Thursday, July 31, 2008

non-stop black sex y'all

Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber - Black Sex Y'all Liberation & Bloody Random Violets
This is an all-time favorite of mine, one that I pull out only when I've built up to it because it stays locked on repeat for at least a day solid. Burnt Sugar is the jazz/rock/improv/blues/trip-hop /hip-hop/adult-contemporary/NYC campfire of blackness organized by Village Voice critic Greg Tate. This is another oversize album that functions like a radio station when you put it on: you hear everything from Prince to Prince Far I, Sun Ra to Sonny Boy Williamson, Public Enemy to... well I was going to say General Public just to keep up the shtick, but changing gears is all part of keeping the Burnt Sugar motor runnin'. Oh, how about Phil Collins to Bootsy Collins! No? Whatever. This album is bigger than any jokes I can make about it.

Robert Christgau reviewed it when they worked together at the Village Voice, saying "wish Tate edited his music like he edits his copy (which does not mean perfectly, believe me)" but I respectfully disagree with his in-house dig. Tate spins the spectrum of modern black sonic culture on his finger like a basketball idly making shots form the three-point line when the mood moves him to do so. He expands the cosmologies of Sun Ra and Coltrane and Anthony Braxton and Lee "Scratch" Perry and Grandmaster Flash to usurp everything - I can hear, among other things, quotes from avant-garde piano composer Henry Cowell's Aeolian Harp and some of Throbbing Gristle's crunchier moments in "random violets."

It also radiates the black consciousness he expresses so profoundly in his books Everything But The Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture and Flyboy in the Buttermilk and makes me feel like the honky douchebag I am for bringing up basketball and all but saying he is "remarkably articulate." I mean, couldn't I have made a watermelon analogy too while I'm at it, or described it as the sound of a thousand stolen car radios? White people.

Brilliant thought-provoking music that sounds better on the third successive listen today.

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