Here is my voice:
This empty shell
- Cecilia Meireles
Political music; it, so to speak. It comes down to producing a crowd, and dialoguing with it musically: the musician plays, the crowd dances as it thinks and or believes. It’s a hard gambit: the very best political musicians often oppose themselves to mass existence. It must enchant. There’s a word that philosopher Judith Butler uses to mean a large political gathering that if I’d like to point your attention to: assembly, and use. What sort of music would best serve the political assembling of human beings?
Dressed all in white, the woman, a deity, lived in between all musical notes. She had been painted with gold earrings and a ruby ring. Then came the separation of church and state, and obscurity for her. She had once been prayed to by many civilizations. She knew the secrets to dance, secrets about lightness in human motion that all could practice, if they’d attended dance school or not. She spoke very little.
An assembly, u say? Not a town hall. Never mind the thoughts of characters who populate a town: Mr. and Ms. so-and-so, back from the movies, on a walk, jovial, mourning, grieving. Never mind who was whom’s cousin, where so and so met such and such. Never mind the dress she wore, whomever’s cousin she is. It would take too long to factor every individual taste. An assembly needs a direction, whether it is futurist, accelerationist, or asks to contemplate the past.
Sacred and sacrifice share a root word do they not? She must be offered great gifts. She sometimes gets mad and that is often a good thing; when she gets mad she offers advice on how to fix it, which may be a new dance.
Smell and taste would do. Boys and girls, food, barbecue may be the perfect way to phrase, manifest, wanting to come together. It brings together in a way that does not negate the artist’s perspective.
How would music do? In a sentence, you must apply social pressure. We will: futurist. Scream! (‘cause of this song): accelerationist. We were: the past. The present? The present is colossal, expansive. Coming together by reminding of the present is best served by quiet and by conversation. When it’s journalism, photojournalism, it’s the past.
He had met her in an old book found in a university library. She came to him in a torrential dream. He was far from the ruins of old civilizations that he had learned in school while living in the new world, though he was in fact in the new world. The dance she taught to him, when he asked, was one wherein women and men become wolves and take to howling down a society’s set principles, despite the capital that such a society promises them. For such knowledge, he burns 7 candles, two of them red, singing a short prayer throughout the ritual of lighting the candles every day and then blowing them out at night.
It must be much more than throwing out slogans for it to produce a new belief. It takes a song that will offer a direction to a polity. Take Toro Y Moi’s music and how it speaks to the preconditioning of an assembly’s crowd. The lead singer might be the only young man of black descent doing what he does: fun fragility much more on the white “indie” side. TV on the Radio’s singers may be the only other singer doing the same in an America with such myopic notions about race and sensibility.
Toro Y Moi’s cosmopolitanism makes very little sense to many Americans, all of whom have preconceived notions of music, crowd, music, future, fun, life, band, but especially race. It’s Saturday night somewhere, USA, and Toro Y Moi is playing. An assembly has come together due to being an agreement about ca perspective. A musician wouldn’t need to even play his or instrument to get a scream out of the assembly: tell the assembly something that it likes.
Was his dream of the woman who lived in between musical notes, from civilization past? Whom he found himself burning candles for? Was his dream quite simply his mind wandering? His mind does wander. Regardless, she holds told him the secret to great political music, music for dethroning a vampire. He was now ready for war.
Toro Y Moi composes and performs musical alternatives, full of micro alternatives (each instrument.) Some have it named it chillwave because it is listened to as something like this:
A song for the
Cool girl he’d called
With very bleeding heart
And she answered his call. :).
It slopes upwards at times to, but mostly downward as a wave to rise or let come in and crash.
Political rock politicizes those infatuated by musical artifice. Rock infatuation was with R n’ B and then a larger one with Elvis. That infatuation becomes wholly part of an identity. Political musician observes such a phenomenon by living it and produces political rock and roll.
Toro Y Moi seeks new sensibility. Sensibility is political: it is the dream that humans and human relations in the polity will be different. It also seeks to rid its leader from the perceived burden of having to fit a racial stereotype. The polity is morbid and Toro Y Moi would like to enchant it, but with structures form, you know, not with loud anarchy.
The Assembly comes forward to dance the new sensibility: Toro Y Moi has banished stereotypical music and identity, in a word living, to the worst of deserts. By doing this, they dance against all that might produce the old sensibility and the old burden.
They, over there, dance alter-narratives, freeing themselves from a society’s mainstream narratives like those learned from jobs at enterprises. That narrative has nothing to do ideologically with killing one’s lightness-of-being at heartless work. “Buffalo,” a narrative of both words and the tonality of instrumentation, offers its audience a pretty cool, proverbial, way of thinking about life.
He doesn’t seem to get the joke
He’s turning yellow, as a yolk
Someone took away his microphone
Pushed him off the stage ’til he’s on his own
Can’t feel a thing when he takes a shot
Ends up taking three right to the eyes
Cash in when the time is right
Can’t stop by if he ever stops
Get down from there, or fall
Don’t make us wait, too long
They do this while feeling classically infatuated, and fulfilled by the melodies and chords that assemblies of rock fans have loved for years.
Toro Y Moi’s music is great at being political because it crowds around the infatuation with rock, and then manifests alternative existence. It is not as political as for example MIA’s, whose songs often take positions against. They, nonetheless, impact an assembly politically, imparting a narrative / perspective.
The assembly assembles for the same reason why campaigns build canvass teams: it makes game theory sense. Together, we are stronger. The assembly would be best served by a fable, or by allegory. Musicians tend to prefer proverbial morality when being political, but the fable has proven itself to be narrative beloved by all social classes. For it is an assembly of humans in the end, living to have done something incredible once upon a time.
He was a drummer but wrote the band’s songs. He wrote a solo for the bassist after which he’d bring the crowd to wolf like behavior with verve. He could see the woman, the deity be served with 7 candles, two of them red, in his mind, angry but confident as she is about a world turned catastrophic, as he patted his leg. “You are going to do this for me,” she told him.