New album from Chicago’s finest electronic futurist Hieroglyphic Being, aka Jamal Moss, new on Soul Jazz Records. This is his third album for the label, following on from ‘The Acid Documents’ (2015) and ‘Africans With Mainframes’ (with Noleian Reusse) ‘K.M.T.’ (2016).
Born and based in Chicago, Moss’s music embodies two of the cultural foundation blocks of the city’s musical lineage; that of Chicago’s original acid house sound (c. 1986) - Frankie Knuckles, Phuture, Marshall Jefferson et al, alongside a rigorous experimental sound searching that taps into the cosmic musical lineage of pioneering artist Sun Ra, whose Arkestra landed and was based in the city from 1946-61 and the equally pioneering work of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago in the 1960s and 70s.
The association with Sun Ra is by no means hypothetical - Moss recorded with the Arkestra leader Marshall Allen and a host of free jazz players for the album Hieroglyphic Being & JITU Ahn-Sahm-Buhl’s ‘We Are Not The First.’ (2015).
Similarly, his relationship to Chicago’s original acid house pioneers of the late 1980s is no hyperbole. Originally mentored by artist / producers Adonis and Steve Poindexter, Moss also runs his own Mathematics label, releasing a constant stream of new music by foundation acid house pioneers Lil’ Louis, Adonis and many others.
Moss grew up in the south side of Chicago. After being thrown out of the home of his adoptive parents, he then spent three years homeless living on the streets of Chicago, living a nocturnal existence as a gigolo in Chicago’s alternative clubs. He began his career as a DJ at the pioneering Liquid Love parties at Chi-town’s legendary Power House (home of Ron Hardy’s Music Box) around 1989.
What clearly defines Moss’s music is that while sometimes pushing the limits of sound to an ear-splitting dimension of experimentation and DIY-electronics - the music is always clearly a progression of the lineage of black music. In the words of fellow Chicagoans, The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, it is simply “Great Black Music.” And yet in this uniquely defined sound, Moss somehow manages to draw into this world elements of industrial music, German electronic music (Cluster, Harmonia), Detroit’s sci-fi techno artists (Atkins, Saunderson, Craig) and more. ‘Outsider House’ / ‘Afro-Futurist’ / ‘Rhythmic Cubism’; Moss’s near indescribable sound plays testament to the notion that he is perhaps the last of the line of producers directly influenced by Ron Hardy at the Music Box, uniquely qualified to write a new chapter of Chicago’s rich musical history.
‘Red Notes’ is the prolific artists new revelatory and unique project - in his own words “a homage to the Blue Note Jazz sound of Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock” fused together with the classic Chicago house and acid sensibilities of Larry Heard, Armando, Adonis et al, into a newly imagined futuristic and barrier-less musical landscape.
Featuring organic and synthetic electronic instrumentation, Hieroglyphic Being here fuses realtime live instrumentation and overdubbed technologies to dramatic effect, as analogue and electronic worlds collide.