The Liminalist # 54: What’s In It for the Fish? (with David Costanza/Art of Flying)


First of a two-part conversation with David Costanza of Art of Flying, on cosmic clowns, baking and art-packing, pondering the mystery of art, the beginnings of Art of Flying, the parallels with Big Blood, keeping a low profile, creating music outside the industry, avoiding the label-BS, music & community, Free Music Archive, how the world doesn’t take artists seriously, corporate mentality, divorcing art from commerce, the longest loan you’ll ever get, gauging one’s place in the culture of celebrity, an invisible audience, what gives satisfaction, music for the spirit world, what happens when we die, the bid for immortality, clinging to incarnation, the real currency, wisdom as wealth, the lack of an echo, liminalism, using art as a drug, “Old Forgotten Spells,” ephemerality in music, sharing the unexpected, keeping chance involved, avoiding manipulation, art as observation and discovery, the ears of the soul, being a collective, the spirits within, a choral effect, unfiltered writing, the challenge of improvisation, the free jazz tradition, The Lords of Howling, style-free music, David’s inhibition, noticing the echo, a large circle of giving, three levels of validation, making your bed in heaven, a side room of culture, the decadent cultural layer, a dialogue with the soul, Jesus’ small crowds, the lament of mortality, putting fear of death in its place, how culture gets stuck, “Morning Star,” the lightbringer, how Lucifer felt, Catholic trauma, religion as a whip, the beginning of Art of Flying.

Songs: “Little Patient Flower, “Song for Old Orion,” “Morning Star,” by Art of Flying

Words to “Morning Star”

I saw the Morning Star upon a window sill, as the world began
I saw the voice of sunrise, the wind would listen, & I followed them
& what I saw did anger me so I ate it up like straw.

Now the Sun don’t disappear at night
& A Heart don’t really break, child.

Ring Around the water, Ring around the Moon,
’til little voices wake us.

I heard the voice of sickness, the angels bleating, the angels fall,
I heard Three Marys sing to me that ‘the truth awaits us all,’
& what I heard did anger me so I whispered night into the stars.


I dreamed the shore you made of us, our final resting place, destroyed in fire,
I dreamed the powerful steal a grace & sew a death upon us all,
& what I dreamed did anger me so I threw my voice into the sea.


& Now the Sun’s a dog, the fragile lover spins me ’round & asks me for what I’ve seen
& Now the Son she hated is the voice that’s speaking this tale through me
& what I heard did anger me so I flew away & night just fell.


12 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 54: What’s In It for the Fish? (with David Costanza/Art of Flying)”

  1. Its like theres this earth shattering anticlimactic silence . Jasun has finally had someone on his podcast whose not a severely traumatised alien or spy . Dave seems so maddeningly ….”normal “Surely theres a catch , i want to listen to the uncut version . Are you about to reveal on 54.75 that you and your girlfriend arrived here from a distant galaxy , that your ship has crashed and you are waiting for parts so in the meantime you decided to start a band ??

  2. A very interesting podcast Jasun, thank you.

    During the discussion you and David C began discussing the question of “who a musician plays for?” I think there are at least 3 levels of musical motivation:

    1. Depends on a musicians access to people with the will and/or ability to not only hear, but also listen and understand, on some level, what you are doing; what is driving your behavior?

    2. Who you play for depends on what other options you have for constructive/destructive behavior. If you are living in your car or under a bridge, you will spend a lot of time playing for yourself because there is simply nothing BETTER to do.

    3. The production of new information; information new to YOU.

    I think #3 is the key to the entire phenomenon because its easy for even well trained musicians to be pulled off the linear paths that are #1 or #2 and end up in the very “present condition” where you don’t know where you are, what you are doing, and/or why you are doing it. Matter of fact, this “place” may be where you are actually trying to get all along; maybe its a distraction from knowledge of death or knowledge you are alone…

    If you do something that feels good and you try to take a nano second to notice it or enjoy it, you usually mess up because you “break the spell.”

    You hafta train yourself not to panic when you notice this happen because music is so time dependent; I suspect this is at least part of the reason musicians like to play with one or more other persons? Since you can’t really keep an eye on yourself when you enter this space; but you “watch” the other person when they go, and they can “watch” you when you go.

    In addition, as Kunstler described about his painting; it gets you away from thinking with words. Speaking for myself, I think I am thinking when I play music but I can’t describe it, not even to myself because its not in words. Does that make sense? Ive asked other musicians and they can’t either.

    The irony is that musicians can understand each other and communicate musically even when they don’t speak the same verbal language are not in the same room, with the lights off..? I can see why some hard core Islamic sects see making music as a type of sorcery and have banned it under threat of severe punishment.

    Has DavidC ever gone on the street and jammed in front of strangers?

    It puts you way out of phase with the street narrative because everyone passing is engaged in some goal oriented, economically necessary activity and your behavior is the complete opposite; or people think it is?

    NOT on a weekend, or during a festival… but on a week day when people are going/coming from work, school…?

