African political techno
With their love of dub and experimental music, they decided to create a futuristic style of music that draws equally on ancient African knowledge. The video for “Wire Cutter” video was filmed in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. It’s a live recording, but it’s also more than that. “Wire Cutter” is a piece that calls viewers to look closely and notice the images layered throughout the performance space. It’s also important to take note of the space—the one and only Dub Museum.
For example, when the lyrics mentioned above are heard in the video, the camera zooms in on images of Detroit techno artists Underground Resistance (UR). The shot ends with a close-up of Cornelius Harris, a key member of the group. At another point in the track, where the lyrics state “We only fear fear itself, we only fear the collapse of the imagination,” an image of UR’s founder, Mad Mike, is foregrounded.
Images of other experimental musicians and socially conscious visionaries are also featured, such as Laraaji, Turiya Alice Coltrane, Cedric “Im” Brooks, and Audre Lorde. They coexist alongside photographs of ancestral shrines in Uganda, as well as Zar spiritual trance ceremonies in Ethiopia. Lastly, there is a special wall devoted to the West Papua liberation struggle.
The sonic anchor of “Wire Cutter” is as much about sound as it is about dub poetry and powerful visuals. Driving this narrative is an assemblage of minimalistic electronic noise and non-metric rhythms generated by Dhangsha. In between these sounds, one hears deliberate moments of deep meditative silence, raw and at times distorted African dub poetry vocals, and djembe-driven, percussive grooves created by SFDR.
When the djembe rises to the surface, it reveals acoustic drum patterns that are actually hand -to-skin translations of Dhangsha’s digital rhythms. This is more than simply a moment of “fusion;” it signals the completion of a musical cycle.
When enslaved Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas, they brought their music with them. During the course of almost 500 years, this music continued to change in response to the reality of violent oppression and social survival. For future generations, this music symbolized—and continues to symbolize—resistance, creativity, and the triumph of the human spirit.
The evolution of techno from within Detroit’s African-American community is an overlooked chapter in that story of resistance, but in “Wire Cutter,” a critical exchange takes place as this music returns to the African continent and is reunited with a group of African youth who naturally embrace their ancestral traditions, while looking clearly to the future with outernational vision.
Aniruddha Das, the creative force behind Dhangsha, explains this cycle further:
Dub, industrial dub and related electronic music featunring artists from Uganda, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, the UK, etc. : Sankara Future Dub Resurgence, Dhangsha, King Raab, Carlo Ertola and more.
Dedicated to West Papua.
“n memory of Greg YoungIng.
This track features Ethiopian Amharic singing by Carlo Ertola recorded at CE Studios Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (@carloertola / #makingdreamshappen). Engineered by Carlo Ertola. Thanks to Abeba Fantahun for the Amharic language translation assistance and Giovanna De Franco for the wonderful hospitality. Music composed, recorded and mixed by Ukweli in Toronto, Canada. Words & music two-track mix and edit by Dhangsha done in U.K. Mastered by Sean Savage at seansavage.ca in Canada. Dub thanks to Prasonik for the dub linkage with Curtis Smith aka Ukweli and Tapedave for the file relaying across borders.
We send this out to the people of West Papua
who are experiencing current modern day colonisation
Let’s rewind in time
When our melanin
became a synomn for evil
under those who would have us despise ourselves
To further their own selfish methods of
DUBDEM: Música • Design • Sound System - MUSIC: IR54