Organ Thing of The Day: A rather soothing Mid Summer day slice of warmth today, New York based Sierra Leonean Lamin Fofana and a rather refined rather beautifully slow new album released this week
“Sierra Leonean artist and producer Lamin Fofana delves into deep, enthralling sonics with the first of new a series, Ballad Air & Fire, which responds to time slowing uncontrollably.
Released on his own Black Studies label, Ballad Air & Fire is the first instalment in an album trilogy, which will be followed by Shafts of Sunlight on July 29th and The Open Boaton August 26th. Sonically, Parts 2 and 3 question the impositions of western rationality in music, and reimagine geographies of African diasporic people respectively”.
Part 1 – Ballad Air & Fire:
All the civilizations humans have built
(speed us up, we look like ants)
our whole lives lived in an inch,
or two. And those few seconds
that we breathe
in that incredible speed
blurs of sight and sound
the wind’s theories
“What happened to us? How did we get here? Where do we go from here? The future is uncertain. The road ahead is constantly changing. What does coming together mean now? Gathering, proximity, making spaces to come together, to sit, listen, and dream in a climate of betrayal and distrust (a climate of fear of contact)? How do you reopen a world that was always shut/tered? Ballad Air & Fire concerns time, the immeasurable and unfathomable. It worries time. It is a disruption of the linearity of historical time, and a gesture towards what historian Robin D.G. Kelley alluded to asblues time – “simultaneously in the moment, the past, the future, and the timeless space of the imagination.” On one hand, it’s about slowness, slowing down long enough and digging deep enough to open up new temporalities, as the structures (of domination/power/tyranny of time, of man) crumbles and breaks down, something else bubbles up with a sense of urgency – I only hope you can hear it.
Ballad Air & Fire is the name of a poem by Amiri Baraka. Over the last year, I have been working/conspiring/sabotaging with and against time. With the global pandemic and the world slowing down/shutting down/“lockdown”, I find myself using slowness as a de/re/composition tool, to heighten, to intensify, to deepen certain contradictions in music, in time, in my practice, in an attempt to generate something new, something that gives way to new perceptions. Ballad Air & Fire is a preview, a glimpse into my next project… the first instalment in a triptych dealing with an underlying theme of slowness, a history of movement, of unfolding folding human drama/catastrophe, and of creating a space for reflection for voices historically sidelined or marginalized. It’s fractured and fragmented – what’s ahead – but it’s coming up, it’s coming together.”
“Lamin Fofana is an artist and musician. His music contrasts the reality of our world with what’s beyond, and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation and belonging. Fofana’s overlapping interests in history and the present, and his practice of transmuting text into the affective medium of sound, manifests in multisensory live performances and installations featuring original music compositions, field recordings, and archival material. His latest releases include Black Metamorphosis, Darkwater, and Blues (an album trilogy). Recent exhibitions include Ballad Air & Fire for Preis der Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2021); a call to disorder at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2021); Life and Death by Water for the Liverpool Biennial 2021 at Lewis’s Building, Liverpool, England; BLUES at Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York (2020); Refracted Gazes/Fugitive Dreams at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2019); WITNESS at 57th Venice Biennale, Italy (2017); and performances at Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece (2017). In 2021, Fofana awarded a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists and was nominated for the National Gallery Prize in Germany. Fofana hosts a monthly radio show on NTS Radio, an online station based in London.”
Ballad Air & Fire 31:05
Unfinished Elegy 10:00
Written & Produced: Lamin Fofana
Artwork: Jim C. Nedd
Design: Simone Trabucchi
Recorded in 2021 during an Akademie Schloss Solitude fellowship in Stuttgart with support from Haus der Kunst, Munich and Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York.