La Danza Poetica #36 La Síncopa

Syncopation, collaborative poetry jazz and organic electronics. Featuring the live collaboration of Anthony Joseph and Adam Pierończyk, Saul Williams collaborating with French singer songwriter Arthur H on a piece for Basquiat, plus a new cut from Saul’s upcoming album. Acapella from Umi Selah and Stimulus, the spoken word duo Climbing Poetree, Christian Scott stretching jazz, Anelis Assumpçã stretching tropicália, and DJ Khalab, Baba Sissoko, Branko, Zanillya, Capadose, the Ruffest, Khüdósoul (Budo Kiba Collective) stretching across continents. From New Orleans to New York; from France to Brazil; from Poland to Trinidad; from Mali to Cape Town; from Portugal to Suriname … stretching and tensing, sincopando.


Thomas Kessler & Jean-Pierre Drouet – Drum Control: I. —
Anelis Assumpção – Declamação + Declaração
Arthur H & Saul Williams – Basquiat
DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko – Kumu
Branko – On Top (feat. Zanillya, Capadose & the Ruffest)
Umi Selah – The Moneyfesto
Christian Scott – Tantric
Adam Pierończyk & Anthony Joseph – The Kimberley Hotel (Live)
Stimulus – Get Some (Acapella)
Climbing Poetree – Ammunition
Saul Williams – Horn of the Clock-Bike
Climbing Poetree – Para Las Mujeres
Adam Pierończyk & Anthony Joseph – Poem for Franklin Rosemont (Live)
Christian Scott – Perspectives
Jean-Pierre Drouet – Drum Control: I. —
Budo Kiba Collective – Khüdósoul – Weekday Route

Notes on the show

Saul Williams really provided the kernel of inspiration for this month’s show, as I was listening to said the shotgun to the head – his ‘epic’ poem/telling of “the coming of a female messiah” (and his response to 9/11). The recording has been released on a collection of Thomas Kessler’s work by Musiques Suisses (2014). From that same album, this show is top/tailed with Thomas Kessler’s experimental work Drum Control: I. —  There is a bit of buzz around Saul’s new project MartyrLoserKing – as you’d expect, for a work so long in development, and so mysterious in (piece-by-piece) slow reveal. The album is due for release in early 2016. Meantime we have the poetry book US(a.,) – which I’ve not read, but Saul released an excerpt to accompany the track Horn of the Clock-Bike: 

“Look how they treat us.”
…whispers the innocent sister. Her life barely missed her. Then Patience approached and he kissed her. Love’s like a transistor. Feelings have features. Innocent creatures distort what love teaches. Trade scriptures for preachers, communion for leeches. Earth’s mountainous speakers bombard and boom beat us. On guard to defeat us. You hate us. You need us. You are us. You reek us. The Martyrs and Seekers, sow questions and reap us. More grime than grim reapers. Designer diseases resolved to repeat us. You kill us. You eat us. You grow corn to feed us. You crowd us. You beat us. You crave us. You need us. You slaughter and bleed us. You tax us, harass us, pray, and then eat us. You slay us and feed us, from POTUS to penis, the aborted fetus, the corpses, the meat, us. Make sausage of Jesus. The law says to bleed us. We embody greed, lust. The wrong shepherds lead us.


I thought it would be good to pull out a previous collaboration from Williams. French pianist, singer and songwriter Arthur H is an artist who stretches musical styles in idiosyncratic ways, influenced variously by Thelonious Monk, Serge Gainsbourg, the Sex Pistols, jazz, blues, Middle Eastern music and the tango. In 2011 on his album Baba Love Arthur collaborated with Saul Williams on Basquiat, a fascinating track that is really a conversation between two artists about drive, ambition, and process. An interesting side note – Saul dubbed the voice of Basquiat for Edo Bertoglio’s film Downtown 81 (New York Beat) when the film was resurrected and finished after Jean-Michel’s death. Musically this takes us into jazz territory with collaboration between Anthony Joseph and Adam Pierończyk - one of Poland’s most creative saxophonists. And later, to Christian Scott. 

Speaking about jazz, Scott has been a small revelation to me this month, on discovering Stretch Music (I’d been unaware of him previous). Along with Saul Williams, this discovery was the drive behind this selection. He’s basically revived my interest in the possibilities of jazz as listenable music. (Too much of not enough!) This musician is fully aware of the ‘closed shop’ of jazz music especially to younger listeners, and has a refreshing take on the form – both hard-edged and beautifully soft. 

It’s how people have described my music. The last record was like the artistic treat of stretch music. These [songs] are all different ways you can stretch this shit out. As an example, you never heard a drum that sounded like an 808 on our last record. He may have been playing a rhythm from a Rakim and Eric B record, but unless you were tied in as an audiophile you wouldn’t know it. On this record, you’re going to hear 808s, you’re going to hear subs, you’re going to hear oscillating guitars, and you’re going to hear distortion on shit other than guitar. You ask me is stretch music jazz? I say yeah, fuck yeah it’s jazz. But it’s also indie rock. It’s also hip-hop.

Good interview here on Vice: