Best of 2017 #09: Irreversible Entanglements – “Irreversible Entanglements” (International Anthem)


Of the many protest albums to surface in 2017, the recording debut of Irreversible Entanglements is what rises up and above the crowd.  A quintet of vocalist Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother), alto saxophonist Keir Neuringer, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, double bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Tcheser Holmes, they stand up to what’s wrong, voice and instruments in unity and channeling a rage that won’t be contained.  In a year when it seemed so much went to hell and the flaws emerged all around us, Irreversible Entanglements is what it sounds like to fight back.  And in a context outside of politics and society, this album isn’t so easily carried through.  Spoken word and free improvisation rarely see such a remarkable confluence as on this recording, where each word seems perfectly married to an instrumental phrase, where the changes of intensity of the former rise and fall with those of the latter, and where inflections and patterns and running narratives have a complementary relationship like they were fated to be together from the very start.  Irreversible Entanglements has a specific perspective, a blunt point of view, and it resonates with a power that transcends its personal meaning and touches upon the protest against everything that’s corrupt.  This is the gold standard for protest albums.

Music from Philadelphia, NYC and Washington DC.

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