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Frontline

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  1. Frontline

    Janelle Monáe - Amnesty Records. I don't plan on playing for now because I have a bunch of shit to do in the upcoming weeks so
  2. Frontline

    Janelle Monáe on BBC Radio's Live Lounge Janelle Monáe has finally released her standalone single entitled “Night Dreamer”. The ferocious track is accompanied by an introduction and a narrative about having a tumultuous relationship with winter. She recently performed the song alongside with “Rise Again” on BBC Radio’s Live Lounge. Purveyor of some of the smoothest, most romantic songs of the last three decades, the Nigerian-born, British-raised pop vocalist and her excellent band Sade was involved in Steve McQueen’s “Widows” by contributing to the soundtrack. In BBC Radio’s Live Lounge, Janelle Monáe dedicated her cover of the song to her dearest friend Viola Davis. “This song is dedicated to Viola Davis. She reflects something visceral and unpredictable in humanity that you somehow connect to. A treasure. This movie is a realistic journey into women gaining ownership of their lives. And not at the expense of who they are” she says. Widows – an adaptation of Lynda La Plante’s 1983 British miniseries – marks Viola Davis’s first lead role in a major studio movie. “Sade is an incomparable talent and incredible artist who so rarely releases new material, but luckily the original series of Widows had deeply resonated with her” Steve McQueen says. Sade wrote “The Big Unknown” specifically for Widows’ final scene. According to a press release, Steve McQueen encouraged her to “dig deep within to write a song about loss and survival”. He states that as a director, he and Monáe incorporate current regimes “into a narrative. Horrific sort of politicians. False prophets. It's in our everyday." The underlying themes of political discourse, racial prejudice, and gender politics come intertwine in ways that underline the stakes of her excursion. Janelle Monáe was involved in last week’s episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” as well. If there is a woman with adversity, Viola Davis knows how to embody her. Grieving mothers and desperate drug addicts, for example. In Widows, she’s the wife of a fallen heist man. Janelle Monáe was accompanied detached cool jazz backing and even icier vocals. In cosmic jazz, afrofuturism evolved differently, with the concept of space taking on a consciousness-expanding quality. For her performance of “The Big Unknown”, she integrated South African jazz and house music. Hypnotic double drum rhythms frame the colourful interplay of saxophone and tuba as Monáe engulfed the polyrhythms without missing a note. Tenor sax and trombone became amplified the as hypnotic, Sixties-sounding bass. Her specialty is the tenor saxophone, and her style is quite somber—and the spacily fragile baritone-sax interpretation kept listeners at ease. There’s the sweet, leisurely, breathy tone at the lower end of the tenor sax. Monáe’s voice is trenchant, soothing and well-supported. She also incorporated Sade’s 1992 song entitled “Pearls”, from her Love Deluxe album. She hit every single high note with ease and made the song feel brand new again. The violin and cello-driven song offers a near-classical performance that is juxtaposed by Monáe's runs. In her performance of Pearls, she combined elements of funk, Ethio-jazz, and psyche. She plays off a rhythm section that works as a recognizable dancehall beat and made her sound more conventional. The theme of unreciprocated love was further executed in her following performance. Whilst performing Night Dreamer, she has crept onto that stage and interrogated that very power: by playing fast solos through thick, strange distortion, by contorting her voice into a disarming shriek, by shredding her guitar whilst bombastic percussionists correspond with her. An early backdrop of seemingly idyllic mountains suggests loneliness, however that collocates with her abrasiveness. Her aleatory approach to composition and choral voice arrangements all channel a music of the spheres. At one point the backdrop falls revealing a dramatic scene of crashing waves, to which Monáe cries “don't run or sleep away, the night dreamer is scarred by the hands of faith”. The weight of the lyrics is much more palpable live, as the band enhances every emotion with a spot-on performance. The wistful keys initiate Monáe’s six minute track, however as the track unfurls, soulful, rock-infused production is bolstered and is accompanied by an enchanting gospel choir. The tight band’s bubbling synths and complex syncopations were soon put in the shade by her raw vocal talent; the instrumental and vocal prowess were allowed to shine unadorned.
