Dubbed the “poet laureate of hip hop,” Saul Williams, 43, has written four books of poetry: S/HE (1999), said the shotgun to the head (2003), The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop (2006), and US(a.) (2015)— all published under MTV Books/Pocketbooks. He has also recorded five albums: Amethyst Rock Star (2001), Not in My Name (2003), Saul Williams (2004), The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust (2007), and Volcanic Sunlight (2011). As an actor, Williams has starred in the critically acclaimed film Slam— which in 1998 took home the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Film Festival Caméra d’Or— and in the Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, which featured the music of Tupac Shakur. Here, Williams talks about US(a.) and his observations about the state of America after living in Paris for four years, about art and politics, and his forthcoming graphic novel and album Martyr Loser King due out in early 2016 on the FADER Label.
Great exclusive interview by Joann Natalia Aquino forAfroPunkwith Saul Williams, on his work, life as a loser and new graphic novel.
“But the Internet, with its swift proliferation of memes, is producing more extreme forms of modernism than modernism ever dreamed of….this type of content is about the quantity of language that surrounds us, and about how difficult it is to render meaning from such excesses…These ways of writing—word processing, databasing, recycling, appropriating, intentionally plagiarizing, identity ciphering, and intensive programming, to name just a few—have traditionally been considered outside the scope of literary practice…..We don’t read: we skim, parse, bookmark, copy, paste, and forward. We become information hoarders and amateur archivists who frantically collect, store, and move artifacts that we’ll never interact with.” Kenneth Goldsmith “The Writer as Meme Machine”
GG note: I missed the shows, but she got my attention. #gojen
The pioneering German composer and experimental musician Hauschka is pleased to announce a five date AU tour for November, 2015 in support of his breathtaking new album Abandoned City. Volker Bertelmann – known best these days as HAUSCHKA – is one of the most recognisable 21st Century proponents of what is known as prepared piano (one whose sound is altered by the insertion of alien objects between or upon its strings, hammers and dampers).
HAUSCHKA studied classical piano from the age of nine and despite nine years of classical training, his interests were never as pure as the tutelage he received. With early public forays in the major label hip hop act “God’s Favourite Dog” and the Drum ‘n Bass quintet called Nonex, HAUSCHKA has always been both instinctive and fuelled by a love of rhythm.
At the turn of the century, HAUSCHAK’s interests moved from increasingly minimal electronic music to wanting to achieve a similar effect without the use of electricity at all. He discovered that placing material within a piano opened the doors to a whole new sonic world in which he could transform his instrument.
Ever prolific, over the last decade HAUSCHKA has continued to work on solo albums, collaborations with the likes of Samuli Kosminen (from Iceland’s Múm), Calexico’s Joey Burns & John Convertino, as well as numerous other projects in the fields of film, theatre, dance, and film soundtracks. He has also toured the world playing some of the great concert halls and festivals; The Barbican, Decibel Festival, Constella, Elita and the P Festival in Taipei to name a few.
The combination of HAUSCHKA’s classicist training, chamber music sensibilities and pop-cultural interests ensures that the often playful – but never disposable – results are far more than an academic exercise in experimentalism.