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Son Raw waxes poetic.
Contrarily to popular belief, we good people at POW don’t only go in for poetic, subterranean raps or dark electronic beats. We sometimes like to kick our shoes off and indulge in some dark, subterranean poetry. That’s what brought me to Ain’t About Me a dual audio/book release by Berlin’s Lukasz Polowczyk formerly known as RQM, and producer/pianist Jan Wagner.
If the idea of a hardcore spoken word record sounds strange, it shouldn’t considering the lineage from Gil Scott Heron to Saul Williams to Hyperdub’s Space Ape. It’s the latter that Polowczyk seems to build upon most, both in his measured delivery and choice of soundscapes. Initially, it was those musical choices — heavy electronic drones foreboding the record’s sense of dread – that drew me in, but it’s the album’s words that make it a perfect listen for the dying days of a cursed year, something reinforced by it’s double release on the printed page and as music.
Take opener “Watching Kali sashay with my arm in her jaw locked,” witch pivots between romance and body horror with a dash of metaphysics — a track perfect for an epoch where every body we encounter is suspect and potentially fraught with danger. This dual exploration of consciousness in a hypermodern, speed-driven society and the reality of our bodies as imperfect vessels of meat and bone pops up repeatedly throughout the work, a theme echoed in the printed version’s artwork which ranges from skeletal sculptures to surreal, tarot inspired imagery, courtesy of rrrumburak.
Elsewhere, Polowczyk references burning police precincts, sweatshop labor and old dirty bastard in a wild sonic venn diagram, ends the record with a micro-dose trip to the Bodega and generally interrogates the shadow corners of the human experience of contemporary times. It’s no easy listen – you’ll preferably want to follow along with the words or sit in a four cornered room starring at candles for the full experience – but it’s a worthwhile one, and strong proof that the democratization of music making and distribution means that strange, engaging sonic artifacts are emerging all the time, should your ears be attuned to the right frequencies.