  3. Frontline

    I'm already excited because I see that you're a fan of artists that I adore (i.e. FKA Twigs and of course Janelle Monáe). Welcome!
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    Janelle Monáe performs on GMA “The cultural landscape is not fixed. It can be shifted and changed. And we can claim places in it—and Janelle Monáe is the perfect musician to encourage that” Thelma Golden says in a Good Morning America Segment. In Exposition Park, at the California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles painter Gary Simmons discussed Janelle’s directorial debut “Darker Than Blue” to create a series of large-scale murals on long-term view that explore the early history of black film. Surprisingly, the film is quite meditative, echoing in some ways the classics of Italian neorealism. Void of time-bound details, her expressive portraits of compelling characters read both historic and contemporary. Visuals of Janelle Monáe gyrating around horrific surroundings has circulated around the streets of New York. Each of the images wanders aimlessly through tangents, spiraling into moments where one word or phrase is repeated continuously as Monáe contemplates something indirectly related to the narrative. Exhibitions and programs are currently in partnership with other institutions. Organized by associate curator Connie Choi, whose portfolio includes responsibility for the collection, “Black Refractions” is the latest interim project, an ambitious effort to reach audiences far beyond Harlem. The gathering of artists, curators, and collectors will center around “identity, politics, and the role of institutions on the works and careers of artists of African descent.” “The problem isn’t their production, it’s their distribution, particularly theatrical distribution, which they’re struggling to get,” she says. “If you’re going to spend a substantial amount of funds, at least it should come back and give employment to a certain amount of people so you have advanced the economy.” The lack of safe recreational facilities for black youth is one of many indicators of the massive divestments that stripped these communities of social services, employment opportunities, and more. “My mom,” she continues, “has been really clear from the beginning that as powerful as that legacy is, the most important part is doing the work for oneself. There’s a difference between symbols and substance. We should be hushed and silent, and we should have the opportunity to learn what other people think, rendering our consciousness susceptible to divine influences.” She was fortunate to have been able to study a range of visual and performing arts without specialization. The black experience has not necessarily been as documented in comparison to more privileged demographics. Perhaps not coincidentally, as this country has reckoned in recent years with the dire need for broader representation in all facets of the culture, there’s been a simultaneous renaissance in representational art. ‘I couldn’t understand the instructions I was getting [in class] so I just went out on the streets and thrived.” Monáe says. “I spend probably the majority of my time thinking about the nuance of color and composition, and that’s usually not the conversation.” Thelma Golden says. “For one, there is an institutional urgency to speak to a more diverse audience with painting that depicts the black community, the Asian-American experience, the Latino face, to attract the various people who had been excluded from the museum by remaking the history of figurative painting, this time with color” Monáe states, elaborating on Thelma Golden’s stances. “I’m in a place where the expansiveness of the work is most important to me. It’s about breaking more intrinsic systems to make room for people to flow in after. I come from relatives where having compassion for others and pursuing for equity is not negotiable. And my parents valued the things I would create; both of them have my artwork that spans my lifetime on their walls. I feel accomplished whenever I have the opportunity to help out others.” Janelle Monáe is starring in Barry Jenkins’ limited series entitled “Heavy”, based on a memoir by Kiese Laymon. “I felt it would be very interesting to take his stories and his ideas, and utilize what he did to break through in order to go into the unconscious mind and critique the typical mother-son dynamics.” Monáe encourages distributors to continue to shed light on underrepresented individuals. “This is why adaptations are so vital,” Barry Jenkins says. “It's one thing to read a book and intellectually picture and imagine what these characters feel, but to see these actors give it full body is different.” Children are unable to create their circumstances, and “Heavy” represents those who want to protect their innocence as much as possible. The parental mandate to serve and protect, with disturbing authoritarian overtones, is fraught with difficulty. It’s a universal experience—your parents go from unimpeachable rulers to fallible human beings. Human interactions often serve as focal points in her works, revealing