Mourning [A] BLKstar, ONO, Blacker Face

Mourning [A] BLKstar

Formed in 2015 by RA Washington, M[A]B looks to forage new pathways toward heart music by melding soul, blues, electronics, avant-poetics w/ futurist beats.

Webster Dictionary defines spook as a ghost or a spectre, and ONO's brutal, daunting new LP is teeming with them. But spook is also a racial epithet, and this double-meaning informs the album from start to finish. The spectre of race, of course, has defined our nation's history from its inception--it's the "long shadow," in Obama's words, that's with us always. Spooks, as bandleader P. Michael puts it with typical bluntness, is America--past, present and future.

It's hardly the first time the almighty ONO have brought their vision to bear on the dilemma of black life in the 'New World', but Spooks is ONO going deeper, darker and denser than they ever have before. Joined by a slew of guest performers and fellow travelers, including Ministry's Al Jourgensen, Lamont Thomas of Cleveland's Obnox, Hilal Omar Al Jamal of Night Auditor, and longtime collaborator Shannon Rose Riley, the core band is at its most punishing, their Afro-industrial rhythms driving and ruthless. Singer travis, meanwhile, has never sounded so terrifying, or prophetic, as he conjures up, in his many voices, the "bleeding haints" of (pan)-American life: cotton gins, sugar plantations, CIA coups; "Brownsville" slumlords, South Side arrest rides, drive-thru funeral homes. "I try not to think about Spooks," he explains. "Spooks burns my loins. Spooks buries my unborn children. Spooks illuminate the (US) American landscape."

Spooks is no history lesson, or dry polemic. Its ghosts are still rattling their chains, their haunting perpetual and highly personal. It's hard to imagine where they can possibly go after as grueling (and brilliant) an album as this, but after heating up for some 35 years ONO is positively aflame--whatever they thrown down next might literally melt the wax."

Blacker Face


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