On the contrary to the title of the song, Homeboy Sandman does have a beef. This time it is directed, kindly and cleverly, against those who insist on continuing to eat tortured meat and those who apathetically and stubbornly turn a blind eye to the horrors that hide underneath their plates.
The song, which is produced by Sandman’s long-time collaborator Aesop Rock, is off of his new EP, Anjelitu, which drops very, very hard beats and comic rhymes about the strange society we live in.
Sandman explains in the song how every aspect of his life, physical and mental, has improved after turning to plant-based food, and humorously he points out certain hypocrisy in meat lovers’ arguments: “Don’t argue with me about protein/It makes me think you can’t read/This is not 12 B.C/There is B12 in seaweed”.
“It’s been said that everyone’d be vegan if slaughterhouses were made of glass But I’m afraid the reason for it is even more sordid: Slaughterhouses are made of cash”
“Life in Warp,” the debut album from A lake by the mõõn, a.k.a. Duarte Eduardo, is an opportunity to rethink what it means to be “socially conscious” when it comes to music. In what strikes the ear first as swathes of digitally manipulated noise and vaguely industrial, futuristic electronic free-balling, “Life in Warp” affords its listener a vivid and disorienting experience haunted by the sounds of a wide array of endangered animals from around the globe. That’s right—each and every byte of sound on the album, Eduardo states, “was created from field recordings of living beings that are, or have been, endangered since the beginning of the Anthropocene.” The result is something like wildlife-electronica—replete with walrus beats and humpback whale drones—but is so much more serious, devastating, and deferential. Everything you hear was already in some way first uttered by beings whose lives and ecosystems have been under extreme siege for decades, even centuries. Rarely is one’s listening experience shaped by such an unexpectedly potent sense of urgency, loss, and motivation to change your life and protect what remains. Proving that activist music can take any stance or form, what is most significant on “Life in Warp” is precisely this emotional resonance of knowing that all of these sounds came from someone in danger. Someone who, for now, may or may not still exist amidst our exploitative stranglehold on the Earth’s ecosystems.
The sheer effort required for such a cohesive sounding project of bioacoustic eco-futurism is staggering from a technical perspective, as is the task of isolating something like a “beat” and building around it subtle modulations and layers of accompaniment from literally dozens of different animals. When experimental music can take the voices of endangered wildlife and lodge them in your brain with rhythmic, pulsing fervor—an achievement especially prevalent on “Solarpunk” and “Utopia o caralho!”—you know you have arrived in a truly compelling landscape. As a wildlife conservationist myself, hearing this level of sincerity and intentionality lifts my spirits and gives me encouragement about ways of moving forward gracefully in this shrinking bestiary we’ve made of the world. It can be a simple and profound gift to encounter other wild souls who strive, as A lake by the mõõn’s Bandcamp page reads, “to manifest against the narratives of fatalism and of fake hopes.” This bizarre record of electronically manipulated animal sounds is real in the realest sense, and is, despite the serious overtones, an exercise in radical playfulness.
And, of course, Shouts! out to the following contributors with whom we stand in unwavering solidarity: walruses, giant sable antelopes, humpback whales, Bornean orangutans, albatrosses, Atlantic puffins, greater sage-grouse, Amur leopards, Malayan tigers, polar bears, Japanese meagre, gracile chimpanzees, Fortescue grunters, Asian and African elephants, wattled curassows, Galapagos carpenter bees, beluga whales, royal penguins, common eiders, golden frogs, Oaxaca hummingbirds, red pandas, hyenas, Asian lions, Mexican wolves, kakapos, red wolves, northern lapwings, Pernambuco pygmy owls, Karthala scops owls, Aruba island rattlesnakes, sea otters, Aldabra giant tortoises, Atlantic salmon, golden bamboo lemurs, mountain gorillas, saiga antelopes, and the Kauai O’o bird.
Internalised is the EP’s first track and behind acoustic guitars, Naz and Ella beautifully cover the topic of queerphobia. From there we hear the duo sing about sexual harassment, the exotification of women of color, speciesism as well as the ups and downs of long-distance relationships.
Their music is something that transcends me to a dim place, with candlelights. I imagine a setting like the Alice In Chains MTV Unplugged concert. Naz and Ella have a lot to say, about a lot of things, but they do so without alienating others in their lyrics. The beautiful part about their music is that their anger can be heard at the same time as their empathy can be felt.
In true DIY fashion, the duo also released a zine on their Bandcamp page which explains more about their personal essays and their music. Check it out!