how immigrant life merges—and rattles—disparate identities. The way that language gets rewritten through colonization and immigration has influenced Monáe when developing scripts. “English language, when altered, can be used to bear the burden of my African experience.” “I found I had to do things in a more minimal way. I want people to cherish the people they love, and think about what we can do to love each other better” she says in reference to her newly-released standalone single entitled Night Dreamer. “Night Dreamer is sung by a cautious woman. She dithers, wanting to be overtaken yet afraid of looking like she provoked the plunge. She's on the threshold between being in deep slumber and wakefulness. How you respect yourself or someone else in the most immediate relationship is political.” Janelle Monáe on window displays, industrial model making, movie sets and photographers’ props around her studies. “It was interesting to learn to put together the different creative areas … mixing theater and dance, and art, painting – all the different areas. Art is a sort of experimental station in which one tries out living.” In museums and galleries, we are free to move around, and turn away from what bewilders us. Janelle Monáe’s curation challenges that. She's an artist that strives to implement her culture and exhibit it as much as possible. Her indefatigable optimism carries her through moments of frustration. In her performance, Monáe transformed the piano into a percussion instrument by inserting objects into its strings. Night Dreamer allows blues improvisation pieces to persist—in fact, the arrangements encourage them. The glimmering chimes and jarring bass beautifully opened the performance. Monáe was accompanied by a church choir, intersecting the multi-sections throughout the song. Further embellishing on her James Corden performance, Monáe proves that dance can be a conveyor of social message. Ultimately, “Night Dreamer” is an assertion of will. Good Morning America promoted the "Night Dreamer" physical copies after her performance and encouraged viewers to preorder the release of the "Night Dreamer" vinyls that are currently $7.99 on Black Friday.
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    Janelle Monáe on James Corden Janelle Monáe has finally released her standalone single entitled “Night Dreamer”. The ferocious track is accompanied by an introduction and a narrative about having a tumultuous relationship with winter. The organized chaos of Janelle Monáe’s music may owe some debt to her wide-ranging art historical and cultural influences. Her fondness for ambiguity reveals itself in cryptic strings of text and fractured bodies with mismatched parts askew. “I really appreciate being able to talk directly to the artists I work with, for the artist to be able to challenge me and push back on things” in reference to Béla Tarr in her film slated to be released in 2019. Janelle Monáe is a keen mind and a dazzling performer with a sense of her place not only in the world at large, but in the continuum of popular music. As an artist, she explore themes of African post-coloniality, the political uses of music in Africa, and musical and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. With “Night Dreamer”, she chronicles the lives of migrants approaching the shores of America during the winter. Dance has always been aware of death: it lingers just off to the side of the stage, waiting for the performance to end. The danse macabre, or death dance, another medieval invention, was an allegorical way of resisting as well as respecting the force of death. Visuals of Janelle Monáe gyrating around horrific surroundings has circulated around the streets of New York. Each of the images wanders aimlessly through tangents, spiraling into moments where one word or phrase is repeated continuously as Monáe contemplates something indirectly related to the narrative. In one of the images, she discerns and frequently states the line “Conjured in another winter dream”. The words have only shreds of syntax to hang onto, so they connect to each other through sound—delivered in a rhythmic recitative punctuated by occasional melodic flourishes. A pulsating, syncopated rhythm can be heard echoing from a distance as each of the teasers ended. The artist turns mundane aspects of life in the region into parables with unclear lessons, carrying her metaphors through beyond rationality. Today, Janelle Monáe released “Night Dreamer” and the song is conceived to be an output with a storyline of its own. There’s a palpable social justice undercurrent bubbling beneath the surface. She was assisted by Paul Epworth and Devonté Hynes throughout the development of the song. She performed “Night Dreamer” after a brief interview with James Corden. How does it feel to finally be releasing a single? It feels so surreal. [Night Dreamer] is just a track that is indicative of the music I typically make. I decided to release “Night Dreamer” because it is sinister and despondent, yet it perfectly describes the sentiments I often feel during this time of year. I never push everything I’m