd or even) has a pulse. Mark (and Sean) never lets the band, or the listener, lose sight of the pulse. They can play the freakiest odd-time groove and still make you dance and feel the groove as if it were in four. It makes my job in the band easy.”
Without further interruption, I present to you Dapp Theory.
Andy Milne is a very talented keyboardist and composer who has a unique musical vision. Its one thing to create dazzling compositions-it’s quite another to find the musicians who can breathe life into the notes and rhythms to create a musical experience. The members of Dapp Theory are not only highly skilled and gifted artists; they are also magicians of the highest caliber. Now you hear the time signature-now you don’t!
The Andy Milne Website (andymilne.com)
The Active Bass Website (activebass.com)
The All About Jazz Website (allaboutjazz.com)