TOTD // 03/03 // Hieroglyphic Being

Published: March 3, 2017, words by Joe Wilde

Part of the Our Black Roots takeover


Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being is set to release a new LP, The Red Notes, on Soul Jazz Music next month. He has had a long and illustrious career in the music industry that started with him selling homemade cassettes outside raves in the mid-90s, hustling sales from punters leaving the events. In an interview with RBMA he highlighted his first defining moment as when he was picked up by Jeff Mills for his experimental Mission 6277 imprint in 2004. However, eight years before that, he had launched his own label, Mathematics Recordings initially as an outlet for his own productions. Later he introduced more artists into the fold sharing his vision such as his mentor, Adonis, who he cites as a big influence during his formative years.

His musical style has evolved to become something truly unique, encompassing everything from industrial noise to free-form jazz. With all this taken into account, it was a no-brainer to invite him in for Our Black Roots.

In his own words: “Four tunes wasn’t enough to try & convey across the message or meaning of 400+ years of a certain ethnic group’s human struggle & story – let alone in the past 40 years or even the last 4 of what’s been happening just in the Western world.”

With this, Jamal initially sent us a list of ten tracks including Merry Clayton, The Staple Singers, Joe Smooth Featuring Anthony Thomas, Ike & Tina, Naomi Shelton & Gospel Queens, and The Last Poets; along with his four final selections in order to better tell the story of black oppression through generations. With this list, he shared some more of his thoughts, beliefs and experiences of being a black musician. Read his words while listening to his selection below.

“The song titles or sound genres, be it either electronic or organic alone, shouldn’t be broken down individually to summarise a people’s struggle; it should be listened to as whole, as a conscious universal collective in order for all of the targeted audience to feel sonically the narrative of why Black Lives Matter – or I would still prefer to call it by its true calling: The Black Liberation Movement. It’s just a shame we are still in a cosmic loop protesting the same issues, fighting for the same basic rights that others already have or take for granted.

“Just so we are clear, there would be no electronic music or black influence on it if it wasn’t for the black artists who came before us doing gospel or soul or political lyrics or social word play or blues or jazz. This is what’s getting lost in the whole understanding of the so called black experience in electronic music culture.

“Technology has changed the medium in which these experiences can be conveyed by the soul of the human, but the struggle is still coming full circle, regardless of the medium or genre. When we do electronic sounds we are still channelling the ancestors and their stories, that’s all I am doing when I am involved in this sonic narrative.

“The bottom line is these tunes are picked as an individual human narrative of their struggle, and the stories told by these artists fighting to be recognised or respected as Human first. The concept or projections of “Black” is diversionary semantics used as a tool by others to keep a people not fully wanted or connected to Humanity in the past 400 years. This is how I quantify or identify my personal human experiences regarding each song pick – I fight to be seen as a Human Being, not just to survive and beg and march and cry and protest so I can live a little longer as a black entity.”

via youtube

Gil-Scott Heron

I'm New Here

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“I have my own personal demons I have to battle as a person let alone fighting the struggles of being black in this world.”
via youtube

Howard Tate

Strugglin'

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“Self-explanation on this one isn’t rocket science, everyone has their own struggles regardless of the skin you’re in.”
via youtube

Lil Louis & The Diamond Corp

War Games

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“I perceive all the world’s ills of fear and division and racism as a form of physical and mental war games nobody wins.”
via youtube

Hieroglyphic Being & J.I.T.U Ahn-Sahm-Buhl

Fuck The Ghetto / Think About Outer Space

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“We live in a vast universe. I don’t believe in the ghetto fabulous mantra or mentality, you don’t see holocaust descendants or victims embracing the concept like it’s the be all and end all. We as a people should aim higher. The Sky’s the limit.”

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