doing at the same time, however I felt as if releasing it seemed ideal. When I was writing it, it was still a very sincere process of wanting and needing to make music. I don't make music in order to make a living. But I do make music, and I have to figure out how to make a living. So I'm not complaining, I know that's just reality. You can hear the dulled urgency of a siren and the promise of more sirens, and errant screeches. How did that come about? Usually when you're feeling dispirited, there are barriers upon obstructions. I wanted to include that in the interludes because it is indicative that eventually, everything would turn out just fine. You're a director, a producer, an actress, and now a singer. What made you want to pursue music? My mother, she encouraged me by obtaining music lessons when we were young. That was considered part of our education. I wanted to have two instruments, but I was only allowed to have one because that was the budget that we had. She owned a small record company in Kansas City. If she didn’t sell a record he would try to find out what was wrong with the music and he would take it home and listen to it—and I followed along. We had country and western music, we had jazz music, we had band music, we had marching-band music, we had classical music, we had operas. The versatility and the dynamics of music at its core was what initially intrigued me in eventually pursuing it as a career. Initially, it seemed provincial and becalmed attending the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. As I grew older, I cherish the morals and pedagogy I've learned while studying ethnomusicology. In terms of music school you don’t really learn about that kind of a world being the predominant industry that we have now, however. It is hard to believe you’re at a certain level or your ideas are worthwhile. Regarding the progression of becoming a more proficient musician, individuals including myself can not assume ourselves as prolific innovators especially because jazz and other genres has this history of boundary-pushing limitless constant progression, eight hours a day of practice. I listen to Coltrane and Sun Ra and all these progressives, but for me because of the internet and the advancements in technology I prefer to study everything. Is there anything in particular that made you want to release “Night Dreamer”? I always feel that the strongest stories resonate with the times we live in. So my stories will always be a bit social — they’ll have an edge in a way. The song is inherently political and I've always admired that about certain artists. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption. Essentially I’m creating a metaphor about the feeling of being tired of being outraged, and tired of being angry, and tired of fighting, all those things. Because we're being overlooked, we've also been left to our devices. We only get to do it for the love, you know? Working with Devonté Hynes was so inspirational as an artist. It’s so crazy how things can turn and move and go to a different place that I alone could never, ever create. The track is rooted in family, and when you create a record with someone, they become family, too. We live our lives with the conviction that our personal connection runs deepest. After the interview, James Corden held a physical copy of Night Dreamer. “Purchase Night Dreamer today and preorder the vinyls as well. Each and every person in the audience is getting a physical copy of the release! And now, please welcome Janelle Monáe to the stage." Janelle Monáe stood on a translucent platform while being surrounded by background vocalists and dancers. The only visible part of each performer is their head, piercing through the fabric, whilst their hidden bodies jointly move along public space. The enormous fabric reflects the subjectivity of the performers involved who struggle between individualism and solidarity with the collective experience. They swayed correspondingly while almost becoming an orchestra for Monáe. As she signaled towards an area in the background, the performers would become defiant and escape. Gradually, the fabric slowly diverged and was used by acrobats to poignantly gyrate themselves onstage. Eventually, everyone—including Monáe—were floating onstage and synchronized the word “Dreamers” using the fabric, lighting, and sporadic positions. The acrobats intertwined amongst each other as Monáe held onto the fabric while twirling beautifully. Whilst her dancers practiced the dance macabre themselves, Monáe stood still, portraying death. Crimson red lights flashed as flames ignited around the once translucent platform. I've frolicked and saw a spector Blasphemy fades and ignites another flame