    Its an interesting experience because all your communication is non verbal and you get multiple vibes coming at you from diffeerent people and different directions all at the same time; and some are hostile. I have a theory that in contemporary society its not really safe to do anything that requires you to increase your emotional sensitivity because you become the type of person psychopaths find most delicious?

    Most types of art are going to make you more sensitive; at least if you are any good at it.

    That can become a problem; not just from the psychopaths, but there are a large variety of emotional “parasites” who see your behavior as evidence of excess emotional energy they can capture/suck; or they see you as a good candidate for transformation into a spare emotional tampon to soak up some of their pain and fear. In addition, some people are just angry and the phenomenon of a person generating tones on the street annoys them

    But getting back to the question of “who you play for?” For me thats the type of proclivity you must kinda have the luxury to even ask yourself in a world dominated by sex, money and death? Ive never been in a band and I have more time behind me than in front of me. I couldn’t get anyone to jam even when I had a studio full of good equipment. One of the drawbacks to musicians being sensitive is it also often makes them uptight and insecure. I don’t even take the possibility of joining/starting a band seriously anymore; I just run a working experiment where I ask people if they want to play, just to see what their response is.

    Ironically, the better you become as a musician, the more difficult it is to find a person with the will and/or ability to play with you; and as you get older, the population of qualified, emotionally healthy, stable, non alcoholic musicians gets smaller and smaller; the younger people are distracted and unable to concentrate, and the older people are tired and chasing money. An effective work around for this sorry state of affairs is some really good weed

    It is said, you can masturbate but you can’t tickle yourself?

    I say both these experiences in addition to drug use and altered consciousness are attempts to produce new information for your own consumption when you can’t or won’t get that help from anyone else. Any type of art including musical activity may be the closest thing to actually having the ability to tickle yourself?

    Then again, maybe its sorcery?

    Its like making food and consuming it as you produce it; except in the case of music, you hafta make the soil, and the water, and the sun light… too. I use this analogy because its the best way Ive found so far to reveal what is essentially a teleological explanation for a behavior that lacks material utility.

    At least when I jack off I get a receipt?

    (sorry, I’ll get my coat)

    PS– Being a musician helped me avoid a lot of problems during several bouts of homelessness and unemployment. People make all kinds of assumptions, most all of them constructive, about persons carrying musical instruments. This is important because in todays world, its basically unlawful not to have “somewhere to go” and “something to do.”

    People who would normally call the cops on you because you look “suspicious”, don’t batt an eye because of the association they make between a person and their musical instrument. If you are ever homeless, try to stash/hide your guitar, and use the case to carry your possessions because walking around with a trash bag makes people nervous. Also, if you don’t have anyone you can trust to store your instrument, pawn shops are a reliable, safe storage until you can get off the street.

  3. There is evidence the use (or misuse) of music as a form of mind control or “sorcery” has been known for a long time. Ironically, more people probably had a greater awareness of the phenomenon in the past before the era of mass communication than today when more people are potentially affected by it.

    The idea that simple people and especially children can be led astray or steered in a destructive direction thru music is something the elites and many parents understand. I wonder if a sub lesson of the fairy tale “The Pied Piper of Hamlin” is to always keep your eye on that piper; especially when he appears harmless, stupid or goofy. Something tells me the hurdy gurdy man had to be aware of the one or two people in the crowd giving him the “stink eye”, just standing there, arms folded across their chest “hatin” as the children and simple people laughed, clapped, juked and jigged…

    *Que George Zimmerman*

    Like the bag pipe, the drone tone makes it sound like more than one person; but the hurdy gurdy, at least to me, has the additional ability to sound fruity and sinister at the same time. If you haven’t heard one, you should check it out.

    With advances in brain mapping and neuro linguistic programming, in conjunction with digital editing, there is no telling what “they” are doing with/to music these days to produce certain reactions and responses in people? For example, I think we have come a long way from the days of playing a Beatles album backwards and hearing “secret messages?” What if the ear has a “blind spot” just like the eye; or periphial hearing

    “ok,ok, I heard you the first time?”

    “naaawwwh, you listenin butyoudidn’thearme!”


    “yeah, whateverthefuckever”

    Current digital audio technology allows such fine resolution that entire incantations, spells, even a woman being raped… can be subtly “woven” beneath songs, or even between individual beats. I have a theory the popularity of the band Radio Head is due in large part to their excellent and unique post production and mastering work. I have not been able to find the names of the themes; but BBC radio is currently using two interesting musical intros/outtros. The intro is an instrumental octave based techno/house mutation with tricked out contrapunctal, recursive melodies that build to a flourish and ends with a slight exclamation of the FORMER BBC intro ;but no real percussion. The ‘outro” is a “Fats Wallerish” piano instrumental where they have tampered with the rhythm and key to produce a disjointed but basically familiar parlor tune. The best way I can describe it is to say they somehow found a way to “season” a basic jazz tune with an essence of dubstep. Im not suggesting anything nefarious about them; but since it is the BBC, I suspect a lot of effort (and money) was put into these “drops” based on their purpose. They are relatively short; only around 10 or 15 seconds. If I can find them I will provide the names; but as of now, I can’t figure out what they are called to even search for them?

