Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HOMAGE: Kara Walker Inspires Musician Daniel Bejar's "Suicide" / L.A. Times Blog / January 25, 2011

Within 24 hours of the M.E. Grant post Black Artist News learned of another musician inspired by Kara Walker. The following blogs are from the L.A. Times and Music for Kids Who Can't Read Good.

One Song: Daniel Bejar's Destroyer finds a different angle on Kara Walker's words

January 25, 2011 |  5:27 am
Daniel Bejar forces listeners to hear Kara Walker's words from a different angle on �Suicide Demo for Kara Walker.'
Musician Daniel Bejar
Appropriation -- the act of making something your own by copying it -- has been a hot topic in the art world at least since Andy Warhol first closely examined the can that contained his lunch. It's become increasingly relevant in popular music circles too, leading to big questions about intellectual property and the nature of originality.
�Suicide Demo for Kara Walker� employs appropriation in fascinating ways. It's on �Kaputt,� the new album from Vancouver-based bard Daniel Bejar's semi-solo project, Destroyer. �Kaputt� rethinks Destroyer's noisy, rococo indie rock within the startling context of New Romantic smooth jazz, in the process changing the meaning of clich�s like �mellow� and �art rock.�
All the songs on �Kaputt� pose this challenge, but �Suicide Demo� goes furthest by featuring lyrics Bejar cut up from text-filled cue cards sent to him by the fine artist Kara Walker. Walker herself is an appropriation genius, known for work that fearlessly interrogates the deep history of African American and female oppression through refashioned imagery. Singing loaded phrases like �Seen you consorting with your Invisible Manhole� or �Don't talk about the South, she said,� in his quavery Canadian tenor, Bejar doesn't become Walker but forces the listener to hear her words in a different voice, from a different angle. Disturbing and illuminating, �Suicide Demo� leads us somewhere new.

-- Ann Powers

Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good

JANUARY 24, 2011

Destroyer�s Kaputt is the best album I�ve heard so far in 2011 and my favorite of Dan Bejar�s nine albums. Much has been said about the album�s vintage 80�s sound (referred to as soft-rock, smooth jazz, or �ambient disco� depending on who you�re talking to) but I find it amazing how Bejar has taken a style of music that is easily laughed off and used it as the medium for his most ravishing work. The album strikes a balance of being faithful to the sound, with it�s palette of airy synths, extravagant woodwinds and soulful back-up singers, and creating something entirely new that�s both whimsical and stunning. The best example is the lively eight-minute epic, �Suicide Demo for Kara Walker�, the centerpiece of the album and the track that fully realizes its� potential.

The song�s curious title is actually far less sinister then you may expect on first glance. The �Suicide� the title refers to is the 70�s synth-rock band and Kara Walker is a contemporary artist who collaborated with Bejar on the songs� free association lyrics. The track opens with a hazy blend of synths, guitar, piano and flute that immediately puts you in a trance-like state. Everything about the song evokes a dream from the abstract lyrics to Bejar�s drowsy, sly vocal delivery. The lyrics are nonsensical by nature, yet never boring, feeling like long run-on sentences that are full of interesting words and clever turn of phrases (�Longings, longings, longings, all in vain, just ask Vanity, abandoned out in the rain by the world, another proud American�). Most breathtaking is the song�s instrumental refrain, a captivating display of dueling instrumentation amidst the pulsating electronic backdrop. The horns and woodwinds take turns one-upping each other with their increasingly flamboyant improvisations, resulting in the most arresting musical passage I�ve heard this year. In other words, a masterpiece.

MP3 Destroyer � Suicide Demo For Kara Walker

Purchase Kaputt at Merge Records.

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