On January 9, 2014, we lost one of the most eloquent voices of the freedom fight, Imamu Amiri Baraka, the man formerly known as Everett LeRoi Jones. Amiri Baraka was one of the most published and respected artists of the Black Arts Movement, and his work had an extreme polarizing effect. He was made the Poet Laureate of New Jersey, only to have that title stripped away because of his poem "Somebody Blew Up America", was a controversial statement about 9/11. He was a lifelong advocate for equality, but has been accused of anti-semitism, misogyny, and racism. He was a contradiction. Remembering Leroi Jones, Examining His Recorded Output as Amiri Baraka Amiri Baraka was an artist at the crossroads: between pre-war and baby boom; between black and white; between free-jazz and hip-hop. He stood between hippies, beatniks and black power; sci-fi and harsh realism. He occupied the intersection between humor and ugly truths. As we continue to lose more and more of the older generation of freedom fighters, we run the risk of forgetting – forgetting the struggle, and the oppression they were struggling against. As we get further and further away from slavery (the Southern kind, anyway), we are in danger of forgetting its face and losing sight of its specter, even if it's only in our minds.The 20th Century was unique for being the first full century with recording technology. While we may not get the scent of tear gas on the breeze, or know the humidity of an August afternoon in Birmingham, we can strive to remember and understand through records, photographs and film. Going through the recorded legacy of Amiri Baraka, from the '50s through the '90s, is like opening a time capsule. It reminds us of the revolutionary power of jazz, poetry and theater. In 2014, all of those forms have almost entirely been de-toothed and un-fanged, become a tool of the bourgeoisie that they panned, bombed and smashed. It's easy to forget that these were the voice of the people. It calls us back to a time of street theater and community workshops: these were a time of action. Without this reality, it is all too easy (and dangerous) to co-opt the art of revolutionaries past, to bolster your own cred, while safe and comfortable in your air conditioned citadel.

Hidden beneath the gargantuan, State-driven China that is emphasized over-and-over again in news coverage lies an artistic day-to-day that few people see. As in any developing country, China has become a breeding ground for new and often innovative ideas – and included in that are an increasing number of musicians...

The 1980s: that decade of shoulder pads and deindustrialization, was to be a decade of neon-coloured clothing, big hair and financial big bangs; a decade when Frankie Goes to Hollywood said "Relax", and David Bohm proffered that space and time were no longer the dominant factors in the relationships of...

Layla Sailor's gorgeous photo series, Kokoshnik, examines the traditional Russian headdress in a gloriously colorful and modern fashion. Historically worn by married women from the 16th to 19th centuries, the customary kokoshnik is generally characterized by a nimbus crest-like shape and decorative design. By contrast, Sailor's photos, a collaboration with designer Lisa Stannard, are an apt abstraction of the traditional headdress, incorporating lively geometric forms as well floral and animalistic elements, while honoring the intense, ornate design of the traditional pieces. The impetus for the series was to challenge how pattern is photographed, but nearing its completion, Kokoshnik took on additional meaning, as a way to show support for the members of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot, a feminist punk rock group who were protested the Orthodox Church's support of Vladimir Putin on the soleas of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and were subsequently arrested. In Sailor's photo, the phase “Let Our Sisters Go” is placed prominently and resonates as solidarity for the cause of freeing Pussy Riot. The Kokoshnik project is exemplary of Sailor's affinity for color and her talent for displaying imaginative and cinematic images.In the interview below, Sailor dishes on her dreamy style, her lifelong passion for folk art, and the distinctions between commercial and personal work.

 

REDEFINE magazine and Holocene host FANTASTIC BABY: The Opulent Kingdom of Contemporary K-Pop, a K-Pop music videos gallery and discussion panel on the following topics: - Repeated motifs and common techniques in filming contemporary K-pop videos: a technical analysis - The rise of colossally sized K-pop idol groups with 10+ members - Eroding...

