Intriguing, enchanting and terrifying all at once. To me it's the perfect soundtrack I'd envision for waking up in a strange nation and not knowing the name of the place, or any contextual understanding about the culture, or even remembering how you got there in the first place. It has the capacity to be a negative or positive experience in equal measure, a testament to the two talented women behind this record.
Favorite track: Vultures Laughing.
What a remarkable pairing of conceptualists. Moor Mother is such a presence as a poet, noise-maker, thought mystic and truth teller. Nicole Mitchell is an Afrofuturist jazz magician, a student and teacher of African American music across generations. Together, they cross streams to conjure ghosts of sound in sharp drones, industrial gurgles and golden-hued orbs of melody.
Favorite track: Prototype Eve.
Shimmering columns of light will guide you, a grand synesthesia riding on a kaleidoscope, oscillating between hushed moments, where sound unfolds the firmament, unfurled like a cloak upon the shoulders of the real world. Listen: this is not a “track”, a circular appendage looped around a spindle and activated by some muscular stone on stylus. Too many people bled for the diamond there, too many questions remain trapped in the groove. What to do then, besides move the listener beyond the traps of expected sonics and into a menagerie, away from the strange hook of the promise of shelf-space or the obsessive atonal drone of, in fact, obsession? Here it is: live on wax, as it were, a breathing, living thing, pulsating on its own, lifting into the ether to announce itself, to nestle into the crevices of your dusty IKEA storage units. Move this mysticism in!
There is a traditional, ancient magic embedded in the dusty spaces surrounding Moor Mother's afro-retrofuturist tech-jazz, amongst the noise emblazoned with phoenix fire screeds. She is an Orisha willing to embrace a foreboding cyberpunk narrative informed by Born In Flames and Space is the Place, if it will free you, the traveller, the future mystic, from a carbon-rusted sheath, so that you, a sword on fire, may burn. “How do we get it back?” Empowering these ideas are dream drones, ghosts on soundwaves burst through her instruments like a poltergeist-- Nicole Mitchell conjures at her cauldron, uninhibited by the specter of spectacle, by the post-academia, five-stars-and-an-Eventbrite-link-industrial complex.
“See the vultures laughing? See the hawk circling? Have you been walking around with open eyes?” they say here, in a song. These are whispered bombs under the breath of a gamelan, an accoustic soundsystem-- pleading, longing, for your specific liberation. Make a home for this magic!
Traveler, spirit, sage-- your hand holds the physical, time-stamped documentation of the first collaboration between two mystics, the inimitable poet and noise musician Moor Mother and the indefatigable flautist and composer Nicole Mitchell. These two artists, diviners truthfully, spent a few years basking in the sun-spilled glow of each other's radiance from a distance before colliding and colluding musically at the Moor Mother curated Le Guess Who Festival in Utrech, the Netherlands in 2018. That is the performance captured here, then chip-tagged, cataloged and released into the wild. - Alex Smith