Hot on the heels of the release last week of of Montreal's brand new album Aureate Gloom care of Polyvinyl (also available in vinyl format) the prolific Athens, GA indie band have unleashed a music video for the ten song album's opening track/lead single "Bassem Sabry" (named for the Egyptian journalist who tragically died in the spring of 2014). The stream of consciousness, photo-montage styled video clip (below) that was shot mostly on Super 8 film was directed by Ben Rouse who, in a statement about his approach to its production, said that "I tend to peg myself as a photographer, so in many ways this project was a really beautiful boot camp into an entirely new medium. It's my first music video...so it was a massive learning experience and chance to make something exciting and meaningful with our friends. I felt very inspired by Věra Chytilová's Daisies, Stan Brakhage's Mothlight, and Jean Cocteau's Le Sang d'un Poète."
Aureate Gloom, which is of Montreal's thirteenth full-length album, was recorded at Sonic Ranch studio which is just across the border from Juarez, Mexico in the Texan desert where the album recording was done old school style: recorded directly to tape. There, with the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg, Aureate Gloom was recorded by Clayton Rychlik (drums), Bob Parins (bass), Bennett Lewis (guitar), JoJo Glidewell (keys), and of course Kevin Barnes (guitar, vocals). Of the album's revelatory lyrics main writer Barnes, who founded the band in 1996 and pictured above c/o Chad Kamenshine, admitted that it indeed might be a case of TMI. "I might be guilty of sharing or exposing too much of my private life, but to me the best albums are those that help people connect with an artist on a deep, human level and that do so without too much artifice or evasiveness," he said in a statement noting that, "I was going through a very stormy period in my life and felt like I was just completely trashed."
For this week's Hip-Hop History installment we rewind back to wonderfully vibrant year of 1988. It was a time when hip-hop still constantly growing, with exciting sounding new artists constantly unfurling new lyrical and musical sounds. To me '88 was part of the third wave of hip-hop - with the first wave being the (original) old school artists of the 70's/early 80's, who were eclipsed earlier in the 80's by Run-D.M.C. who ushered in the "new school" - but who themselves in turn were eclipsed by this newer third wave of hip-hop. It often seemed (and more so in retrospect) that every record released in '88 was a good record. Of course, as with any music in any time period, there were hip-hop duds released in '88 too. However overall it is fair to say that 1988 had a larger percentage of quality, diverse-sounding, influential, and timeless hip-hop releases than many other years in the genre's four-decade history. And no wonder; it was part of the time frame known as the "golden era" of hip-hop that is widely considered to be the artistic pinnacle of the art form. I think part of the reason for this, along with the lyrical aspect of the artform still being relatively young and still being explored by new emcees like Rakim, was the fact that sampling was at its creative peak. Remember this was in the period before the infamous 1991 landmark Gilbert O Sullivan vs Biz Markie copyright case that essentially brought an end to free range sampling, and would end up in hip-hop being a little less adventurous sounding due to all the restrictions placed on it regarding sampling.
Earlier this year tireless longtime fighter for justice and equality for all the Reverend Billy Talen (of the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir), who had adopted the Black Lives Matter cause after being outraged over the treatment by police of African Americans in incidents such as Mike Brown in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY, organized a peaceful protest in Grand Central Station. There the longtime NYC based Talen, who spent earlier years of his life in Northern California, was midway into his #BlackLivesMatter speech/sermon he got arrested by the NYC MTA police. The arrest came in hour 18 of the planned 24 hour vigil / peaceful protest in the iconic train station in central Manhattan. You can see this January 5th 2015 arrest take place in a play by play recording in the revelatory video clip shown below (left is a screen shot still from the same video). In the clip you can clearly hear the police say 'stop resisting arrest' while simultaneously clearly see Talen not resisting one iota. Then you see him get hauled off to jail where he spent that night. The next morning, upon release from jail, he found out that the charges against him by the MTA police division were that he "physically attacked" a police officer. "I did not touch anybody. I am trained in non-violence. I was simply arrested while I was speaking and taken away," he said later adding that, "They think that they can just say anything about anybody and get away with it."