"We do not want to please, we want to question the Knife." - Olof Dreijer, in the manuscript for the group's latest album, Shaking The Habitual.
From the heavy-handed manuscript and bio written to accompany their first album in seven years to the album's eye piercing artwork, The Knife pull no punches in making sure the ideology behind Shaking The Habitual is made clear. And while it's not always executed gracefully, the two Swedish siblings certainly remain a relevant force on this indoctrinating album. What's most difficult to ignore upon first glance is Shaking the Habitual's expansive track listing. Clocking in near 100 minutes, with a 19-minute track positioned squarely at the center, Shaking the Habitual is an album bent on perturbing even the most dedicated of listeners. And herein lies the major crux of the album, the very essence of The Knife which allows them to differentiate from their peers: Shaking the Habitual is not music written for escapism; it's a social enigma masquerading as music. Instead of something to enjoy, "to please" as Dreijer put it, Shaking the Habitual rails against every conceptual conceit in modern music. Or at least that's what The Knife want you to think.

 

With a drab color palette of greys and and blues, reminiscent of somber films like A Single Man, comes the music video for Antony And The Johnsons' emotive new track, "Cut The World". At just under 5 minutes, the music video features some well-known faces and figures, like William Dafoe, Marina Abramovic, and Carice van Houten. The slow-moving mini-drama finds its main strength in singular facial expressions, moods conveyed by slight gestures, and focuses on minuteia. And with this brief description, you should watch this video (along with the one for the philosophical "Future Feminine" -- both available after the jump), as it is a miniature cinematic achievement in music video form.

 

Directed by Nabil

 

Background On The 2011 Angolan Demonstrations Luaty DaSilva On His Airport Experience
In early 2011, as the turmoil from the Arab Spring protests made their way into pockets of Africa, Angolan youth began taking to the streets themselves. At the heart of their ongoing dissatisfaction remains the 32-year reign of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who protesters cite as the cause of mismanaged oil revenues, suppressed human rights, and widespread poverty, amongst other corruptions. 1 One early advocate for the protests include hip-hop musician Luaty DaSilva, aka Ikonoklasta, who openly voiced his support for the uprising during one of his February 2011 concerts, listing government officials as "exploiters of the oppressed" while the crowd responded to push them "out!" In June 2012, DaSilva departed Angola for Lisbon, Portugal, to play with the Kuduro band Batida. DaSilva's supporters at the Angolan airport warned him that his luggage had been tampered with by the National Crime Investigation Department, and DaSilva decided that upon arrival in Lisbon, he would tell customs that he suspected foul play. But he never made it there, as the police were upon him as soon as he got his luggage. A kilogram of cocaine was discovered in DaSilva's luggage, but the presiding judge of the case set him free, because, in Luaty's words, "the framing was so gross that not even the judge bought it." 2 For the following month-and-a-half, DaSilva stayed in Portugal, and has only just returned to Angola. As he shares in the interview below, he suspects that the government "must have something ready for me, some sort of "warm welcome home" for when I return on the 25th of July." He is just one of a handful of musicians known to have faced persecution. 3 The 2012 parliamentary elections are to be held in Angola on August 31st -- hypothetically the first time the government will respect the constitutional deadline of having four years between elections. Yet despite this fact, which ostensibly seems to be an improvement, demonstrators both young and old have seen an intense increase in violence in the past year, much of which has been captured on video and disseminated widely via the internet. As recently as July 15th, several hundred protestors, knowing very well the potential dangers which faced them, risked likely violence from security forces and protested in the Sao Paolo market. Twelve were arrested, including two journalists working for Portuguese publications, sparking a call for the postponement of the August elections until free and fair polls can be guaranteed. 4 In the following Q&A with REDEFINE, DaSilva gives his perspective on the situation in Angola, offering a point of view from the young and frustrated underclass, in both Portuguese and English.
September 2012 Headlines Thousands stay away from Angolan elections (AP News - 2012, August 31) Angola's ruling party declared election winner (CNN - 2012, September 2) Angola court rejects UNITA appeal, says vote was fair (Reuters - 2012, September 19)

 

Expectations can be a tricky best, especially when it comes to films. The trailer for Mathieu Kassovitz's newest film, Rebellion, really makes it seem like a wartime story. In a sense, Rebellion is a wartime story, insomuch that it is set against the tense occupation of the French colony of...