Monday, May 28, 2012

Jewels Hunter

A Heavy Burden

From Jewels Hunter, one of the masterminds behind the legendary Black Lab in Seattle, comes probably one of the most ambitious records in hip hop history, A Moment In Time.  At nearly 80 minutes, this album plays out like a well-scripted primer on race, class, metaphysics, religion, art, science, and time; and the way their paths all interconnect and fold in on top of one another infinitely...  Humans always know how to complicate shit.  
I love this record.  Dark, broody beats reminiscent of Shadow, Geoff Barrow or Blockhead, with plenty of fascinating dialogue and found-sound experimentation throughout.  Jewels handles most of the emceeing and production, with some help from Graves 33, Phreewil, Ricky Pharoe, Tru-ID, Robust, Rufio, and others.  I had been wracking my brain for a while now, wondering how I would go about adequately explaining this record in writing, until I realized Jewels had already done so.  His explanation follows the link:

Right now, in the present day, the very moment that you read this, I'm writing it; in another dimension parallel to your own. These dimensions are virtually identical. They both have air and water, they both contain gravity and light, they both are abundant with life and teeming with intelligence; THEY BOTH ARE EARTH. The only difference between these two realities, is time. The past and the future are only constructs of the human mind. All we have is now, this present moment. No matter where you've been or gone, no matter what you've done or what you've experienced in life; whether or not it was within a past moment or an obscure, future moment that has yet to come, everything is always happening in the present. These MOMENTS IN TIME are spread out like a wave, creating infinite possibilities, forming an opposite for every choice you have ever made. Some of these dimensions of space/time, are made up of decisions that you never had to make, but all are manifesting different variations of yourself perpetually. Some of these variations are so closely woven together, that it can give one, an incredible sense or feeling, that what they're experiencing in the present moment, has already occurred. We refer to this phenomenon as Déjà vu. 
Try to visualize a piano, with many keys and every key signifies a single note; all remain separate from one another, all are unique and have their own individual tone and characteristics; but at the same time, every key on this grand piano is connected with the other. All remain smaller parts of a bigger whole. Even though these keys might play different notes, they can, in certain moments, become entangled through a chord. It is through the harmony of these magic chords, that all separateness and chaos become order. It is the will of the chord, that allows the subconscious mind to effect the conscience; and, it is through the will of conscience intent, that many separate notes become a single chord(E. Pluribus Unum/Out of Many, one). All of this is possible through vibration. Therefor, just as two separate notes can become entangled through vibration, two separate moments can become entangled, no matter how far apart they may seem; the straight line that connects these past and future events together, Doesn't exist. The shortest distance between two points isn't a straight line and time is not linear. 
To demonstrate this philosophy, the majority of this material was created from sampling old records and taking from many new sources as well. That was very important to the theme behind the album as a whole; because the music itself is always being created in the present. So, each sample that was taken, whether it was from the past or more modern, becomes a piece of captured time. There is only a few ways to actually capture time and it is very important to note, that all, have they're roots deep within the arts. Paintings, drawings, sculptures and writing are some of the earliest ways of capturing a moment. Photography, film and recording are the most advanced ways of containing the very essence of an era and holding it, so that future generations can share the same moment, any time, at a later date. And it is this very point, that brings us to the meaning behind this work; THE TIME CAPSULE. 
Every time you see a portrait, watch a film, or listen to a recording you are making a mental, spiritual and emotional connection with another dimension of space/time. In fact, art is the only way of containing these fragments of time and this is why the artists are so influential in the trends, ideas and social development of our society; artist are a kind of archetypal icon, that are imbedded in our psyche and admired by millions. The artist never dies, but lives on through captured moments that we cherish and love. This is why the art of sampling is so important and has become the head cornerstone of the Black Lab. Every sample that we take, is a way of documenting history and preserving an era; and since this project is likened unto a vessel, with many compartments, every one, holding a different captured moment; this work becomes a time capsule. Hip Hop is a memorandum! 
So, let us end this section of the memorandum, by giving a summery with a few more quick examples. There are tracks that were conceived, produced, written and recorded in 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010. There are songs that were written, but I waited to record the song until the following year; I even waited a full year to record the dub tracks on the songs, A Moment in Time and The Lack Thereof. I would even record half a verse or song, then record the other half, on completely different days or months. I waited almost three full years before recording any of the scratching and almost every live instrument throughout. This was all done, so that each song would be made up of multiple moments and truly embody the full essence of the project's theme. The song writing for this album was very unorthodox, in that, I wrote each verse to reflect the many views that one may have, on the same subject, at a different time; because as one moves forward through life, he or she's views may change as apart of their growth and development. That way, on every track, you're not just getting one experience or feeling that made up a single moment or event, but you're actually hearing a mesh of feelings and perspectives, some of which aren't mine at all, but hopefully yours. The subject matter and topics actually become collages in Super Position with one another. All of these things, have really confused a lot of the people that have been watching me piece this album together over the last four years. Creating an album this way, was not only very experimental to say the least, but took a lot of patients as well. All of these little, subtle things were done, as a way of adding a touch of ritual magic, to the process of this alchemical experiment. 
It is my intent, that every person reading this, has a better understanding of the principles and philosophies therein; this explanation was provided to serve as a foundation, to help you become better equipped, so that your ready to take this Quantum/Alchemical Journey with me. And so goes the theory of time and captured moments. WRITTEN BY JULIAN MILES HUNTER (2009-2011) 

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