Updated 3/9: Out today via beatport.
Dance music often deals with currents affairs and controversies from an oblique and indirect angle. I don’t think this is anything to apologize for. Dance music grew out of a marriage of pop, which celebrated the radio hit with a backdoor message, with the radical art world suspicious of all ideologies that promised to free man.
That’s not to say they were indifferent. This is music that began its ascent when its forefathers – Patrick Cowley, Dan Hartman, Sylvester – were facing a mortal struggle with HIV and AIDS, a disease that had taken on the grim and terrifying dimensions of a worldwide epidemic. How many artists do you know that worked with a death sentence over their head? In the end, the picture I’m often left with is a man dying of an AIDS-related tumor struggling to get one last message out to the future. How can that struggle not be reflected in the music? It must be.
And all of that is to lead up to possibly the most directly conscious track I’ve heard in years. Man is a political animal, and I am too, and I can’t recall hearing any others tracks dedicated to the massive demonstrations that have taken place across the United States, growing in concentric circles from the epicenter in Ferguson, Missouri last summer.
Mr. Roland Clark and Alexander Technique’s “I Can’t Breathe” takes its name from the slogan for “what is on everybody’s mind” – the death of Eric Garner, one man standing in for the death of many, in New York, and the unfathomably tonedeaf response by those in power to the outrage.
The video for “I Can’t Breathe” by Clark & Technique was posted by Todd Terry’s Inhouse Records on Friday. The Tech House mix is as dark and ornery as you can imagine – probably the hardest, most intense track Roland Clark has ever released:
(Todd Terry notes this will be released on March 9.)
Digging around, I also found this 8 minute long Afro/soulful mix from Roland Clark on his bandcamp:
Photo: Dave Bledsoe via cc/Flickr