Among the fiercest political artwork of the previous 12 months could be present in membership music. Whether or not through Loraine James’ cerebral musings, aya’s chaotic outbursts, or Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul’s satirical takedowns, the dancefloor has pulled double weight as a platform to air grievances about governmental neglect, societal dysfunction, and police violence. 700 Bliss, the duo of Philadelphia experimental poet/rapper Moor Mom and New Jersey-born DJ Haram, be a part of the battle on their debut album, marshaling twisted membership sounds in a spirited counterattack on the patriarchal powers that be.
The pair’s debut EP, 2018’s Spa 700, stripped East Coast membership music right down to a grey husk completely fitted to Moor Mom’s gloomy, off-kilter raps. On Nothing to Declare, DJ Haram challenges Moor Mom with extra biting beats, and the rapper responds with a looseness that’s new to her music. Her prophetic supply retains all its spoken-word eloquence, and she or he peppers her lyrics with incisive historical past classes that spotlight America and Europe’s historic pillaging of Black tradition. The music is anchored by a mixture of frenetic goblet drums and machine percussion, swollen bass, and gristly streaks of noise. There’s hardly a line on the album the place the voice isn’t processed or re-pitched, and the result’s a hall-of-mirrors twisting of the 2 musicians’ personalities.
The start of Nothing to Declare is essentially the most accessible, if solely as a result of different genres are briefly welcomed to the desk. They allude to R&B on “Nightflame,” sliding Orion Solar’s refrain in between fast-rolling kicks and Moor Mom’s informal wordplay (“Ima learn, newsroom/Pussy good, fragrance/Ima train, classroom/Ima stroll, ballroom”). Elsewhere, “Anthology” lays a tapestry of African and Caribbean dance over an aggro techno stomp, and pays tribute to pioneering determine Katherine Dunham, the choreographer and anthropologist who launched Afro-diasporic influences to American dance.
Two skits part the album into thirds. “Easyjet” is a make-believe bitching session about 700 Bliss that drips with pretend sarcasm (“Actually, who needs to listen to that shit?”), whereas “Spirit Airways” is a big-chested retort that speaks to a degree of confrontation seen all through the file. All through, Nothing to Declare hums with an electrical paranoia that rustles below the covers like a bed room monster. Do a double-take and also you’ll see it in every single place—within the high-pitched keys of “Self-discipline” that mimic John Williams’ Jaws theme; the muffled drums of “Sixteen” that blast like gunfire; the slugged-out drum kicks that step like Godzilla over “Bless Grips.”
Over the course of the album, they steadily abandon inflexible membership beats in favor of noisy abstraction. “Extra Victories” opens with an abrasive bleating noise that turns the ambiance claustrophobic, leaving solely the tiniest pockets of air for barely decipherable lyrics, pin-prick clicks, and scratchy vocal manipulations. The track represents the album’s noisiest excessive, however different moments are extra livid of their political expression. “Candace Parker,” named after the WNBA nice and that includes Palestinian artist Muqata’a, is extraordinarily well timed, given a current Supreme Courtroom draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade may quickly be overturned. “They rape our moms whereas y’all simply file,” Moor Mom grunts as grainy breakbeats swarm round her energizing scorn. In the meantime, “Capitol” summons uneasy reminiscences of the January sixth Capitol assault. Over a sparse barrage of sirens that retains the listener in a perpetual state of alert, Moor Mom performs the final verse with a preacher’s cadence, recounting the occasion within the nationwide context as “a name for arms towards itself/Within the promoting of humanity, one battle at a time.”