v/a: Music in Support of Black Mental Health (2020)

July 8, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Music in Support of Black Mental Health

Several fantastic benefit compilations have appeared on Bandcamp recently, often for the days in which the site has been giving all of its proceeds to the artists/labels, or to charity, as on Juneteenth. This one was compiled by Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin, but curiously they didn’t brand it as an official Planet Mu release or mention it on the label’s website. The proceeds are split between five charities in the U.S. and the U.K., particularly ones that provide therapy for Black queer and trans people, and all of the Black artists on the compilation were compensated for their work. Most of the contributors are from the current Planet Mu family, with a few other techno, IDM, and experimental club artists making appearances. The release kicks off with an excerpt from a collaborative piece by Speaker Music, Ariel Valdez & Catalina Cavelight, with frantic, clattering beats underpinning a righteous speech about the commodification of Black culture and music; the phrase “Let’s make techno Black again!” is repeated several times. For further illumination, Speaker Music’s recent Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry is also recommended. Beyond that, John Frusciante goes surprisingly hard with his storming drill’n’bass composition “Lyng Shake”, possibly a preview of his forthcoming release on Venetian Snares’ Timesig. FaltyDL goes back in sentimental jungle mode, and µ-Ziq attempts to create “Hip House Breakcore”, which somehow never happened before. Vladislav Delay’s “isosusi” continues in the direction of his astounding new album Rakka, delivering a tsunami of scattered voices and manic, distorted percussive glitch. Jlin works her magic on a piece by composer Michael Vincent Waller, and Jana Rush presents the original version of “Divine”, one of the highlights from her still-astounding 2017 release Pariah. Tracks by artists such as Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke and Kuedo aren’t too different than their usual output (I honestly thought the Kuedo track had already been released before, maybe it’s an alternate version?), but the Felix Lee track is surprisingly bleak and noisy compared to the sadboi trap stuff on his album; I’d call this “cloud noise”, maybe, and I’m down with it. Likewise, the Sami Baha track is a definite evolution from the mutated trap of his underrated 2018 album, sounding much warmer and closer to ecstatic. Bogdan Raczynski’s “Average Banger” (agreed on the second part) sounds straight off of Boku Mo Wakaran, and I couldn’t possibly have a problem with that. Much like his recent Momentary Glow, FARWARMTH’s “Onwards, Forever” is a thing of beauty, with church-like organs and voices manipulated as samples, constantly clashing into each other, then being freed through rhythm and hand claps. An extraordinary amount of excellent music for an important cause, do support if you haven’t already.

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