On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the members of ISWHAT?!, including Midwest BSFA member Napoleon Maddox, are hosting a show at The Greenwich called The Deconstruction Period. As some might imagine, the name and concept of this event is intended to bring to mind certain eras in history, as we have not come as far as our calendars suggest.
Napoleon has invited several friends (musician and producers) to deconstruct the songs “Strange Fruit” and “What a Wonderful World.” They could sample, chop, replay, re-order or otherwise affect either or both songs in ways of their choosings. The only stipulation was that the creators would need to have control and ability to trigger the parts of the reconstruction of these individually to be replayed in a collaborative performance. This sonic dialogue will be led / conducted primarily based on assignment of rhythm (structure) and texture (sounds that flow between varied structures).
“These songs are significant to the American conscience for several reasons,” Napoleon says. “The reasons we will focus on for the case of the deconstruction is to pick apart how these songs bookmark points in American history that many assume we are beyond. ‘Strange Fruit’ looks America’s ugly past square in the face. ‘What a Wonderful World’ is hopeful, even to a fault, misleading. If we had to guess what decades the songs are from, most people would probably fail if they weren’t alive when the songs debuted. So it’s interesting to play with the songs in America’s current climate.”
Napoleon sees the event as a continuation of last month’s “Afrofuturistic Music” discussion. “We’re dealing with elements of time and context and retelling history sonically as well the major role that technology plays in the way that we developed the pieces that we will be sharing in musical dialogue. Then there is also something specifically Afrofuturistic about claiming, maiming and defining our own expressions outside of the boxes that are predetermined as genre.”
Here are a few previews of what you’ll hear during the night: