Turbulence and Pulse Asher Gamedze

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  • 1Turbulence's Pulse04:08
  • 2Wynter Time09:27
  • 3Locomotion04:07
  • 4If It Rains. To Pursue Truth08:13
  • 5Melancholia04:37
  • 6Alibama02:59
  • 7Can't See The Sun05:04
  • 8Sometimes I Think To Myself05:20
  • 9Out Stepped Zim06:34
  • 10Underground Formation06:49
  • Total Runtime57:18

Info zu Turbulence and Pulse

Cape Town, South Africa-based drummer Asher Gamedze explores relationships of time between music and history on his new album Turbulence and Pulse, out May 5th 2023.

Gamedze’s critically-acclaimed debut album Dialectic Soul was released at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020. Around the release of that record, with friend and writer Teju Adeleye he organized and participated in a joint online discussion “Poesis,” with historian Robin D.G. Kelley and others. One of the notable comments made in this session was by the poet and scholar Fred Moten, who described Gamedze’s drumming as an “amazing interplay between turbulence and pulse. Pulse is supposed to regulate and also be regular, but the turbulence underneath it and on top of it, it’s just extraordinary.” Moten added that this concept is a fundamental element of the percussive approach in Black music more broadly.

Turbulence and Pulse takes its title from this moment of synchronicities. Inspired by this description, Gamedze developed the metaphor further, expanding the concept of turbulence and pulse through the lens of history. “Time in music is a metaphor for thinking about time in history and how time moves,” he says. “The way we’re taught history is generally in a way that robs people of agency in imagining themselves as part of history and how it unfolds. It is something that happens to us. I think there's a productive metaphor in that because the sense of time in music is created by musicians playing together. If we can use that to think about history and time in history, you can see that, actually, history is created by people in a whole range of ways. At the heart of it, historical motion is created by people organized and acting together, whether for progressive or reactionary ends.”

For Gamedze, the underlying message of Turbulence and Pulse is “to claim a form of historical agency and realize that the future is not a foregone conclusion. As people we can organize, to transform our world in small and big ways.” This concept comes out of Gamedze’s involvement in radical cultural work and political organizing. He adds: “One of the ideas that I've had for a long time is to unsettle the way that people think about culture as something static or as something fixed. There’s this tension in Africa, because of the way that the colonists have constructed visions of African culture, where people speak about this need to conserve culture and document it. I think that's important, but you also have to understand that these things are moving. And we are the people who have to participate in that movement.”

For the album artwork, Gamedze extends the visual aesthetic of his previous release with a hand-drawn illustration. “I feel like my drawings represent the inside of my mind. It’s very free and improvisational,” he says. Friend and designer Naadira Patel worked with Gamedze to design the final cover layout, which includes liner notes penned by his sister, writer and artist Thuli Gamedze.

Turbulence and Pulse comes via the partnership of Chicago-based International Anthem and Johannesburg-based Mushroom Hour Half Hour, as the first collaborative release by the two labels.

Asher Gamedze, drums
Robin Fassie, trumpet
Buddy Wells, tenor saxophone
Thembinkosi Mavimbela, double bass
Julian ‘Deacon’ Otis, voice

Asher Gamedze
is a cultural worker based in Cape Town, South Africa working mainly as a musician, writer, organizer and an educator. His work as a musician is primarily as a drummer with various ensembles across and between musical traditions of improvised and free music, Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop and Soul. He has performed across Southern Africa, USA and Europe. Some of the artists and ensembles with whom he has played include Xhanti Nokwali, Manny Walters, Nduduzo Makhathini, Angel Bat Dawid and many others. His debut album as a bandleader, Dialectic Soul, (On the Corner Records, July 2020) was released to critical acclaim, achieving #4 on the New York Times "Best Jazz albums of 2020" list, the "Best Traditional Jazz Album" at the Mzantsi Jazz Awards in 2021 amongst many others. As a writer and a researcher, his interests include African history, histories of revolutionary thought and practice, black cultural production, and radical pedagogy. His written work has been published in online popular and news forums, academic journals and independent activist publications. He is part of The Interim which is an autonomous collective in Cape Town for radicalizing cultural work.

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