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    Janelle Monáe and David Simon talk Amazon Prime Video's "Heavy" and performs "Night Dreamer" on Conan “Heavy” is about the downfall of a civilization. Every moment of happiness these women try to find is marred by someone succeeding where they failed, or death. Yet, like all women, they persist. A series of catastrophes slowly upends the stability of this world, starting with a business trip the father takes that proves calamitous. There’s also an earthquake, a shattered window, an unexpected pregnancy, death and betrayal. Sensuality meets violence. A country ruptures. A family dissolves. The interweaving stories of loss and perseverance are deeply realized. Disappointment and agony is quite difficult to assert towards a loved one; Laymon augments their rancor as he has his own children as well. At this age, his mother develops a gambling problem. What's his biggest inhibition? Reckoning the implicit ways he's harmed the women who nurtured him out of mere morality. It's indicative that he did not have a predominant male figure throughout the entirety of his life. It’s an extraordinary transformation, one that emerges through seemingly unconnected narrative fragments, tenderly observed moments and a formal rigor that might go unnoticed. His mother beats him. His father doesn’t pay child support. There is always the specter of state violence, casual racism and the brutal difficulty of having a body that lets you down. “Heavy” expresses defeat and desolation, and the impotence of mother-son dynamics, adrift forever, at outs with the forces of nature. This defeat is shown through the careful editing, paced and rhythmical, replete with dissolving images. Barry Jenkins’ “Heavy” fixates on Laymon’s emotional and psychological struggles with an intensity that’s harrowing. One could see the series as a political statement about subjugation, power and deceit—or about the fundamental issues of language and conceptualization. David Simon’s first book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991), became an NBC series, and his second—written with Edward Burns, a homicide detective in Baltimore—The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997), was made into an HBO miniseries. By 2002, he had created a series for HBO about the war on drugs in Baltimore hailed as one of the best dramas in the history of television: The Wire. Now, he has worked with Janelle Monáe to adapt Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy” on Amazon Prime Video. “Heavy” is a series that chronicles the story of a black male in a suprematic nation, however its rhetoric is far bigger than a person’s narrative. As the series progresses, Barry Jenkins’ “Heavy” is a compelling examination of propaganda and the struggles of emotional trauma. Perception matters and is far more intriguing than what meets the eye. HBO is currently working on Simon’s miniseries about a hypothetical U.S. reality following the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre based on Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America. We see a direct influence regarding Roth’s counterfactual history in several episodes. David Simon’s introspective series The Wire is detailed exploration and indictment of the systematic corruption, and racism—and “Heavy” now emphasizes the importance of accounting Laymon’s life: especially when counterterrorism gradually becomes a higher threat. The Wire fleshed out characters often left out of narratives elsewhere—especially in Baltimore’s poor, black neighborhoods—humanizing people in marginalized places. “Working with Monáe was a completely different experience than what I am accustomed to” he says. “I thought about going out to a couple of black novelists and I sort of explored that and found that they had their own stuff that they were trying to develop for [The Wire].. It's actually quite the opposite in this instance. [A viewer] loves being immersed in a new, confusing and possibly dangerous world that he will never see. This series is a depiction of people’s harsh and often gruesome realities.” “Whenever police were portrayed, particularly in film and television, particularly in television, they were not only unequivocally heroic, not really honorable or functional, or competent, but they cared.” David says. “Common notions of police work is skewed by their sense of legitimate outrage, coupled with, sort of, a half-aware perspective of what police work has to be. And the police are utterly blind to the legitimacy, a lot of them are blind to the legitimacy of what is the revelation in this.” The HBO series explored Baltimore's drug scene and the corruption of the city's social, governmental and media institutions. “And I'm sure the series has its merits but not everything is, the real issues facing American cities aren't if we could just get the dogs to stop biting - I was much more interested in why isn't the drug war working?” Janelle Monáe plays Kiese Laymon’s mother, and eventually she develops a gambling and opioid addiction. More than a decade into the opioid crisis, the United States is deficient of an integrated federal response to reduce the rates of overdose-related death and disability. At first, though, it’s a pleasant distraction from an otherwise mundane existence. She forcefully encourages Laymon to write punishing essays, over and over, a kind of training, he eventually realizes, for making his voice heard. “Usually, when I wanted to run from memory, I transcribed rap lyrics, or