“The entire album is an exorcism of an dead universe. Nothing can stay together here. It’s hauntology as a pasture of incidental tones and half-ripped photographs. The video footage is unable to focus. The lens’s view is eternally obstructed. The wild blurs of compounded biographies come off like a fever dream of a memory play.” – Timothy Gabriele (12 November 2009). Broadcast and the Focus Group: Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age – PopMatters.
“Songs as truthful as a dream/flow as steady as a stream/A stream of knowledge and of pain…”
If any words summed up the work of Raymond Chikapa Enoch Phiri, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday, aged 70, in his birthplace, Nelspruit, it was those. They come from the 1986 song he co-wrote with the Ashley Subel: Whispers in the Deep (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy9QPjUkvvM) – a song that became one of the decade’s anthems of liberation, and lives still.
Phiri’s Malawi-born father, “Just Now” Phiri, was a guitarist, and that family history gives the lie to all the xenophobic myths that cringe before colonialist borders. Migrant workers just like ‘Just Now’ built the economy, and fattened capitalist profits with their sweat. But they also built South African culture and music through the sharing, swapping and inventing of ideas that took place in hostels, shebeens and backyards. The king of instruments…
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When the void finds you and sings back.
From the Wong Kar-wai film In the Mood for Love (Chinese: 花樣年華). The Chinese title, meaning “the time of blossoms” (a metaphor for the fleeting time of youth, beauty and love) derives from this lovely song of the same name by Zhou Xuan from a 1946 film:
Julie London, with backing by the Hi-Lo’s.
NPR Music Field Recordings.
“There’s no denying there’s a spiritual quality to the music of Anna von Hausswolff. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the Swedish singer and musician plays the pipe organ, an instrument that fills cavernous church sanctuaries and holy spaces with rich layers of sound. But it’s also her songs on this year’s superb record, Ceremony, that take on an otherworldly transcendence mixing moody orchestrations with engrossing, almost poppy melodies. So when Soundcheck had the opportunity to film von Hausswolff in New York City, as a co-production with NPR Music’s Field Recordings series, it was only natural to seek out a pipe organ in a church that could accommodate. Filmed and recorded inside the spacious and regal Christ Church – a United Methodist church on Park Avenue – von Hausswolff’s rendition of “Funeral For My Future Children” is outright stunning.