T H E H I D D E N P R E S E N T
THE NAMES • FOUR NAMES AND A SONG
I wrote a short essay, "Our Greater Potentials," as liner notes for Koen Nutters latest album with The Names, "Four Names and a Song," via Editions Verde.
“Four Names and a Song" is an encoded love letter addressed to a vital intersection — that of the traditions of AACM jazz and Cagean aleatoric composition, on the one hand, and that of racial injustice and white responsibility, on the other. Using his own musical cipher, Dutch composer and bassist Koen Nutters first translated the names of ensemble members and social justice icons into musical pitches. Each person's unique ‘melodic code’ then naturally gives rise to their own melodic and harmonic figures. In his arrangements Nutters also found inspiration from 1960s jazz harmony, which he abstracts into musical question marks. Chord progressions are slowed down into atmospheric textures suspended in parenthetical silences. Though the music takes on a disembodied character, it doesn't feel escapist. Almost ceremonial, it is more like the construction and adornment of an altar.” [...] “The music of The Names does not provide any solutions to the injustice they meditate upon, nor do they completely fulfill the white responsibility which Angela Davis suggests. But Four Names and a Song is a radical ambience in which to reflect on these powerful voices and on what that responsibility might entail.”
I was recently interviewed by Sasha Frere-Jones for Observer (NYC) concerning the remastered UK release of Arthur Russell's wonderous album, "Another Thought." Click on here or on the image to link to the article.