“Bird, why do you sing?
Fate has clipped your wings.”
Read Gaelynn on keeping inner demons at bay.
Thank you Derek Davey for introducing me to this artist.
“What might begin as a space whose protest action aims to form humanising culture where Black disabled, trans, queer, and womxn’s bodies are safe and heard, is very quickly appropriated by the anti-blackness of up high – a force that polarises the complexity of oppression and attempts to direct and contain action into the physically violent (inherently colonialist) form that it understands best. In this sense, the state functions to direct the protest politik into the Afropessimistic voice, one that we know disinherits those who do not immediately come to mind when we say the word “black” (ie: black disabled, trans, queer, and womxn’s bodies) and one that abandons the pursuit of humanity, in favour of unhealthy martyrdom and recklessness.
“So apart from the predictability of state-sanctioned physical violence in the form of stun grenades, teargas, rubber bullets, arrest and jail time, it is important to understand this state provocation as incredibly strategic in the way it seeks to awaken retaliation in the same form. It begs us for physical retaliation – the kind that re-confirms black people as bodies, the kind that forces the “you can’t kill us all” mantra – basically the kind of protest that black able-bodied cis-heterosexual men happen to be good at leading and controlling, the kind that does not challenge structural power, but fulfils the fantasy of Fanon’s black man in replacing his white master.”
“No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
– John “I’m done” Donne. Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, 1624
Cut together wonderfully with footage from Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922).
Everyone should read Siya Khumalo.
The politically correct answer to Steve Sidley’s question is, Of Course You Are, Silly! More tea and jam with those croissants?
But politically correct answers are like placebos for Ebola patients, plasters for gunshot wounds, or, to cite a more scandalous comparison, like 1994 rainbowism for apartheid’s aftermath.
While I liked Sidley’s article, I would have preferred one titled This Is What I, As A White Person, Am Prepared to Do About Structural Racism and Inequality. Or Why Aren’t More White Businessmen Concerned About Structural Racism and Inequality? Sidley has probably addressed these topics, but what surprises me how much traction this piece got.
But of course. The question conveniently implies we (black people) have the power to decide white people’s fate and were always ready to use it violently. It conveniently underplays how much economic power white people hold. So this is not about accountability; it’s about victimhood. I submit this is why its resonated.
It is glorified abdication of social…
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From We Shall All Be Healed (4AD, 2004).
(A junkie friend stole this record from me a couple of years ago. I’d have been okay with that if I knew he was listening to it, because it’s a great album when you’re in a dark and self-destructive place. Sadly, I’m pretty sure he sold it on immediately.)
Stock footage from atomic bomb testing on 16 July 1945, and other public domain clips.
“The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity…”— Oliver Sacks
So utterly incredible.
My kind friend Anwar gave me a ticket to Abdullah Ibrahim’s solo concert last night at the Fugard Theatre. It was the quietly incandescent performance of an old man who has been so far and seen so much, whose heart remains rooted in this troubled land even as it hurts to be here, even as his fingers know he doesn’t have forever. His playing held such sorrow, yet such peace, and playfulness, too. Refusing easy resolution, defiantly free as ever. We imagined afterwards how incredible it would have been if the whole performance could have been broadcast live on loudspeakers, into every roiling corner of this country, for everyone to hear it simultaneously. A lament. A hymn. A balm. A lesson. Beyond the span of words’ expression.
We stank of hair dye and ammonia
We sealed ourselves away from view
You were looking at the void and seldom blinking
The best that I could do
Was to train my eyes on you
We scaled the hidden hills beneath the surface
Scraped our fingers bloody on the stones
And built a little house that we could live in
Out of Dinu Lipatti’s bones
We kept our friends at bay all summer long
Treated the days as though they’d kill us if they could
Wringing out the hours like blood-drenched bedsheets
To keep wintertime at bay
But December showed up anyway
There was no money, it was money that you wanted
I went downtown, sold off most of what I owned
And we raised a tower to broadcast all our dark dreams
From Dinu Lipatti’s bones
From The Sunset Tree (4AD, 2005).
