At the 9:41 mark in the above video of Baja Snake’s recent live performance at Lawn Gnome Publishing in central Phoenix, a dog barks. Or maybe howls. Whichever. For a moment, though I’ve often heard coyotes and they don’t usually sound much like that, I thought it was one of those. If you listen to the preceding nine minutes and 40 seconds of the video, you might understand why I had that thought.
On Baja Snake’s website, BT Franklin and Nicholas DiBiase describe their sound as “ambient instrumental desert music.” I think that’s accurate. They’ve also previously referred to it elsewhere as “Neo-age desert wallpaper music.” I think that’s also accurate, though I’d have a hard time explaining exactly how music can function in much the same way as wallpaper. I enjoy listening to Baja Snake as a background for other activities — e.g., writing, drawing, driving — when I want something that’s neither monotonous nor too distracting. Also, I often like to be musically reminded of where I live. This is a large metropolitan area, but the Sonoran Desert still surrounds us, and large parts of it still flourish within the area as well. Not long ago we saw a coyote running along the sidewalk in our suburban neighborhood in full daylight. We’ve briefed our household cats.
As for the “Neo-age” part of Baja Snake’s previous description, I think that’s also apt because their music is as much Neolithic as New Age. I also hear Asian and Native American influences in it. Music about the desert here and now, but also about other places and times.
The duo was accompanied in the above performance by local artist Tony Deschiney. A nice video featuring his thoughts about creating art may be found at this link, and his Facebook page is at this other link. Here’s the painting he created during Baja Snake’s performance:
For those not familiar with that plant term, according to this Wikipedia article, “A practical, but unscientific, horticultural definition is ‘a succulent plant is any desert plant that a succulent plant collector wishes to grow.’”
But if you live around here, you probably already knew that. Even if you, like me, can occasionally mistake a dog’s bark/howl for a coyote’s.