Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Respiration," Black Star

"Respiration," by Black Star, is today's Oort Cloud soundtrack. Here in the Oort Cloud life is hypothetical, etherial and a long long way from Brooklyn, crime and poverty. But the Oort Cloud contains multitudes, inhales and exhales like the city in the song, enveloping the elements of its connecting galaxies.

The Oort Cloud finds this song about the reality of crime and poverty very moving and insightful because it tries to "describe the inscrutable" using tangible metaphors: the city as a body with a human, physical relationship with its desperate residents. It can be loving and abusive, nourishing and annihilating, cosmic and claustraphobic.

The song's poet-participant-observers, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, cope by testifying to the brutal reality of the ghetto with fluid poeticism, haunting but beautiful melody, and a rhythmic throb that pulls its inhabitants into a river where the current intoxicates before drowning them.

This is how great blues music "fingers the jagged grain of a brutal experience," to quote Ralph Ellison," and transforms it via its lyricism, not its answers.

But we do get some answers, like the promise of leaving on the "last train of the evening"; and that "keeping it real will make you a casualty of abnormal normality."

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dave,

    I hope you don't mind me calling you Dave.

    Two questions.

    1. Where do you turn to find new music?

    2. What are your top five favorite bands.

    Please and thank you,

    -Mark Daniel