Nick Falivena

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Member Since: 7/23/2004
Total Mixes: 49
Total Feedback: 311
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For Malachi

Artist Song Buy
AALY trio & Ken Vandermark  Song for Che (Stumble, 1998)  buy on itunes
Hamid Drake - Joe McPhee  Cries and Whispers (Emancipation Proclamation, a Real Statement of Freedom, 2000)  buy on itunes
The Vandermark 5  New York is Full of Lonely People (Free Jazz Classics, 2002)  buy on itunes
Misha Mengelberg  Body and Soul (Two Days in Chicago, 1999)  buy on itunes
Evan Parker - Georg Graewe  Unity Variations 1 (Unity Variations, 1999)  buy on itunes
Brotzmann - Kessler - Drake  Crest of the Wave (Live at the Empty Bottle, 1999)  buy on itunes
Witches & Devils  Truth is Marching In (At the Empty Bottle, 2000)  buy on itunes
Peter Brotzmann  Aziz (The Chicago Octet/Tentet, 1998)  buy on itunes

Comment:

Malachi Ritscher was a fixture in the Chicago music scene. On Friday, November 3, he chose to self-immolate in protest of the American government's policies and actions. He wrote an explanation and an obituary, which appear on one of his websites. Savagesound was better than any newspaper for music listings, he had everything that was going on that might be of interest to people whose tastes resembled his. I spoke to him in passing a few times, mostly along the lines of "wow that set was amazing," and I am deeply saddened by the loss. I can only imagine how those who knew him feel. These songs are some of the live performances he captured that later became authorized releases (I'm 90% sure that he recorded the live portions of that Brotzmann 8-tet/10-tet material, the liner notes don't really say one way or another.) I am unable to really comprehend this, so I have been listening to these records and thinking about the shows.

Feedback:

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blasikin
Date: 11/13/2006
Nick, thank you for posting this. Deeply saddening and grounding. Will share with friends.
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Nomates
Date: 11/13/2006
I am unable to comment upon this mix. I must profess ignorance of Mr. Ritscher's music. It appears he was much loved and respected. I applaud any who make a stand for their deeply held beliefs or principles. I cannot, however, condone or support anyone who feels it necessary to harm themselves or others, without just cause, to support their stance -- and I have no doubt that Malachi's final act has caused irreparable harm to those who love him. I certainly see no "just cause" for his hideous choice of protest.I have always thought of suicide as a selfish act. I realise this is an appallingly simplistic view; and do not profess to comprehend the despair that leads so many to take their own lives. Nonetheless, I cannot see that this particular, spectacular and horrendous action serves any useful purpose at all. I must assume that Malachi was horribly disturbed in mind; otherwise, shame on him. He has diminished his own message. My sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
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mahdishain
Date: 11/13/2006
i am also unable to comment on the content of this mix but i can comment on the spirit of a man i did not know.
i would like to think that i act on my convictions. here is a model. personal convictions, made public, become political. a statement like malachi's is as political as i am ever going to be. not that i would kill myself for a cause. i don't forsee me making that choice. but it was his choice, and whether it was right for him i cannot know, but is was his to make and i support his right to do so. i do not think his message was diminished by his method. i think it was greatly enhanced. i only wish he had developed another method to get his message across. there is now one less person on the side of peace and we need all the people we can get. my sympathy also goes out to his family and friends. although sad, they must be very proud.

