A ≠ A: Eli Namay and Nick Tallidis
Eli has been working to develop a musical practice that is informed by critical theory and political activism. Artistically, he is particularly focused on how cultural and economic symbols mediate social relations (ideology, social reproduction, etc). Eli is interested in exploring ways economic and ideological influences on music might be disrupted artistically, thus creating a genuinely creative practice that is emotionally healing for both the listener and practitioner. This has led him to an interest in non/pan-idiomatic improvisation, experimental notation that gives rise to a multiplicity of outcomes, and the use of liminal perceptual frameworks.
“A ≠ A is a set of new recordings and critical theory by bassist, writer, and activist Eli Namay. Namay will be presenting solo pieces from the recording along with excerpts from the writing. The writing portion of A ≠ A is an examination of the nature symbols in relation to the human brain, how symbols constitute large scale class based societies, and what that might mean for our struggles both culturally and politically. Namay makes the case for understanding political struggle and cultural struggle as representing two distinct yet interrelated activities. Each affecting the other, but ultimately having distinct scopes. While the writing represents an offering in the realm of political struggle the recording is an offering in the realm of cultural struggle. Through the strategy of using familiar cultural symbols as foundational material for creative improvisation, it is given with the intention that it will hopefully act as an inspiration for thinking not only about different possibilities for creative activity, but coupled with the writing, how value systems become constructed in the first place. For instance, why do I feel the need to write this sort of thing in the third person? I have now totally switched. With this project I would like to communicate that yes, the personal is political and the political is also personal.”
Eli lives in Chicago where he performs on and teaches both the electric and double bass, regularly collaborating with folks from Chicago’s Folk, Jazz, Improvised Music, and New Music communities. He also teaches guitar, piano, drums, and voice. Eli holds a performance degree from Columbia College Chicago where he studied upright and electric bass with Chuck Webb, and Dan Anderson, and piano, composition, and improvisation with Dennis Luxion, among others. He has also studied double bass with Anton Hatwich, and Greg Sarchet of the Lyric Opera.