Free-flowing, free-blowing, Open The Gates comprises of seven wide-open, panoramic, pieces sewn together from loose jazzual structures and Black Liberation philosophies: the sound of resistance on wax. Agit-jazz they call it and they’re right: this is far, far from polite supper-club noodlings: ‘a possible history’ as the sprawling, brawling cut, Keys To The Creation, terms it.
Formed in 2015 after a Musicians Against Police Brutality concert, Moor Mother’s lyrics set up the ensemble as a sonic cult: music made from pain, arising from injustice – scarred and shocked and unbowed. As Moor Mother states: ‘I know its possible because I’ve seen it.’
These are new worlds being created in real time: the album was recorded in a day and this sense of urgency, of speaking truth to power, underpins the project. When Keys To The Creation breaks down into an electronic morass eight minutes in, only to power back in, flying high on the wings of ‘Ella flying home at the Savoy’, Keir Neiringer’s saxophone squealing the ‘blues and memory’, there is a release, a freedom, a collective “fuck you!” to the racist edifices built up over the centuries of oppression.
Throughout the album Tcheser Holmes’ drums are the bedrock, underpinning the lyrical hornwork – driving forward, onward, reaching for the higher ground on Lagrimas Del Mar, synth squiggles sweetening the caustic brew. ‘Saw Heaven seven times….kissed the foot of the djembe….I cried and cried some more….in Brixton….in Cape Verde…’ Moor Mother runs it down: ‘I’m so close to the good news, to the silver and gold’ – there’s hope here, faith that there is a better way, that we can ascend, the music lighting the way – liberation, the final goal.
At over twenty minutes long Water Meditation is the set’s centrepiece: lingering horn lines leading in to Moor Mother’s aquatic hymn: ‘Water me love and revolution’ she pleads – ‘the water teaches internal energy, spirit, essence’. The ghosts of Albert Ayler and Don Cherry hanging around in the wings, Luke Stewart’s bass walking along the electronic soundscapes. Not a minute wasted: a perfect encapsulation of today’s weary blues.
An album then that is drenched in the wrongs and the blood of the past, blood spilt by those intent on maintaining their rotten hegemonies – but it`s an album that transcends, that fights its way to a new horizon, that refuses to kowtow to the false gods worshipped by Western capitalism. All hail the new puritans: Irreversible Entanglements are here to forge a new consciousness – get on board people, get on board. ‘Blues as religion, blackness explosion’, Moor Mother calls out. Are you listening?
Irreversible Entanglements` Open The Gates is out now, on International Anthem.