I drew two-story houses, or I wrote poems to Layla, or I watched black sitcoms … or I ate and drank everything that wasn't nailed down” he says. The exploration of the function of art in a morally vacuous society so ambivalent that it makes for an extremely difficult and challenging viewing. A poignant statement by Kiese Laymon was shared on Conan. Monáe states that the “most abusive parts of our nation obsessively neglect yesterday while peddling in possibility”. The parental mandate to serve and protect, with disturbing authoritarian overtones, is fraught with difficulty. It’s a universal experience—your parents go from unimpeachable rulers to fallible human beings. Kiese Laymon’s masterstroke is to keep his family’s members unnamed—a canny move toward thematic universality that is also subtly unnerving in its oddity. “There haven't been enough of these and they were few and far between,” Jenkins says in reference to series’ adapted from black literature. “I don't want to sound as though every novel by a black author should be translated to the screen, but sure many more of them should be.” The need to push for change is on everyone in the industry — studios, distributors, producers and filmmakers — says Dede Gardner, co-president at Plan B, the production company behind “Selma,” “Twelve Years,” “Moonlight,” “Beale Street,” and now “Heavy”. He states that “you either commit yourself to telling underrepresented stories or you don't.” Janelle Monáe strives to shed light on underrepresented individuals. “The global message for the African is, if we don’t catch that train - and the train is leaving now - too bad for us. Tomorrow will be too late,” she says. “It's not only very clear there is an audience for this work, but to take it even further, there are people who are familiar with this work in its literary form — the same way people are familiar with work of non-black artists.” In absence of conventional institutions and contexts, Monáe burgeons. The lack of safe recreational facilities for black youth is one of many indicators of the massive divestments that stripped these communities of social services, employment opportunities, and more. Racism and discrimina­tion in education, employment, and housing are an undeniable reality, and in the wake of rebellion these upheavals became more prevalent than ever before. Janelle Monáe performed “Night Dreamer” with her quartet. Erickson Beamon collaborated with Swarovski to create a custom crystal dress inspired by winter and what the season is connotated with. She sang the song blissfully as she stood on a translucent platform—until she became submerged into water during the chorus. Suddenly, the water turned a crimson red as the platform turned into a fountain. Monáe stood on the platform as it rose onstage while wearing a metal frame with manacles on each corner that attached to a her upper arms and thighs—a reference to Alexander McQueen. The water splurged across the stage and created enormous waves as she sang the song. Large LED screens surrounded her as they screened beautiful images of Monáe dancing on the Bonneville Salt Flats whilst chanting the lyrics. Every wave is a tidal Don't fight the rising sea Don't run or slip away The night dreamer is scarred by the hands of faith
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    Janelle Monáe - Night Dreamer Janelle Monáe has finally released her standalone single entitled “Night Dreamer”. The ferocious track is accompanied by an introduction and a narrative about having a tumultuous relationship with winter. Introduction: This Moment Written by: Janelle Monáe and Adam Bainbridge Produced by: Janelle Monáe If you don't understand us and understand what we've been through, then you probably wouldn't understand what this moment is about. This is home. This is where we from. This is where we belong. (Fiending for shackles made of rime What's in your embattled mind?) Silent as the snowflakes in the night Put you at ease, watching you unwind Gentle breeze blows through the trees The fireflies are taking flight Where the waters are slowly freezing Through the raging storms Side A: Rise Again Written by: Janelle Monáe Produced by: Leland Whitty and Janelle Monáe No angels in the sky Sadness is lynched in the wind Infatuated the minstrel, singing his barbaric hymn No trace of desire, just terror and malice And then there's blood in the water Red and silver on the leaves Slowly, but surely These bones will rise again And the limpid silence is where all my pleasures remain The sap of this plantation shouldn't have dried Until you've resisted and ravaged all we had aside Nothing can assure that something will remain And a sense of familiarity is ringing Is it your contempt haunting me again? Slowly, but surely These bones will rise again Yet these voices dissipate And the limpid silence is where all my pleasures remain When is the perfect time to swallow my pride? When the rain disperses and my cries are sharper? Each droplet pierces through me Flaws exploited like a Philistine (No angels in the sky, no angels…) Slowly, but surely These bones will rise again Yet these