How was 2017 for you?
Rick Bull: A huge, confounding, heart-rending head-rush of a year. Personally, leaving Berlin after so many years, re-inventing myself as a music academic/community worker in Australia for a while, and now living in London, straddling the worlds of music education, performance and composition. More than ever, any sense of personal “career” seems like wasted energy — in the light of late-capitalism’s brutalist death-rattle and the rise of the extreme-right, arts-practice has re-assumed a rather less “aspirational” role in my life. I’m interested in arts/music as survival strategy more than ever. I couldn’t give a shit about revisionist acid-house, dub-techno or (insert cliché-x) for the sake of assumed “authenticity.” Let’s remember that keeping it ‘unreal’ is arguably more empowering than “living the dream.”
Diving deep into the work of the late, great Mark Fisher. Remembering Kodwo Eshun. Weeping in stunned awe at the vitality of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Britain’s Black Diaspora. Realizing how fun sleep actually is. Feeling energized, inspired and deeply honored to work in music education with young people. Birthing the first Acharné album and remembering that the joy of music, for me, comes in witnessing it writing itself. Witnessing the much-needed voices of the likes of Holly Herndon, The Black Madonna and Honey Dijon rise radiantly in the nauseating “sea of bros. Seeing the way music-making tools, knowledge and power have been really democratized across once immutable class-lines is profoundly heartening. Discovering some inspiring trap, drill, grime and commercial R&B work. To start writing work for which makes me think of my dad and other’s with dementia.
Seeing how soul-crushingly white, male, hetero normative techno has become. Embarrassed and saddened by ill-considered comments from the like’s of Giegling’s Constantine, and more. 2017 felt like the year when those at the extreme edges voiced their Trumpian, Brexiteering, indignant juvenilities. It’s all been cause for a lot of self-reflexion on my behalf. I wonder how i might better speak of those I don’t commune with? Ultimately, though, the tragedy here is that many of us like myself were naive enough to assume that there’s ever been a Golden Age of PLUR. These voices have always been there – but I’m glad that at least now they aren’t permitted to endure without response. To paraphrase Birmingham’s finest, Techno “Will Eat Itself”
Song of the year?
Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Child of Rage”
My close second is Drake’s skeletal dancehall gem “Blem”
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
To laugh way more. To give less shits. To forget music in order to remember music.