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In his classic work 'The World as Will and Representation' Arthur Schopenhauer writes: 'The inexpressible depth of all music, by virtue of which it floats past us as a paradise quite familiar and yet eternally remote, and is so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain.' Although it might seem illegitimate to argue with a voice so powerful in a document so lighthearted and trivial - yet so indispensable - as the liner-notes of a cd, the last words of Shopenhauer's thought
sound quite preposterous to today's standards. 'You are now entering Zimbabwe' is a truthful testimony of the poet's tears. It serves as an example of how pain is transposed to composition by actually wording the remoteness as such. The listener cannot hide from that pain. It is a mutual cross to bear. This music is easy to understand just because of the directness of its pain. The poet might have recollected it in tranquility, the listener experiences its beauty in an almost physical way. One cannot shy away from embracing the poet's discomfort because he translated it to the langauge of Everyman. His song is a donation of personal weakness to the collective and therefore a most generous and powerful action.
Although the sound of 'You are now entering Zimbabwe' wants the listener to believe it is rooted in modernist tradition, it is anything but that. Its coalescence of original emotion and ur-soul breathes the deeply tormented spirit of the romantic artist. Its clamorous blackness is contrasted with a celebration of life that would have been reminiscent of William Blake's if it weren't for its absense of buoyancy. The poet wrests every possible control of the listener and dazes it with fully laden pathos, stressing its direct nature. Launched as a guttural transposition of intestinal aches, only to deploy in composition concrète and a string serenade, the four chapter epic laudes 20th century romanticism of the likes of Pierre Henry, Henry Chopin and Robert Ashley (to whom the cathartic finale is a transparent but conscientious tribute).
Zimbabwe, which as a delusion of autobiographical diary writing stems from Latomme's actual explorations of the African continent, here comes to be a symbol for the exotic Other within the Self. The Other being the modern trickster, the romanticist disguised as modernist. Nurtured in a proto-apocalyptic and post-truth environment Beyt Al Tapes emphasizes the opaque state of being, trying to shake off the moroseness of it all in a quest for redemption. The mask of Africa enables the poet to express Original emotion in this study, answering the lack of truth with an eternal dance of positive nihilism. Hence, Zimbabwe has little to do with post-colonial self-exploration or archaic self-criticism, all the more it serves as welcome sign for the listener: 'join me in my frenzy and purge'. It is a gate of magnitude, a door of perception, wide-open to the vulnerable soul of the poet.
- Steve Marreyt
released April 11, 2017
Released by KERM Records