ORGAN THING: WHNZ​:​74​:​WAR is a poignant compilation album released by Ukrainian net-label We Have No Zen!, a label focused on, in their own words, contemporary experimental music…

Organ Thing of the Day – “WHNZ​:​74​:​WAR” is a compilation album released by Ukrainian net-label We Have No Zen!, a label focused on, in their own words, “contemporary experimental/improv/psychedelic/etc. music”.

There’s lots to unpack and discover, sone forty tracks or bites or sketches or pieces, forty slices of spoken word or improvised spontaneity or experimental sound making or delicate beauty or fractured goodness. Poignant moments, moments where the language beats us but the sentiment doesn’t such as Boris Malkovsky‘s They That Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy: A Prayer for Ukraine that’s followed by the peaceful birdsong field recordings and strings of Daniel Higgs – it is once again wrong to go picking out tracks on a release like this though, this is one whole body of work, a group exhibition if you will, one whole experience. And yes, occasionally we’re dumbfounded and flabbergasted, sometimes lost in who know what? Bring me the head of who? From Paisley, Scotland? Really? And there are no words for Hermit and that does shake things up a bit and there must have been some sort of rhyme or reason – but then there isn’t really is there? Oh the wings of any bird except for the those of a battery hen? Sound art? Sound? Art? Insect Factory see us about half way through the compilation, Jeffrey Alexander calms things down again and as Juhani Saksikäsi puts it with help of an update on Country Joe – Hello Hey Putin, Stop Bombing, Stop Shooting. KIP‘s Song #1 sounds horrifically good if that can be said at a time like this?  KIP’s is a disturbingly brilliant piece of art, and there we are thinking about them everyday and no not really being able to imagine and no we don’t believe in Putin’s lies, we believe in you and like Lau Nau, we’re thinking of you everyday. And there’s Martyn Jacques of Tiger Lillies and that big breath at the end of Peter Wright‘s track feels like a collective one and I have no idea what’s going on with Poimuajomiehet yet somehow imagine I do? And on it goes, it never seems to end, it is, even though we’d rarher there was no need for it, highly recommended and remarkably everything on here, every single track, the whole thing, everything about it works and really you don’t need a review as much as a link and a signpost and  maybe a nudge…. (sw)

“this is a Ukranian experimental/improv/psychedelic music label, and this release is a freeform audio message to the people of Ukraine with sounds of support, solidarity, and reflection. I hope youll check it out!” – Jeff Barsky (Insect Factory)

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The label’s own notes…

“This compilation was conceived as an address to Ukrainians and the people of our planet at the same time. Initially, I invited musicians to send free-form tracks with their own attitudes to this horrible war, which was brought to Ukraine by the “brotherly” country of Russia. The choice of musicians I invited was based on my personal love and respect for their work. In the beginning, I wrote to specific people, but then there were artists I had never known before who wanted to join the project because of its message. The initial goal of making a compilation of words of support, reflections on the war, and musical patterns that in a certain sense could be called “the soundtrack to a newsfeed from Ukraine” suddenly grew into a really free format, because you cannot force free people to think in any given way. I wasn’t trying to. I simply outlined a vector, and then everything went as the participants of the compilation thought was right. They themselves chose both the form and the content.

I am immensely grateful to everyone who agreed to take part in this project. To everyone who decided to express verbally or musically their attitude to the atrocities that are happening in my country right now. This collection for me personally is a slice of the mentality of the reasonable world, the quintessence of reaction of a mentally healthy person, not only to the war in Ukraine but also to the current state of humanity in general. Our world is fragile and today, more than ever, the bastards are testing its strength… And the words/sounds of support that are included in this compilation are like threads that help stitch together a torn peace in Ukraine. A torn peace in Europe. A torn peace in the world…

I would very much like for as many people as possible to hear everything that ended up and will end up in this collection (it has been in “semi-finished” status since the beginning of April 2022). I think the writers of the messages on this compilation had words for everyone.

For all the fans of experimental music in Ukraine (unfortunately, they are few, but still, they are)…

For all the fans of this music on the planet (I think there are many more of them)…

For all the refugees from the east of Ukraine, from Mariupol, from Kherson, from Kharkiv, from Chernihiv, from Sumy, from hundreds of other towns and villages, who had to leave everything they lived with and for and seek shelter in other cities of the country, or even outside it…

For all those who are now defending Ukraine, with or without weapons…

For all who are now grieving the loss of loved ones in Bucha, Hostomel’, Irpin’, Borodyanka, Moschun, and other small towns near Kyiv, executed by Russian war criminals who consider themselves “soldiers” of the empire, who came to our land to liberate it from us…

For all those who have always spoken freely in my country in Russian, but after this war began, switched en masse to Ukrainian, right down to the last gopnik and previously unprincipled bum…

For all those who today, without regard to the risks, have saved the helpless and frightened…

For all those who believe in the victory of good over evil…

For all who believe in a free Ukraine…

Finally, my label was originally conceived as a free one. But today I want to ask everyone who likes the music published on it to help Ukraine in some way. All albums are still free, but there is a “Pay what you want” option. All money that has already come or will come for any album from the catalog was/will be sent to volunteers and territorial defense. Yes, there are armed forces in my country that have been quite successful in repelling enemy attacks. But the needs of the refugees and – more important – the territorial defense, which consists of ordinary civilians who have come out to stand their own ground, are always there. We must defend ourselves. Help us if you can and want to. You can buy any album from the label’s catalog or you can download it for free and donate directly to wehavenozen@me.com. The choice is yours.

Please support. Please share. Please spread these words/thoughts/sounds.

Thank you!

African // We Have No Zen!
Here’s the 42nd day of the war. 

released April 6, 2022

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