    BTW, audio editing engineers are very secretive of their techniques and “styles.” Even your “friends” won’t reveal what they know. I know this because starting out I would ask them questions about how to solve certain problems and they would act like they didn’t know; despite their ability to solve these problems on their own recording.

    Now that I know how to solve them, I realize they had to have had the answers at the time in order to produce what they produce.

    I worked with some interior decorators who practiced the same deception.

    Sometimes I feel like Ive traveled thru spacetime and landed on “Planet of the Bitches.”

    (((shakin my head)))

  4. what a beautiful conversation, perhaps i mean to say real and genuine. for some reason that shared anecdote from david’s friend caught my ear, ‘knowledge is currency, wisdom is wealth.’ hope i got that right.
    i don’t think i’ve heard anyone elucidate what i’ve always felt to be true about music and spirit. ours, and those of ours who have their bodies no longer. of course, and why not? the trees depend upon the music of birdsong to sing open their leaves, are we really so different in this world or the next?
    spirit is somehow that which inspires music in both the maker and the partaker. the mover and the shaker.
    heartwrenchingly poignant lyrics, music, and every fish within earshot was moved to tears, so much so the river swelled its banks as i too wept.
    thank you jasun, and to you both for sharing this with us.

      • am glad to know that. just finished listening to the second part of your conversation with samuel. you spoke of how we underestimate the power or influence the mass media has had on our psychic development; it struck me that that is the answer. seems obvious to me- am a late bloomer so i accept and welcome all slack cutting-
        it just seems to me in particular anyway that i’ve been surprised at how profoundly affected i’ve become with the spoken word as of late. having always been an avid reader i wondered at this a bit. there’s just something so moving about hearing knowledge spoken aloud that the written words lack. if i was pressed to surmise what that might be i’d be compelled to say spirit.
        which in a nutshell, is a metaphor for what you do here. i think i’ve used the word ‘voyeuristic’ in an attempt to define how i feel listening in; i officially change my mind having heard david use ‘eavesdropping’ , much more apropos to your medium. which i guess would indicate that your message is perfectly conducive to this medium.
        notice i didn’t come out and credit M.M.? there’s a reason for that, what the hey, i am hesitant to fault an idea because of the man behind it.

        • “it just seems to me in particular anyway that i’ve been surprised at how profoundly affected i’ve become with the spoken word as of late. having always been an avid reader i wondered at this a bit. there’s just something so moving about hearing knowledge spoken aloud that the written words lack. if i was pressed to surmise what that might be i’d be compelled to say spirit.” — nana

          I find myself draw to the weakly scripted and casual direction or lackofthereforeto nature of these discussions. Back in the day if I ever heard anything like this on the radio it meant they fukced up.

          The over produced, account for every second of airtime production format has even taken over the internet “airwaves” as more and more personalities employ the industry standard slick production tools that can make anything seem profound; think of it as the “NPR/TedTalk/History Channelization of all broadcast discussion.

          I found this guy:

          to make the best case so far for the value of spoken word over text based information transmission.

          He says among other things: “The words require a voice, and that particular voice of authority in the oral tradition provides the context and the exegesis. Once removed from its source the text may now take on a life of its own. Interpretations may be read into it, it may be edited, updated, made more clear, translated. The words may undergo some sort of transformation, according to the needs of the academy, not according to the dynamic of tradition. And, they are forbidden from leaving their pages, imprisoned by the front and end covers of the book.”

          I once turned a friend onto a short audio clip of one of Jasun’s Stormy Weather podcasts because I thought I discovered something? But she hated it at least as much as I liked it; and this is from a person who wanted to PAY ME to build her an orgone generator,


          I figured Jasun’s material was right up her alley?

          Thats like the spoon calling the fork “a utensil?”

          This world never fails to disappoint me.


          • thwanck you so much for the link you shared, i couldn’t agree more. coming from a long family tradition of storytellers and having included the phrase,’put your ear to the page’ in a collage awhile ago in a feeble attempt to articulate this very feeling, am wondering how i missed the obvious.
            okay, i guess i’m not really wondering so much as i’m pleased really.
            am off to look up a definition and a translation, the particulars of which i am loathe to admit publicly.

  5. That like for like stuff is very real. I experience this with my landscape photography on Flickr. It also used to happen with my Youtube account before youtube sold it’s soul to google, even with other rappers I’d collaborate with I’d see this selfish behavior go on. The only time a new track I would post would be publicly acknowledged by them is if I “liked” one of their new or old tracks.

    I like the idea of playing music for the invisible “spirit” world though, I’ll remember that when I’m struggling to find a non youtube method of making public my music.

    “Bitch, I don’t need any audience but my ancestors!” Wonder what my friends would think of that response to them asking me where they can hear my new stuff hahaha.


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