Lolita Lebrón

by Bushmeat Sound System

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Violation 09:00

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Towards the end of her self-titled memoir, exiled human rights activist Assata Shakur recalls a chance meeting with the Puerto Rican Nationalist Lolita Lebrón while both women were incarcerated in Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia. Shakur writes that the encounter was “one of the greatest honors of my life. Lolita Lebrón was one of the most respected political prisoners in the world.”

Less than a decade later, I had my own chance encounter with Assata Shakur on the streets of her country of exile. As Shakur had approached the elder Lebrón, I tentatively greeted the smiling woman whose face and poise seemed familiar: “Free the land, sister.” “Free the land, brother” she replied. “Assata?” I asked, sounding, I think, a bit like a starstruck kid. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to see this heroic woman -- one of the most respected political prisoners in the world -- smiling and free, far from the imperialist government that had failed to kill her and then sought to punish her survival by jailing her for life.

I wanted to name this record after Lebrón, because I think allowing the recognition to reflect and refract in this way might serve to deepen the historical context of our shared struggle. It is an important record for me. The three shorter pieces were built with several tools, including a lot of SHNTH – a programable synthesizer mounted between a set of wooden blocks. I am thankful to Steve Korn for helping me up the steep learning curve that comes with this alter-instrument. On the fourth track, guitarist Tristan Welch contributes surging harmonic swells and gurgling undertows. The title for our collaboration comes from something that Rayshard Brooks said in the moments before he was murdered: “I just don’t want to be in violation of anybody”.

Essential to the subjectivity of Black in America is the blistering peril of the panopticonic white gaze. That is, Black wakes up every morning with the expectation that before the sun rises again, it will be found in violation of that gaze and smacked with a citation…or worse. Every day is a confrontation with a carceral condition that must be avoided but cannot be conquered because that condition is society as configured by custom and defended by the state. Therefore, to talk of conquering that condition is to speak seditiously, and that’s crazy talk, the kind of idea and action that put Lebrón and Shakur in mutual company in a North American dungeon.

Fearlessness: The Imperial Mind dissolves under the weight of our courage. The power arrangements on our planet (and the state of consciousness by which they are enabled) hinder our evolution, freeze our social development. Slavery is obsolete. So is everything it built. Everything.

Free the land. Emancipate the waters. Liberate the sky.

credits

released November 30, 2020

Thomas Stanley: SHNTH, synths, drum programming, and sampling.
Tristan Welch: guitar and guitar processing on track 4, "Violation".

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Bushmeat Sound System Washington, D.C.

Bushmeat builds music that is intended for listening. Please use headphones when consuming my product. This art is a preparation for entering something other than sanity. The opposite of sane is crazy and nobody wants to be crazy. But sanity is a rather small track, a loop. Along its course are all the regularities that keep us hygienic and safe but also all the grim realisms that keep us slaves. ... more

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