Published Dec 04, 2019DeForrest Brown, Jr. transplanted himself from the deep South to New York City in the early 2010s, and has since garnered a reputation as a theorist, journalist, visual artist and musician. Of Desire, Longing is the artist's debut as Speaker Music, finding him exploring "gestural sonic portraitures of sonorous and cybernetic ensemble energy music." The music is freely improvised, resembling a mutant form of man-machine sonority that resembles jazz idioms more than those of electronic dance music.
Brown meant for this particular piece to fill both sides of a slab of vinyl, encouraging an escape from current listening habits that seem to favour the individual track over lengthier modes of production. The two halves together encompass more than 46 minutes of quivering samples, partially disassembled beat patterns and submerged melodic frameworks.
Drawing inspiration from philosopher Henri Lefebvre as well as British cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun, the artist "yearns to caress, engineer and sculpt sentiment into a multi-textural rhythmic body." In essence, Brown has succeeded with this incredibly dense and moving piece of music, which he has divided into halves, entitled "With Empathy" and "Without Excess."
Each portion of the overall piece unfolds with its own sense of purpose. The first half originates as a skeletal mould, over which Brown drapes disparate fragments of sonic tissue until a loose form is revealed. The latter piece starts off as a bulbous mass of beats and disembodied voices that, over time, become scrambled into a fiery free jazz-inspired frenzy.
Brown's approach to artistic creation is innovative, enlightening and highly engaging, and Of Desire, Longing epitomizes his singular and highly focused vision. (Planet Mu)