V/A: Dogfood Music Group Mykki Blanco Presents C-ORE

[Dogfood Music Group/!K7; 2015]

Styles: industrial, hip-hop, noise
Others: Chino Amobi, SCRAAATCH, Angel-Ho, Nkisi, Serpentwithfeet, Shanti, Bekelé Berhanu

A haloed dog symbolizes Dogfood Music Group in its logo. It’s a familiar sign in marginal musics, especially along the joins of hip-hop, industrial, and noise music. DJ Dog Dick, Dog Leather, and Hundebiss Records, for example, also adopt the token, and the music on Mykki Blanco’s C-ORE compilation largely reassumes this canine scent: Violence’s opening track, for example, leads the way with its echo-drenched snares and muggy raps; the production is damp, with hypnotic vocals drowning against an ominous piano motif, interspersed with stuttering swells of handclaps and somber drones. The symbol is somewhat telling. Connotations like “leading a dog’s life” imply a harassed existence. Likewise, as implied by the title of Cynthia Orozco’s book on civil rights No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed, the common exclusion of our domesticated canids runs disturbingly parallel to the demarcation of groups of humans everyday. So, it’s unsurprising that the symbol might resonate with the group — comprising Mykki Blanko, Yves Tumor, Violence, and Psychoegyptian — considering the regular systemic violence faced, in particular, by Afrodiasporic bodies.

Appropriately, Adam Harper provides an overview of “The Voices Disrupting White Supremacy Through Sound” in an article for The FADER, in which he rightly refers to Dogfood Music Group to support the often underestimated fact that “African and Afrodiasporic musicians are behind huge swathes of inventiveness in both underground music and music as a whole, disproportionately so in terms of demographics.” As Blanko herself states: “People all over the world are only fed this singular image of ‘African American Music,’ and we want to disrupt that. We all come from backgrounds outside of the black American norm, and the world deserves to see our culture as much as anything else.” In this way, C-ORE runs parallel to recent output of NON, comprising ANGEL-HO, Chino Amobi, and NKISI who, in a similar manner, set out to create “sound opposing contemporary canons” while articulating the “visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society.” Nonetheless, C-ORE offers its own representation, served by the idiosyncratic artists involved.

The aforementioned track by Violence opens C-ORE as a statement of intent. Although tagged online as #Hip-Hop, for anyone expecting norms, the compilation is indeed going to be disgusting and unholy, but hopefully it gets through to those pleasure centers nonetheless. The cavernous club of Yves Tumor’s “Childish” is hollow and vast — full of resonance on both an audible and obscure level. Yves Tumor, who also serves as the executive producer of C-ORE, is the alias of a prolific artist who also releases music as Shanti, Bekelé Berhanu, and as part of Silk Bless. As Mr P said of the recent Janus release, “Bekelé Berhanu’s ‘untitled’ mix entrenches itself in the noisy, politicized decay of club life, with leavening distortion that transforms its source material into wretched, hollowed-out pockets of dirt, mud, filth.” Yves Tumor’s When Man Fails You,, on the other hand, offered a similarly wretched, yet somewhat cleaner harvest of sonic solidarity.

Elswhere, Violence’s “Saturn” offers a haunting take on club music, with stuttering snares and hi-hats. Violence’s music is entangled in human frailty, previously displayed in an appearance on Total Freedom’s Blasting Voice and his EP The Complete Embrace of Enkidu and Gilgamesh released earlier this year. Psychoegyptian — the alias of New York artist Devin Cuthbertson and based on a black anime star called hOla zygOte from the cyberspace of PsychoEgypt — brings home the message with “Lullaby,” C-ORE’s closing and perhaps most accessible track, while Yves Tumor’s “Histrionic I,” “Histrionic II,” and “Histrionic II Skunk Of The Earth” are bodies of harsh noise, wherein a beat occasionally manages to tear apart enough space to become heard — a meaningful voice struggling against a barrage of discordance.

Links: V/A: Dogfood Music Group - Dogfood Music Group/!K7

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