Now I know you’re gonna be mad, there is no new Jay Electronica in this post, and the story is old. But the video is a unique and interesting piece of content and this is a personal story that goes with it.
Just over four years ago in November 2008, team Decon and Jay Electronica took a trip across the globe from New York to South Asia (and later, Dubai). Kathmandu was not the original destination. The plan was to start in Mumbai, India. However these plans would be diverted after the attacks that occurred there, literally days before we were to leave. In fact, we were scheduled to check into one of the very hotels where the attacks occurred.
The entire country of India was on high alert. Peter Bittenbender, the project’s executive producer, and director Jason Goldwatch were already in Asia, vacationing in Thailand. Fortunately our producer in New York, Isaiah Seret, had an idea. Isaiah had lived and studied in Kathamandu for two years and kept many contacts on the ground there. We moved quickly and travel plans were adjusted to Nepal.
It was almost as if it were supposed to happen that way (clearly it was). While in Nepal, we not only well taken care of but were given special access to an elaborate Buddhist ceremony at the main temple in Kathmandu, Boudhanath, that happens once a year but had been cancelled for budgetary reasons in previous years. If you follow Jay E at all, that’s where his avatar photo comes from with him sitting in the front of a crowd of Nepalis, outside Boudha Stupa, the most iconic of all buildings in Nepal (they thought he was Barack Obama!). On the roof of the monastery, Jay Elect sat privately with the head monk where they conducted an impromptu interview. I was there. I have no idea what they spoke about.
We travelled the country side in a rickety bus, up into the mountains, to the site of the two-day Gadhimai festival honoring the Hindu goddess of power. The festival is controversial as it the largest animal sacrifice in the world. We stopped and picked up a goat along the way. Jay named him “Swagger Jackson.” We ended up saving the goat.
All of it was filmed. Clips of it can be found on Youtube. The only polished piece of content to be released from this journey is a video for Jay’s song “Dimethyltryptamine” (link), which I previously leaked here at Okayplayer without approval because it’s just that good.
Today via Mass Appeal we get to see more from this trip, with what Goldwatch calls “Time Pieces.” The Jay Elect in Nepal video is second installment of the series (watch the first one featuring Pharrell Williams and Karolina Kurkova in Brazil). All shot on 8 mm film, there is footage from each stop on our trip including a visit to some slums were we delivered rice, and Jay E getting face decorations from Saddhus that were made from the ash of cremated bodies. Like many things Jay Electronica, it was never finished, and there is no set release date. Like most of the catalog of unreleased music Jay E keeps on his computer, shit is epic.
"The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.” — Terence McKenna