USA, 2005 [archival 1973-1981], modern classical / minimalism

Julius EastmanUnjust Malaise

This is a three-and-a-half-hour monster of an album, so if you’re sitting down to listen to this, it’s the same as dedicating yourself to an opera. The first track…you can hear the ignored malaise swirling around the perimeter of the party, out in the dark away from the bright lights of the festivities. There is an underpinning of duality at work throughout this archival collection. It’s no mistake, I think, that the holy presence of a martyr such as Jeanne d’Arc would sound like the roaring consummation of fire. The music is the sonic equivalent of laying your heart upon the pyre. “Crazy Nigger” (an album-length single composition) is some apocalyptic piano shit, when the last empires build their wealth upon the backs of the impoverished and downtrodden. Near the end of the piece, it sounds like a sea of voices are all speaking at once and speaking at variance with one another. Unsettling to say the least. So, which one would you be? Gay, Evil, or Crazy? As for me, definitely Evil. It is simultaneously destructive and creative, like building sand castles at high tide.

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