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  • Andy Valeri; Big Beef Productions

Music As Elevation - Notes On An Episode

I'll admit it was kinda hard to find words I felt worth sharing regarding this specific episode of the program ('Rome Roam' - IAH Episode 19), while we are amidst a real time explosion of events in our world these days, where it seems it is all very much happening. Most notably the exploding waves of resistance going on right now on a multitude of college campuses, which seem to be spreading exponentially, with people everywhere speaking out against the policies of militarism and genocide the nation I reside in is actively abetting.

It's All Happening is not a news program, but this is one of those moments I’d be tempted to wish it was, as we’re literally in the midst of a wave of history that is (r)evolving not by the year or month, or even week, but by the day, even hour. As a student of history, I can sense the loaded and surging ambience of our moment, where you just know those bluesman were right when they were singing about how the levee is gonna break. I'm not one to be quoting Vladimir Lenin for much at all, but he was on to something when he noted how 'There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.'

So yeah, this is the kind of opportunity doing daily or weekly DJing work (like I’ve long done with Around The Fringe, or even some of those gigs I would do for WYSO), would be truly ripe for being addressed through music.

All that said, sending out an episode that was actually produced a year ago, one that I had always tended to relegate to the back shelf as rather music-centric, an almost ‘lightweight’ edition of the program, at first seemed a bit tone deaf, even distractive to the moment.

But then I listened to it shortly before it's release, for the first time since it was made, and per the Lattice of Coincidence, it felt almost perfect for the moment. (In fact, the Lattice even literally shows up in the episode).

As a tag line for the show often reiterates, IAH is a program not to provide escape, but relief. Where music serves not as a distraction, but as elevation. That felt notably the case with this one, and provided me with a realization this is what I would want to be hearing right now in the face of everything. I was so far removed from having compiled it in the first place that it that it was all practically new. And it very much reminded me of that guiding principle artists often work from, about making things for themselves first and foremost, and then hope others find appreciation in it as well.

I can’t think of a more upbeat and encouraging soundtrack for life amidst a fraudulent, decaying, collapsing empire. Amplifying some smoothly powerful grooves I think one will find can be helpful, particularly in sensing reality moving along towards something better than our current absurdity.

I’ll leave you with some thoughts from the good people at Z Magazine, that I feel appropriate for our moment…

“The momentum of this moment is underlined by the increasing urgency of the brutal darkness in our midst and on our horizons. Mainstream news bleats out “Fear change! Fear the other! Fear the mob!” yet is silent on mass graves. Genocide rips through Gaza, Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Authoritarianism is on the rise and sucking political prisoners into its maw from the US, to Russia, to Ecuador. Our planet is being torched for profit.

“Palestinians have had enough. The Global South has had enough. The youth have had enough. Workers have had enough. [People] from all walks of life Have. Had. Enough. Dear reader [and listener], we hear you when you say that YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

“We are the global majority and we recognize ourselves in each other’s struggles. We can see the cracks up and down the length and breadth of this rotten system we have inherited, and through them, we can also glimpse the glow of alternatives. If we are ever to bask in that glow and spend the rest of our lives living, now is the time to mobilize.”

With that, I hope you’ll turn this one up loud.

To paraphrase Emma Goldman..

“If I can't dance it's not my revolution.”

Giving the thumbs down to the spectacle of (the) empire.

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