Friday, May 31, 2019

Music Review //
Damon Locks - Black Monument Ensemble
"Where Future Unfolds"
(International Anthem)


https://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/where-future-unfolds //

Part of my writing process involves listening to albums which I have downloaded for about thirty seconds to decide whether or not I want to keep them and actually write about them.   When I pressed play on "Where Future Unfolds" I should've simply said "Yeah, I'll write about this" and then put on another album to decide about but I just couldn't turn this one off and listened to it all the way through.   If you listen to "Statement of Intent" and don't feel the same way then not only is this album likely not for you but we might have a problem.

"Statement of Intent / Black Monument Theme" has this spoken word part to open up the album and it's exactly what it says it is-- it is a declaration, a letter of intent.  There is singing, percussion, wind chimes and just a lot of chaos swirling together into one sound and never has a single song quite possibly set the tone for an entire album so well before.  If you listen to this album and can't make it past the first song I would not only question you as a music listener but as a human being.

There is applause, as this was recorded live, and with the soulful singing this touches on some important topics.   It has that feeling where I can relate it with something like "The Boondocks" because musically there isn't a whole lot of room for comparison.  There is a clarinet, but it's not quite jazz.  At times I can feel like it is gospel, but still not quite filed under that genre tag.   Elements within here could be compared with that of Bob Marley, which is never a bad thing, and a child by the name of Rayna Golding opens up the song "Rebuild A Nation" with a powerful solo.

At the core of it all, these are protest songs and while the title, lyrics and a lot of it otherwise may present this as being for a specific race, I feel like this goes beyond all of that.  Yes, it is about a group of people who have been treated differently- wrongly- by another group of people, but it doesn't mean that you have to be a part of that group to listen to this.   This music can feel like a lesson from a history book where no matter the color of your skin you can say that this has happened long enough and has gone too far and it needs to change.

While this has a record and CD release, I'm not sure if there is a DVD for it but as the credits note the dancers I would hope that one day this is released with visuals to accompany the music.   Nothing has been more moving, with such a greater sense of purpose in my lifetime than this album.  Both from the unique music within that it feels like anyone with ears can enjoy and yet isn't really radio-friendly to the word-by-word power of the lyrics, this has to be listened to by all for it can only make the world a better place in which to live.

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