practice peace
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Korky Castille
Date: 11/14/2006
I'm with Nomates on this. Suicide is pointless, as the MASH theme almost said. And Ritscher's message is greatly diminished as anyone who sets themselves on fire is clearly mentally ill and not in love with life and surely therefore has a damaged perspective. He should have put on some old Ellington records and worked for social change instead heading down this intellectual cul-de-sac.
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Mr. Mirage
Date: 11/14/2006
Suicide, said Camus, is the ultimate philosophical question. It is, after all, one soul in torment asking, "To be? Or not to be?" I forget the name of the fellow, but prior to the US of A entering into WWII, there was a diplomat, very aware (as many were) as to what was happening in Nazi Germany re: the Jews (and many others that did not fit into the National Socialist viewpoint) and he, too, chose to depart by his own hand rather than live in a world that allowed such evil to run rampant.I, personally, have lost 3 men, men I loved, admired, respected, to that same choice. 4, if I was to include Hunter S. Thompson. One can only imagine the edge of the abyss these people gaze into, and wonder at how much the abyss gazed back. Do I agree? Disagree? Well, sorry to dodge the issue, but it does come down to one's choice. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is still their choice. I would personally prefer to live FOR something than die in protest. But that is me... for what it is worth...
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mahdishain
Date: 11/14/2006
i object to labeling someone mentally ill simply because you do not agree with the way that they think.
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Nomates
Date: 11/14/2006
mahdishain:"i object to labeling someone mentally ill simply because you do not agree with the way that they think."Your statement is both unfair and incorrect. It would be foolish and extremely bigoted to label a person as mentally ill, merely because one did not agree with them or their thought processes. Furthermore, I object to the implication.It's Mr. Ritscher's chosen method of protest that leads me to my "disturbed mind" conclusion. His point of view -- political or otherwise -- is not the issue here. He is/was entitled to his opinion and his frustration at "the way things are". I still maintain that his suicide -- and, in particular, that he chose self-immolation -- was not the act of a reasonable mind. Instead of working for his ideals, he opted out and caused pain to others. Let me re-iterate, my sympathy lies with his family and friends -- in fact with all who feel the horror of these occurrences. As a fellow human, I am appalled and disappointed by the sadness and futility of the whole episode.
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g.a.b. l@bs
Date: 11/14/2006
Looks like a nice set & I'm sorry he took that option for vacating the planet.

"I'm getting bored, being part of mankind,
there's not a lot to do no more.
This race is a waste of time.

People rushing everywhere,
swarming 'round like flies,
think I'll buy a forty-four, and give 'em all a surprise..."
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Rob Conroy
Date: 11/14/2006
Jesus. That's awful (the news, not the mix). A great tribute that I'd like to hear...
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Nick Falivena
Date: 11/14/2006
No, his point of view is the whole issue here. It's why I posted this. You may note that this story was not picked up by any national news outlet, you may also note that the Chicago Sun Times article was written before the body was identified. And, as such, makes no mention of why he did what he did. I am stunned that this discussion is focused on him and not on his point. Invading Iraq wasn't the act of a reasonable mind. Frankly, I'd rather discuss this music, but part of why I posted this is so that 6 more people could find out that a guy in Chicago was so fed up with America that he burned himself to death at a downtown exit of the interstate that runs through Chicago.
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Orchid
Date: 11/14/2006
Suicide is flat-out selfish and unjustified if the individual has dependents. Otherwise to each his own. To me life is a glorious gift, but some people don't want to live on the earth, for whatever reason. I can respect that. As long as they don't have dependents. It seems a terrible waste when the motivation is depression, but Morechi wasn't motivated by depression. He wasn't wallowing in self-pity. He was outside himself attempting to make a profound political statement. He considered his own life worth sacrificing in order to draw attention to the massive scale of death in Iraq. As he said, "what is one more life thrown away in this sad and useless national tragedy?"

