Aagoo Records on 4 November 2016
“Glitchy and soaring, it’s a haunting track (shades of The Knife) that becomes even more so when you learn its backstory” – BrooklynVegan
“Enjoyable, meditative and pleasing. I couldn’t have been more delighted” – Huffington Post
“Enjoyable and fun… always remains within a coherent structure that could even make you dance” – Penny Black Music
“Twisting and warping around your conceptions of deconstructed electro pop radio” – Impose Magazine
Aagoo Records has announced they will release a 7″ single from producer/composer TheUse, the solo project of Michael Durek. The lead track ‘On My Deathbed’ is a dark but upbeat composition. Renowned artist Rachel Mason lends haunting vocals set to the English translation of poetry by Xu Lizhi, the FoxConn worker from China who jumped to his death, leaving behind a secret archive of poetry, underlining the hardships and despair faced by Chinee migrant workers. His powerful words are part of the global wake-up call about the hazards of the electronics industry and his story has made international news, underlined by TIME Magazine‘s infamous ‘The Poet Who Died For Your Phone’.
“When Rachel brought Xu Lizhi’s words to my instrumental track, it just felt right, and the melody she wrote is gorgeous. I just wanted to cry right there in the studio when she tracked it. The poem by itself is really sad, but through this music, it becomes powerful and transcendent,” says Michael Durek.
Rachel Mason said: “Xu Lizhi’s poetry just really sung themselves to me, and miraculously matched the songs that Michael was crafting. Some poems just seem to have a melody built into them and you can hear it.” An adept lyricist herself, Mason has previously set the words of political dictators to music and collaborated with artists such as Josephine Foster, to imagine the minds of political leaders in her two albums ‘The Ambassadors’.
The video for this focuses on the Occupy Wall Street protests, underlining the global disconnect between haves and have-nots. A dancing spirit-like character internalizes the protest sentiment, representing the restless human soul’s need to escape.
The flip side is ‘Journey to Truth feat. Black Saturn and Charvak R. Jagtap’. Black Saturn provides lyrics that mention divine intervention, question historical facts, and are full of flowery imagery. A bright upbeat piano sound is surrounded by organic pulsing synths, shifting drum breaks, and a heavy 4/4 beat. Charvak R. Jagtap, a classical tabla player based in Thane, India, adds a psychedelic eastern percussion vibe to the mix. The music combines Black Saturn’s word poetry and Charvak’s authentic tabla with the signature theremin, keyboards, and production of TheUse.
Watch the Video:
The ‘On My Deathbed’ single will be released on 7″ vinyl via New Jersey-based Aagoo Records, who has also released vinyl from Xiu Xiu, Lucky Dragons, Philippe Petit and more. This record was mastered by Philippe Gerber at All Real Sound, with cover art by Bas Mantel. Net profits from ‘On My Deathbed’ will be donated to China Labor Watch, a 501(c)(3) organization based in New York City that works to improve labor conditions in China. The singles and 7″ vinyl can be ordered at https://aagoo.bandcamp.com/album/theuse-feat-rachel-mason-black-saturn
“On My Deathbed”
I want to take another look at the ocean,
behold the vastness of tears from half a lifetime
I want to climb another mountain,
try to call back the soul that I’ve lost
I want to touch the sky, feel that blueness so light
But I can’t do any of this, so I’m leaving this world
Everyone who’s heard of me
Shouldn’t be surprised at my leaving
Even less should you sigh or grieve
I was fine when I came, and fine when I left.