Moor Mother – Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes – New LP
Low fi/dark rap/chill step/ blk girl blues/witch rap/coffee shop riot gurl songs/southern girl dittys/black ghost songs
The Philadelphia poet and musician Camae Ayewa, as Moor Mother, seems to be on a mission to give form to our collective grief. Death is so big, and Black deaths are rendered so small, that it leaves a remainder, a trace that refuses to simply disappear. It lives within us, it builds, it demands release. Conjuring this rage, ignored but implacable, Moor Mother makes music that feels halfway between necromancy and warning.
In comparison to 2016’s Fetish Bones, Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, is a refinement. The archival tapes appear again: Moor Mother tracks awaken the spirituals, poems and spoken words of mostly anonymous Black souls as wraiths, primed for revenge. In “Shadowgrams,” she spits, “they have killed our heroes and we forget their names.” These songs are a rejoinder to that erasure, and a proposed antidote to an anti-Black capitalism that insists cultural debts be forgotten.
The sound is as omnivorous as it is unforgiving, produced by Ayewa herself alongside King Britt and noise musician Mental Jewelry, with whom Ayewa collaborated on a joint EP in 2017. The collaborators are largely from Philly, yet Analog Fluids arrives at a moment when, in the cities of the northeast, ideological connections are becoming aesthetic ones. Hardcore, punk, noise and hip-hop are being compressed into a smear. A through-line runs from Philadelphia to New Brunswick and Brooklyn, uniting genres under the boots of unrelenting gentrification, intractable corporate power and unheard anger. Whether rapped or sung, played on digital or analog instruments, the sound is of heads hitting concrete.
Moor Mother is never satisfied to do anything other than confront. Less abrasive textures—strings, a tinny vocal sample, a wandering trumpet—are always distant, and instantly overwhelmed by Moor Mother’s vocal delivery, grim and booming. Her lyrics seethe with revelatory clarity: “I don’t believe in lies, I don’t believe in truth/I need their head as proof,” she seethes on "After Images." Calm arrives only in the closing track “The Passing of Time,” produced by Abstract Black and featuring the sweet vocals of Brazilian singer Juçara Marçal. But over this reverie, Moor Mother recites a steely, bitter truth: “My grandmama, my great-grandmama, my great-great-grandmama, they picked so much cotton they saved the world.”
Ayewa includes Moor Mother in her ongoing collaboration with fellow Philadelphia artist Rasheedah Phillips, Black Quantum Futurism, which Ayewa has called “a new language of healing, memory and justice that can be transmitted and used as a technology.”# Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, likewise is an afrofuturism, or maybe an afro-inevitability. This is the part of healing that looks into the gaping wounds. “The end is happening and it keeps happening, and you keep looking at the clock as if time ever protected you,” Ayewa says in “Shadowgrams,” and Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes arrives with a presentlessness, existing in a cataclysm that is coming, that is then and now. “Don’t Die,” an excruciating listen, is screamed, wept, and then finally gasped as the song cuts off. Bass creeps, voices moan, wail and shake. The sound is relentless, seasick. Moor Mother reminds us of forces beyond control, that are still out there, waiting.