voices dissipate And the limpid silence is where all my pleasures remain (No angels in the sky, no angels...) Interlude: Eve Written by: Janelle Monáe and Devonté Hynes Produced by: Janelle Monáe and Devonté Hynes Waste your time and pretty the thoughts Nothing is forgiven, black skin and my rhythm I'm a voyager in the dark Find a means to drive away grief It is winter’s eve and we are all under a sweet serenity Children are laughing and roaring Happiness is nestled in the wind We can set out for the distant skies Thoughts go above our heads before we realize Nothing is forgiven, black skin and my rhythm And you know that it's all at a cost Find a means to drive away grief It is winter’s eve and the bells toll for you Side B: Night Dreamer Written by: Janelle Monáe Produced by: Ludwig Göransson, Janelle Monáe, Paul Epworth and Frank Ocean A clear ringing assertion follows another One that remains in the immanent frame I've frolicked and saw a spector Blasphemy fades and ignites another flame Of ambers and brimstone (Wait for the morning star, he will be where you are) At times I see you in my dreams And the tropes are unraveling at the seams I need to carry on Every wave is a tidal Don't fight the rising sea Continue at ease Lord will dwell forevermore in me Set adrift at the white dock liners Watching the Mediterranean Sea As the caravan nestles in with fishermen Conjured in another winter dream Hankering for pearls, tombs, and wreaths Is where I belong to be Every wave is a tidal Don't fight the rising sea Don't run or slip away The night dreamer is scarred by the hands of faith The voltage is in the air (night dreamer, night dreamer) At the propellers of periphery Like shimmering novas in the sky (In the pale grey sky…) How surreal it would be To believe in heaven’s generosity Night dreamer, wherever you go Sleep in heavenly peace Count sheep in the clouds of snow Night dreamer, night dreamer (You're on holy ground now) Instrumentals:
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    Janelle Monáe updates Connect, announces "Night Dreamer" music video
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    This is so beautiful...oh wow
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    Olympia 85' The image of the playlist will depend on the artist featured on the cover and includes a gradient of the colors featured in the official Olympics logo. A playlist curated by Janelle Monáe celebrating the triumphs, revelations, and creative breakthroughs of artists and the epitome of being a virtuoso in music. Includes unprecedented, outstanding tracks that archives where the music industry is headed.
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    *pretends as if i didn't use connect even though i knew i wasn't supposed to*
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    Janelle Monáe rehearses "Night Dreamer", talks Guggenheim Museum exhibition on the Today Show Meet Janelle Monáe. She's an emerging musician residing in Kansas City, where she's influenced by the musical improvisation style of their most renown artists. She's currently working alongside Thelma Golden to diversify and represent African American art. Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, has talked about a recent commission with Janelle Monáe. Golden is small individual, a fact that is prominently noted in just about every profile ever written about her—especially her meticulous fashion sense. The Studio Museum’s extends far beyond the walls of Harlem, where the construction of a new building designed by architect David Adjaye is expected to be completed in 2021. “I don’t think you can say ‘African American art’ without saying ‘Thelma Golden,’” says James Cuno, president and chief executive of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “Collaborating with Janelle Monáe has been a good opportunity for both counterparts. They both have a visceral knowledge towards preserving and extending on African American art.” As many Africans appreciate the ideology of Pan-Africanism, Monáe incorporates the instrumentation and movement to “channel spirit”, making a transcendent and ethereal outcome. In Exposition Park, at the California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles painter Gary Simmons discussed Janelle’s directorial debut “Darker Than Blue” to create a series of large-scale murals on long-term view that explore the early history of black film. Surprisingly, the film is quite meditative, echoing in some ways the classics of Italian neo-realism. Void of time-bound details, her expressive portraits of compelling characters read both historic and contemporary. “Darker Than Blue” is notable for its uncompromising art-house esthetic. “For the film, pretty much everything was in my head. Images were already in my memory.” Currently, the renown artist is creating a mural of beautiful stills from Janelle Monáe’s forthcoming “Night Dreamer” music video. The organized chaos of Janelle Monáe’s music may owe some debt to her wide-ranging art historical and cultural influences. Her fondness for ambiguity reveals itself in cryptic strings of text and