Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NON-Compliant



"It's no wonder that African and Afrodiasporic artists are choosing to disseminate music in solidarity. In many cases, this creative decision is a strategy for dealing with the alienation that is so often a part of Afrodiasporic experience. As the London-based writer Kodwo Eshun puts it in his 2003 essay Further Considerations on Afrofuturism: “the condition of alienation, understood in its most general sense, is a psychosocial inevitability that all Afrodiasporic art uses to its own advantage by creating contexts that encourage a process of disalienation.” And yet in the continuing environment of white supremacy, this creativity is routinely either erased, appropriated, or confined to narrow and fetishized aesthetic areas. The music in this article—which is all linked by the multifarious connective tissues of underground culture (labels, releases, mixes, remixes, songs etc)—is not necessarily of the same belief or aesthetic, but can all be seen as resisting the supremacist paradigm in its many different ways and contexts. Often, it can be seen as exploring the way in which race intersects with gender, sexuality and/or queerness too.


In an email, a representative for NON Records explained to me that they are "a sovereign nation state divided into three united territories. NON citizens reside in villages, towns, and cities across the globe. Each citizen has distinct social as well as geopolitical agency with our nation's infrastructure." To date, those citizens are: Angel-Ho, based in Cape Town, South Africa; Nkisi, based in London; and Chino Amobi, based in Richmond, Virginia. Through their Facebook page, they also draw attention to tracks by other artists, such as American artist Jónó Mí Ló's dystopian panorama, “Daniel 9:25 - Dawn Of The New Ugly.” “In no uncertain terms, the Intent of NON is to run counter to current Western hyper-capitalist modes of representation and function, exorcising the language of domination through the United Resistance of policed and exotified colored bodies,” NON’s email continued. “At a time when national (market) state financial and political systems are tested as never before, NON shall remain committed to the militant realities and potentials of ‘The NON State.’ NON came into existence through the Pan-African desire for representation on our own terms.” As stated on their Soundcloud page, NON artists are "using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power." They elaborated on that over email, using the terminology of 20th century French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari: "NON uses sound as a weapon to destabilize and deterritorialize our audience, and through this process of sonic reclamation and reterritorialization, we redirect the listeners' attention to our message." Put another way, in the words of American writer James Baldwin, "Artists are here to disturb the peace."

- Adam Harper, The Voices Disrupting White Supremacy Through Sound, The Fader 


Harper remains nearly the only author actually doing the difficult work of music journalism (ie, excavating the deep terrain of soundcloud/bandcamp/undiscovered artists) out there.  Everyone else is just responding to promos, it seems.



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