The Oracle – Angel Bat Dawid

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Picture this: You’re all up in that post-secondary edumacation and classical music training when Bam! You’re diagnosed with a brain tumour. Bummer. But, eventually, you get through that shit. Now you’re neck deep in debt and need that fucking money. So you do what you gotta do, put down that instrument and pick up a job. Eventually, you find yourself a wicked awesome job that pays well but … where’d that dream go? Of course you still crave to be a musician but, come on, this is life. Life doesn’t work that way. But, fuck, we only get one shot at this bitch so it might as well be for the heart. You cash out your 401k, quit your super awesome job, and go out into the world and try to be a musician. Gulp. But, hey, you know how to work. You’re not a lazy fuck. You end up running a record store, you organize music coalitions, you write operas, start bands, and release this record. That’s some gutsy fucking shit.

Already Dawid’s story is inspiring, and we haven’t even gotten into the album yet. Dawid performs almost all the voices herself. She mixed, overdubbed, and recorded this shit onto her phone. Did you get that? Let me run that back: she recorded this shit on her fucking phone. Scottie McNiece from International Anthem (a slick record company that released Makaya McCraven’s badass Universal Beings not so long ago) got these cellphone demos from Dawid and thought, “They sounded perfect to us, very real. We liked the idea of releasing music that was the most intimate portrait of who Angel is and what she does in her everyday life, moving through the world and recording herself.” These cellphone demos are what make up this album.

It’s not crazy to think that an album recorded on a phone probably sounds like shit. But this album? It’s one for the fucking ages. This album is deep and personal. It includes a lot of Dawid on her clarinet and her tone is otherworldly. It digs into the goddamn soul. This album’s inspiration comes from slaves going out into the woods, as their masters sleep, to seek out spirits. Dawid says, “From that you get gospel, you get jazz, you get blues, you get hip-hop. It all started because people snuck away from the establishment and the oppression to soothe their souls through sound—that’s the music I play.” Well, shit, that’s about as deep as you can fucking get.

The struggle, the heart, the intrigue, and the depth of all these inspirations are poured directly into this record. Some of it ends up sounding messy. But that mess is fucking perfect. It’s the kind of mess one goes through with heartbreak, lost chances, and diagnoses. At some point while listening to this record, I felt I better understood Dawid. Somehow, through these sonic waves, the album reached out and opened my eyes to her world. I felt her struggles, her pains, and aches. Now, I don’t care what you fucking think. When and album can do that, it’s a motherfucking success.

 

 

 

 

One thought

  1. Great story, solid album – a weird mix of timely and timeless sounds. The bubbliness in Impepho sounds like something Autechre might pull together, but the sounds interplaying overtop of it are diverse enough that my brain can’t pick out what each of them are – they’re obviously acoustic, but my brain won’t tell me what, so my headspace reverts to digital/synthesised sound. And yet it still *sounds* like free jazz. I gotta dig deeper into this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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