Doveman collaborator and cohort Sam Amidon, who we last heard singing on “Angel’s Share,” directed this intimate video for “The Burgundy Stain,” another track from Thomas Bartlett’s most recent album The Conformist. He considers the clip a “friendship letter” to Bartlett. Before you watch, read his thoughts on it, along with his and Bartlett’s backstory. Which involves John Zorn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The video was shot in Vermont, where the trees are stained with burgundy, and New York City, where one gets burgundy stains on one’s teeth from drinking too much wine. The song is one of Thomas’ most beautiful and wistful; the video is my “friendship letter” to Thomas, who has been my best friend since the age of 6.
Some crucial early events in our friendship include two coincidental meetings in the year 1987: initially at the first Ninja Turtles movie, and slightly thereafter at a concert by the David Moss Dense Band (Moss having been an important part of the NYC downtown improv/noise scene as a percussionist and composer in the late 70s; he worked with John Zorn and trumpeter Bill Dixon before moving to Vermont in the time of our childhood). Of course, I knew of Thomas’s musicianship before I met him in person, having heard a cassette tape where he sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and accompanied himself tastefully on nylon-string guitar at the age of five. The cassette tape was played at the end of a dinner my parents attended with some other music teachers, one of whom had acquired the tape. They listened, transfixed, and I temporarily stopped playing with some toy dinosaurs on the floor to take in the song and its singer.
The Conformist is out via Brassland.