Outside the Orbit: clearing the shattered glass
The Orbit had its front window smashed on Friday night. Whether by protestors with a defined purpose (though it’s hard to fathom what), opportunistic demagogues and provocateurs, or a bunch of drunken thugs joining what they perceived to be the “fun”, it’s hard to know. All the vandalism has achieved is to rob musicians and service workers of a few days’ decent gigging, and a struggling club of resources.
During the mayhem, the Orbit still willingly sheltered students injured by or terrified of police weapons; it cares about its community. The attack has silenced for a while one of Joburg’s “small pockets of cool” (the phrase is tenorist Shabaka Hutchings’) – a place where the cultural discourse regularly runs counter to the prevailing smug complacency and abdication of responsibility.
The view from inside the Orbit as an SABC van burns outside
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Don Cherry: trumpet, melodica, organ
Collin Walcott: tabla, sitar, percussion
Nana Vasconcelos: berimbau, percussion
This album is medicine when you need space to breathe.
From milk and honey.
A projection mapping sequence created as a collaboration between inka kendzia (the grrrl) and faith47.
Faith created a shrine-like installation made out of found objects. The mapping sequence was then projected on top of this shrine structure.
The projection was created specifically for the opening night of Faith’s Aqua Regalia exhibition in New York at the Jonathan Levine gallery in November 2015.
artist – faith47
animation and mapping – inka kendzia | the grrrl
music – fletcher beadon – fletcher in dub
filmed – zane meyer of chopemdownfilms
It’s weird how the recording industry warps experience. We can sometimes forget that every recording is only one iteration that was captured and set in stone as “The” Definitive Performance, when really it just happened to be captured that particular time among many, many other possible times. Records, like photos, pluck moments out of time and concretise them… And they are the only thing we’re left with later to glimpse a whole era. That’s why densely detailed archives such as Ian Bruce Huntley‘s, where there were many recordings of the same bands made during the same era, are so interesting. I’ve posted here, and in the preceding post, recordings of the same band on two consecutive nights.
One of the lovely things about everyone having a camera in their pocket on their phone is that this is not something that is rare anymore, and the democratisation of shared experience is a very powerful and positive thing. One of the horrible things is that there is just such a volume of recorded stuff (much of questionable quality) being generated that the brightest nuggets of wonder can be drowned in the dross… Too much recording and we have a shaky, pixelated backup of every moment kept on hard drives, that no one ever has time to live through twice, to the extent that everything melts into undifferentiated, indigestible “big data” and can only be apprehended as statistics. I feel very ambivalent about it.
I think it’s really important that, whenever possible, we still have experienced photographers, videographers and sound recorders assigned to do this stuff, so that in years to come what we are left with are some beautiful and considered recordings, and not just a haunted avalanche of muddy glimpses.
An incredible gig at Straight No Chaser, Cape Town, South Africa, 16 January 2016.
Louis Moholo: Drums
Shabaka Hutchings: Tenor Saxophone
Kyle Shepherd: Piano
Brydon Bolton: Double Bass
From Nuits De La Fondation Maeght. Recorded the year he died.
Sudden Infant – Invocation Of The Aural Slave Gods
Label: Blossoming Noise – BN006CD
Released: Jul 2005
Rest in peace Capwise, Cabucabu, Crapmachine extraordinaire. We will miss you, dear Long Dog. 💔
To me, this acoustic demo is one of the most beautiful things Dolly has ever recorded. It’s an outtake from her 1971 album, Coat of Many Colours.
“You Know My Steez“, off Moment of Truth (Noo Tribe/Virgin, 1998).
The main sample comes from Joe Simon’s “Drowning in the Sea of Love” (Ace Records, 1971):
From the soundtrack of the film Gelecek Uzun Sürer (Future Lasts Forever) (Turkey, 2011).
Synopsis from IMDB: Sumru is doing music research at a university in Istanbul. To work on her thesis on gathering and recording an exhaustive collection of Anatolian elegies she sets off for the south-east of the country for a few months. The brief trip turns out to be the longest journey of her life. During the trip, Sumru crosses paths with Ahmet, a young guy who sells bootleg DVDs on the streets of Diyarbakir, with Antranik, the ageing and solitary warden of a crumbling church in the city and with various characters who witness the ongoing ‘unnamed war’. During her three-month stay in Diyarbakir, while looking for the stories of the elegies, she finds herself confronting an agony from her own past.