Irreversible Entanglements

Irreversible Entanglements

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Poet/vocalist Camae Ayewa, saxophonist Kurt Neuringer, and bassist Luke Stewart performed together at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event organized in 2015 following the fatal police shooting of Brooklyn resident Akai Gurley. Also present were drummer Tcheser Holmes and trumpeter Aquiles Navarro. That duo joined the trio later in the year to record this grim and unremitting set of "liberation-oriented free jazz" in one day. Unlike Ayewa's piercing machinist work as Moor Mother, her voice on these four lengthy compositions is untreated and unaffected as she continues to project fury, defiance, and grief, albeit in a measured way to coalesce with the instrumentalists. "Sometimes you can get lost in the rhythm of oppression," she plainly remarks, just before she hurls forth, with clenched teeth, referencing the Homestead Act, observing "It's always Black Sunday here," and connecting the past to the present with "Must be trauma looping." After Neuringer and Navarro clash violently at the start of "Enough," Ayewa howls the song's title as an outpouring of anguish. She composes herself, "sick and tired," over Holmes' and Stewart's belting interplay, then dejectedly recites the names of black women and men killed by white police and civilians. Most moving is the finale, "Projects," where Ayewa takes the perspective of a child whose family has been evicted. Her last words startle over a squall of brass and woodwinds and gunfire-like drums. Transfixing from beginning to end, the album all but asks, "What are you doing to end the cycle?"

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