700 Bliss

Spa 700

Cassette of the Month September 2018

A series of questions with no answers, words thrown at voids, 700 Bliss propose a music of and for survival. The poet-writer-rapper Moor Mother and DJ/producer DJ Haram of the renowned Discwoman collective have been playing with and for each other in Philadelphia’s noise scene for several years now, divulging the results of their collaboration intermittently. The decision to release this music now, accreting collaboration and improvisation into a bounded object, endows Spa 700 with a sense of timeliness, entangled with history, living in it, speaking to it; both of its time and for its time.
Sonically, 700 Bliss use the edifices and affects of contemporary regional club music — jersey kicks, breaking glass, sonorous bass — to conjure atmospheres and situations both earthly and cosmic: rain over moonlit oceans, dying fires in hollowed out cities, the frigid shimmer of stars. In its wrestling with history, this music becomes environmental as well as temporal; it stretches across pasts and futures, concerning itself with the topographical arrangements of objects in space and the sounds that echo between them. The figure of the ship (slave ship, spaceship, mothership) is important here — at once a location and a vessel — traversing space and time, throwing both into flux as it dislocates, rearranges, and destroys: “Look ma/we made it/only lost 100,000/coming over on them slave ships/and that’s just one ship.” Like the prow of the slave ship, this music sways, drags, and lifts: “Cosmic Slop’s” drums leaden and slurred, the vastness of the water surrounding it heavy, deep; “Ring The Alarm’s” elegiac grime chop strident and forceful, pushing upward and outward. Moor Mother acts as a magnetic presence throughout, arraying these sounds, spaces, and histories around her, drawing the listener into her words, her voice the carrier of pain, anger, and wry humor. Her verses are manifestos, expelled with force, their targets the multivalent, malevolent structures underpinning contemporary life, as pervasive as they are elusive: “That anti-black’s programmed in your head/ Now you want to steal my culture/ Ridicule my father.” (excerpt from Rafael Lubner's piece for Tiny Mix Tapes)

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