Someone commented that the events of the past several months have turned every blogger into a politics writer, and while it’s inarguable that resistance in any form is vital, it also means that most sane intelligent people keep shouting into the void while the fascists march on. It’s wonderful to feel a solidarity with others aghast at what’s occurring; it’s inspiring that the ACLU raised $24 million in the last 24 hours; it’s also evident that the next four years, potentially eight, will be a horror show unseen in our lifetimes.
Don’t ask me for definitive answers. I’ve marched and fumed, spewed vitriol on Twitter, debated entering politics despite a lifetime track record that would ostensibly bar me, and decided to spend March in the woods — away from news and the all-pervasive madness infecting the body politic. As I said on Twitter, Trump is a plague, a toxic spray tan of humanity’s worst impulses, and it’s difficult to write anything that doesn’t come off sanctimonious — or lamely tries to shoehorn political commentary where none needs to exist.
Music will always be one of our supreme consolations. Sometimes, you want escapism and there’s Migos. Sometimes, you want to feel like you have the power to cast lightning bolts at the TV screen, and there’s Run the Jewels. Sometimes, you want something in between. Four Tet has understood the human condition better than most for a very long time and he proves it once again with this gem dropped this afternoon.
Quiet as kept, Kieran Hebden added eight songs from musicians hailing from the countries on Trump’s banned list. There’s a beautiful cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Past Time Paradise” from Persian singer Martik. There’s the Syrian wedding classic “Wenu Wenu” from Omar Souleyman. There’s a “freedom song from the Somali Republic” courtesy of Abdullah Kershi and Ahmed Sharif.
Without the need to grandstand, Hebden implicitly reminds us of the bonds that we all share, the similar desire to live a life unchained from oppression, racism, and slander. The fact that all art exists as a way to understand, transcend and explain the hell and heaven that is the human condition. I’ll stop typing now because the songs say it much more eloquently than I can hope to. Listen to the rest of the playlist too, which is predictably beautiful. And if you want to wreck the rest of your day in the best way, check out Four Tet’s four and half hour set from LA last fall.