Angel Bat Dawid & The Brothahood – Live
This was my second latest discovery of the year. Took me a while to discover it, but started to see it on end of the year lists and per usual, the Pitchfork Review pulled me in hook, line, and sinker.
Recorded in 2019, released in 2020, this live album is much of Angel’s 2019 Oracle studio release recorded live. And although I have gone back and listened to Oracle and found it strong, I am glad I found the live album first. They are not one in the same. No siree.
I have looked at my top ten and have concluded my theme could best be described as Peace and Chaos. Angel’s album and my pick for number two (post tomorrow) are both chaos. They push the limits of listenability. You have to be willing to journey with them. It is like you are looking in on the most private spaces of their life. No matter how uncomfortable they make you, be grateful you have been invited in.
A unique turn to all of this is I recently found out that Angel and Alabaster’s album cover art was created by the same artist. Raimund Wong. Two artists across the pond from each other end up on my random and obscure list and have the same artist doing their album covers. I am still processing that coincidence.
This record is out there if you are looking for tidy melody. I had hoped Angel had time to answer the seven questions about her record. I would have been super curious to hear her thoughts.
Her multi-instrumental excursions and streams of dialogue with the audience can recall Rashaan Roland Kirk, and her use of her voice as a free improvisational instrument sometimes reminds me of Linda Sharrock. But her particular alchemy of these elements, and her ability to transmute everything that happens onstage into music, are blazingly original. – Andy Cush, Pitchfork Review
The singing of Angel and Tha Brothahood members Deacon Otis Cooke and Viktor Le Givens and the character of their collective voice in ‘The Wicked Shall not prevail,’ and ‘Dr. Wattz n’em’ reminds me of something I have often seen in my grandmother’s pentacostal church. There is always a sacred time and space set aside for the congregation to go off in tongues and languages of the spirit that play, bend and twist voice and tone, calling into existence worlds unseen with the naked eye and casting away demons of a very real world. The point of this ritual is to leave no stone unturned and these sentiments are all over this album. – Nombuso Mathibela, All That Jazz Review
I went down a rabbit hole one day of watching YouTube videos of people listening to old vinyl and Angel was on there for a couple episodes. What I gained from that is it allows me to appreciate her record even more. Her record Library is like that of an author’s book library. It is extensive and doused in history. I am confident she is able to pull from it when she’s freestyling on a song. She can pull elements of things that she knows intuitively both lyrically or musically because her library has so much depth.
I am not officially reviewing this album per se. It has to be willingly experienced. As I have mentioned I am hooked to Pitchfork and their approach to reviews. Admittedly, I am sucker for reviews with an actual number rating. It is another lure for me. Angel’s album is on my list because of Pitchfork’s review. I am going to guess unless you worship music like Sun Ra this will be a very hard album to listen to without some preparation. So, to better prepare, I highly encourage you to read this before listening to the album.
Pitchfork Album Review
A great look back at her coming up in The Guardian.