In May ‘18 it is exactly a half century ago that turbulent student revolts took place in Paris and spread throughout Europe. To mark the occasion, the city of Brussels has designated 2018 as ‘Year of the Contestation’ and asked all cultural players to offer an answer to the question: "What remains of the social, political and cultural revolution 50 years after May ‘68? Which forms of contestation are we familiar with today?"
AB responds and commits to protest music. The current social and political climate is unfortunately an ‘ideal’ source of inspiration. Noteworthy: "It’s remarkable that—in a year hijacked by Trump’s reckless, witless Twitter belches—artists didn’t dive to meet his level" – Pitchfork. And also: "Most of the year's socially conscious music has been far more personal than political" - Consequence Of Sound.
AB delves into the The Sound Of Protest and lets the voices of Turkish social protest songs, London’s grime, the call for (musical) borderlessness, the Black Lives Matter movement and working class heroes fully resound.
In times when Donald Trump wants to build the Mexican Wall (simultaneously crossing acceptable boundaries himself, with his immigration policy), Europe closes its borders as an inappropriate response to the stream of refugees, and the United Kingdom turns its back on Europe… quite the opposite is happening in musical circles. Music has become bound(ary)less.
Enter: AMMAR 808 & THE MAGHREB UNIT, the brand new project of Brussels resideent and producer/musicologist Sofyann Ben Youssef (see: Kel Assouf). He combines his love of traditional Maghrebi music and heavy sub-bass in Ammar 808. Sofyann has surrounded himself with a number of powerful voices, irrespective of national borders (Tunesia, Algeria and Morocco), wanting to symbolically remove the (artificial) post-colonial borders.
Enter: the wonderful sonic world of NON Worldwide! A collective with African roots that puts electronic experiment first. Their mission: ’A rejection of mass culture and existing political conditions’. NON Worldwide was established by US resident Chino Amobi (whose roots can be traced back to Nigeria), Belgian/Conglolese Nkisi who operates out of London, and South African activist Angel-Ho. The Velvet Underground and New York: that was obvious. Non Worldwide links three continents.
Enter SLEAFORD MODS, ‘The angriest/most political band in Britain’ (The Guardian) that with their furious mix of (post)punk, rap, rant and broken dance beats don’t mince words. Sleaford Mods’ battle is one against Brexit, the reckless (sic) move made by England.