Sunday, January 03, 2010

Review of Crosstalk in the Journal of the Society for American Music


"Mendi and Keith Obadike have compiled a stunning recording containing pieces that have, at one time or another, been referred to as 'spoken word', 'text-sound', 'sound poetry', or simply rap . . . [E]very track on Crosstalk creates something new out of very familiar materials by carving out (or . . . continuing to excavate) a space of artistic possibilities in speech, music, and speech-music." -- John Brackett

As some of you know, last year saw the release of Crosstalk: American Speech Music, an audio anthology Keith and I produced / presented on Bridge Records. Artists on the album include: Pamela Z, Guillermo Brown, Tracie Morris, Shelley Hirsch, Paul Lansky, DJ Spooky, Ursula Rucker, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Peter Gordon, Lawrence Weiner, George Lewis, John Link, and Vijay Iyer. We were honored that so many of our favorite artists agreed to let us present them together. We have been fortunate to receive a number of positive reviews. The latest came in November, from John Brackett in Journal of the Society for American Music ("Mendi + Keith Obadike Present Crosstalk. Bridge Records 9285, 2008"). In addition to being a positive review, it is also a thoughtful one. Brackett gives detailed attention to several pieces. He describes them both in relation to the context and common practices we provide in the liner notes and independently of them. It has been interesting, exciting, useful, and fun for me to witness how someone else hears the project we had spent so much time conceiving and organizing. I am increasingly grateful for the ways that being an artist and a culture worker in general gives me opportunities to attend to others' ways of attending, and equally happy to know that others are listening to me.


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