New work by one of my favorites. More info here.
“The underground has historically been a place where artists and musicians hone their craft before emerging onto the mainstream, however in today’s age, where the term Hip-Hop can mean a variety of things to a variety of people, it has become a subgenre of its own, a place some artists choose not to leave… But rather remain, perfecting their craft forever.
Yugen Blakrok has been on the South African Hip-Hop scene for the last decade or so. Originally hailing from the Eastern Cape, and after featuring on various projects throughout SA, she began rocking mics in Johannesburg in 2007 in a crew called Recess Poetry, which quickly gained a strong following throughout JHB…”
Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship’s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels. William and Jonathan’s tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship’s decks, hallways, and quarters, while Daveed’s lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery. In a reversal of H.P. Lovecraft’s concept of cosmic insignificance, the character finds relief in learning that humanity is of no consequence to the vast, uncaring universe. It turns out, pulling the rug out from under anthropocentrism is only horrifying to those who thought they were the center of everything to begin with. Ultimately, the character decides to pilot his ship into the unknown—and possibly into oblivion—instead of continuing on to worlds whose systems of governance and economy have violently oppressed him.
“Psychomagia” is the new album by the fabulous quartet of Abraxas, the acclaimed tribal rock arrangements for the Book of Angels series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn. Drawing inspiration from the magical writings of Giordano Bruno and Alejandro Jodorowski and others, Zorn has written a bold collection of compositions that challenge the musicians to the breaking point. With a program ranging from some of the most intense ritualistic sounds you are likely to hear to tender minimalistic odes, this is a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the intensity and power of Moonchild, PainKiller and Naked City. Recorded at Orange Music and mixed by Bill Laswell. Essential.”
“Fred Frith was a classically-trained violinist who turned to playing blues guitar while still at school. In 1967 he went to Cambridge University where he and fellow student, Tim Hodgkinson formed Henry Cow. While at University, Frith read John Cage’s Silence: Lectures and Writings, which changed his attitude to music completely. He realised that “sound, in and of itself, can be as important as […] melody and harmony and rhythm.” This changed his approach to the guitar, “just to see what I could get out of it” and initiated a long period of experimentation that continued throughout Frith’s musical career.”
More on this 1989 album here.