Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air – abstract hip-hop


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Black Air Encyclopedia is the product of a rewarding unruly artistic spirit. Moor Mother, aka Camae Ayewa, is a Philadelphia-based poet, musician, artist and activist whose music inhabits various underground subgenres (experimental hip-hop, industrial noise, free jazz). She is also a member of Black Quantum Futurism, an art project that espouses Afrofuturism – a loose cultural movement that uses fantastic visions of history and the future to free the black imagination from past and present oppression.

Her new album finds her reciting semi-rapped and spoken verses in the company of a diverse cast of guest singers. The music is abstract hip-hop with bits of melody. The results are very different from the computerized pulse of today’s chart hits – “Android algorithm tunes” as Ayewa calls them in “Mangrove”. The song places her in a dystopian “Confederate landscape” where dreams are extinguished or turned into nightmares by Sandman-style boggers.

In her previous albums, she confronted this impoverished or threatening imagination through improvised acts of dissonance, notably the strident sounds of free jazz. Black Air Encyclopedia takes a more phantasmal approach. His voice and those of his collaborators dominate the debates, a mixture of raps, songs, chants and ghostly whispers. The music, performed with Swedish producer Olof Melander, forms a background haze of tingling percussions and tense chords.

The results deliberately lack structure, an effect that presents a different kind of challenge than the mismatch of other versions of Moor Mother. But this corresponds to the idea of ​​the time of the album and to the tyranny of the measure. The final track “Clock Fight” brings together a litany of beat-poetry from imprisoned timepieces – working clocks, master’s clock, city clock, and more. .


Black Air Encyclopedia‘is published by Anti-


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