Misguided, perhaps, but not mentally ill. George Bush is mentally ill. OJ Simpson is mentally ill. They are killers. But Morechi's intentions were positive, even selfless, one could argue. However his point was completely lost because the media didn't give this the attention it deserves. So perhaps it was ultimately a waste of another life. Who knows. But at least he died for something he believed in. And for those of us still here, let's not lose sight of the real tragedy here: the war.
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mahdishain
Date: 11/15/2006
NOMATES: my statement is clearly correct. i stated my opinion and it is not incorrect because you disagree with it. this is the basis of my objection. what is unfair about my objection? nothing in Korky Castille's statement led me to believe that psychiatric training and personal knowledge of mr malachi led to this "diagnosis" reread mr. ritscher's explaination of his action. is this the product of mental illness or a disturbed mind? the hardest lesson i have ever learned in life is that everyone does not think like i do. think about it.
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Nick Falivena
Date: 11/15/2006
BTW, Malachi didn't record that particular Brotzmann 10tet show. John McCortney did. But it stays, because it fits. Any interest in hearing this?
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Nomates
Date: 11/15/2006
mahdishain: I should not have used the word "incorrect". It appears I have not made my point clearly. It is this: I would never label any person as "mentally ill" because I did not agree with them, or the way that they think.Your statement, as I understood it, implied that this was the case. It was not -- hence my use of "incorrect". Malachi Ritscher's opposition to his government's actions, his views, his sadness and frustration at the situation in which citizens of the USA are currently embroiled - these are his personal convictions; he has every right to hold them; he explains them most eloquently. That he is willing to die for them is admirable. It is only his chosen method of final protest that truly troubles me.I have stated my opinion on this matter, I do not apologize for it. I do, however, apologize to Nick for failing to discuss the music and his mix. I will endeavour to find and listen to it. If it were available for download or trade -- that would be most agreeable. Maybe then I may make a worthwhile comment upon Mr Ritscher's talent, and the choices assembled here.
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mahdishain
Date: 11/16/2006
NOMATES: i now realize that you misunderstood me from the beginning. my objection never refered to you. the statement that i objected to was Korky Castille's
"anyone who sets themselves on fire is clearly mentally ill" your statement
"I must assume that Malachi was horribly disturbed in mind" was clearly stated as your interpretation, not as fact. while i do not agree with your viewpoint, i respect it. it is reasonable and in no way illogical. i respect anyone who stands up for what they believe in an age when few do so.that is part of what attracked me to this story. malachi stood up for what he believed. his methods are not my methods but i find no fault in them. i have enjoyed the debate. practice peace.
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blasikin
Date: 11/16/2006
Nick, Thank you so much for this. Long live freedom of thought in jazz and life. Do you happen to know what instruments he played on each track?
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Nick Falivena
Date: 11/18/2006
Confusion. Correction. Although Malachi was a musician, this mix (the first 7 tracks anyway) is made of live music that he recorded. Malachi does not play on these tracks; it was him at the DAT with the headphones on, recording these sounds so that I can listen to them.
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hemizen
Date: 11/23/2006
"Freedoms just another word for nothin left to lose"

"Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes"
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sport !
Date: 11/23/2006
Wow, really troubling. I'll bet Rumsfeld or Cheney doesn't have any trouble sleeping.
Great tribute.
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p the swede
Date: 11/24/2006
wild
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Slack-a-gogo
Date: 11/27/2006
Even though he's apparently from my neck of the woods, I know nothing of Malachi and heard nothing of his dramatic death, which is sort of surprising. But if he kept company with Ken Vandermark and Peter Brotzman, I'm intrigued.
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Nomates
Date: 1/4/2007
Nick, You very kindly made this mix available to me, for which I thank you. Much time has passed and the saddest fact is that Malachi's horrendous act of protest appears to have been in vain. How telling it is that the death of a despicable man fills the news and prompts debate worldwide; yet the sacrifice (however misguided) of a decent man goes unreported. If I may quote Shakespeare at you; "The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones." It was ever thus.Your mix has floundered against an unexpected barrier in my, hitherto open-minded musical viewpoint. I don't want to come right and say I don't like it; for somehow that's an admission of weakness. Clearly there is something going on in the music that just passes me by. An harmonic discord that cascades around my head, a sense of something broken or jumbled; that, perhaps, if I had a key or could locate the missing piece, I could then make sense of it. I am irked by my failure. I love music and admire those skilled in its glories. The musicians on these recordings are clearly far more knowledgeable of its secrets than I. I am left standing by and flailing like a buffoon. No, Nick, it's not the mix I don't like; it's my own inadequacies.So I thank you once again for making it and letting me have access to it. I thank you for caring enough about our human condition and the feelings of others, for caring about Malachi (however misguided his actions, I have no doubt of his heart) and your fellow man. I cannot thank you for the music, for I do not understand it. Please forgive me.

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