FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Dog Ragas

Sometimes dogs can remind you of wolves, I guess. Sometimes they couldn’t be further from wolves, and they are more like floppy, wimpy dishrags.

Photo by Gemma Hart Corsano

Dogs can have really special and intense energy—they are organically connected to the primal spirit of the wolf, the lone hunter that roams the dark corners of the world. I think that all people should try and cultivate more wolf energy in themselves nowadays. Especially men. Ha ha ha, just kidding. Dogs are cool (if you don’t live in the city, that is). Sometimes dogs can remind you of wolves, I guess. Sometimes they couldn’t be further from wolves, and they are more like floppy, wimpy dishrags. Matt Valentine and Erika Elder have a cool dog named Zuma. They live in the bucolic environs of southern Vermont, where they walk in the woods, take in the vibes of the mountains, hang with Zuma, and make some of the most transcendent music you’ll ever hear. They started out in the should-be legendary Tower Recordings, a group of master musicians who made epic mystic folk jams. Now, though Tower still puts out a record every once in a while, Matt and Erika focus more on their shambling meld of Americana and raga, putting out disc after home-recorded disc of genuine mood music. Talk about living off the grid. VICE: Your dog is named after a Neil Young record, right? Do you think your dog likes music? Matt Valentine: Yeah, and he is definitely in tune with certain sides. Despite his appearance he is much more “Cortez the Killer” than “Powderfinger.” Overall, though, his favorite seems to be a disc of traditional koto music that we leave on infinite repeat while he’s guarding the house. Does Zuma ever go to shows? He’s usually on the road with us when we’re touring, and he makes all the gigs, most of the time with pleasure. One of his first concerts was Chris Corsano/Matt Heyner/Dredd Foole in a trio setting. He was at the back for that one, but now he is front and center mashing at all the Corsano happenings. He’s always comped for them. Which musician is Zuma most like, and why? Zuma is probably most like Duke Ellington because he loves his mama so much, but noted writer David Keenan has stated the following about our poochie’s work: “This is a seriously juiced set, with Zuma’s bell work up there with Rashied Ali circa Duo Exchange.” How has your dog inspired you artistically? He has totally reshaped my life in the most beautiful and wild ways. We do some beautiful vocal duets while tracking bear. JUNE SPRIG
_Go to yod.com/mvee.html[ ](http://www.yod.com/mvee.html)_