fractured bodies with mismatched parts askew. “I really appreciate being able to talk directly to the artists I work with, for the artist to be able to challenge me and push back on things” in reference to Béla Tarr in her film slated to be released in 2019. “The global message for the African is, if we don’t catch that train - and the train is leaving now - too bad for us. Tomorrow will be too late,” she says. “Poor support, facilities and a relatively small domestic market causes Africans to diverge and migrate to Europe or the United States. Those residing at home are not prospering as they should. The premise was to investigate what “‘international’ means in instances in which nationalism, boundaries, and border crossings are becoming ever more urgent and, in this context, identify artists who best represented the “currents and concerns” of contemporary art. Despite the cruel efforts of different regimes to diverge people of African descent from the culture, the music was able to transcend and persevere. Janelle Monáe is an artist that strives to implement her culture and exhibit it as much as possible. How so? By widely representing the contemporary work being made on the continent of Africa today.” Precise outlines and expressive brushstrokes is an accurate description of the ongoing murals of the murals around the streets of Harlem. Through her work we relive family stories both celebratory and painful; we marvel over the preservation of family material culture from pincushions to religious objects. Intersectionality is central to her narrative. In absence of conventional institutions and contexts, Monáe burgeons. “I would would meet in different spaces around empty amphitheatres, empty swimming pools, abandoned buildings, construction sites and gardens and perform. Then, I would return and become charged up by my encounters and observations. Being free-spirited is such an invaluable attribute.” While a student, she volunteered at the Watts Towers Art Center and worked as a teaching assistant at the Pasadena Art Museum. Both experiences further shaped her artistic interests. This setting locates put Monáe at the nexus of intense local political activity and university initiatives to recruit students from underrepresented racial groups, as well as rigorous theoretical debates about reconsiderations of the role of art in efforts to effect social change. However, she had a propagating passion for creating music. Both corporeal and societal limitations did not constrain her. With “Night Dreamer”, a song produced by Monáe herself and Paul Epworth, she chronicles the lives of migrants approaching the shores of America during the winter. “As the caravan nestles in with fishermen, conjured in another winter dream” she croons. How could she address the socioeconomic plight of black people still struggling for rights and recognition while simultaneously develop her own personal artistic visions and individual career trajectories? Aspects of her own individual struggles are echoed in her characterizations of black people seeking to express themselves creatively in relentlessly oppressive conditions. “Heavy”, an Amazon Prime Video series may directed by Barry Jenkins may be about story of a black male in a suprematic nation, however its rhetoric is far bigger than a person’s narrative. As the series progresses, Barry Jenkins’ “Heavy” is a compelling examination of propaganda and the struggles of emotional trauma. The memoir is composed as a letter to Kiese Laymon’s ambitious, proud mother, a professor at Jackson State University in Mississippi. “I've never felt more indignant while acting this role” she says. “We all had cops rough us up, chase us, pull guns on us, call us out of our names. We all watched cops shame our mamas, aunties, and grandmas” Laymon states. The lack of safe recreational facilities for black youth is one of many indicators of the massive divestments that stripped these communities of social services, employment opportunities, and more. “Heavy” evokes a grave concern over the well-being of communities around the U.S. There’s a scene in the genre-bending personal narrative in which adulthood, power and performance all converge in a game of pick-up basketball. “That day, though, I realized I could have beaten you a year earlier. And you realized I could have beaten you a year earlier. And neither of us felt happy about that fact” her mother told a younger Laymon. When the center—money, social power, and even simple everyday stability—is concentrated among a marginalized demographic, it encompasses most of us. This exhibition provides documents of uprisings and revealing portraits of everyday life in the city. In “Darker Than Blue”, as the screenwriter she meticulously recreated the past through stream of consciousness recollections of her family and her neighborhood. “I wanted to be unapologetic. There's an ambiance that’s evocative of memory.” Her commission represents a diverse group of artists who lived and worked at the intersection of art production, political activism and social change. The political tumult recently has fueled conversations about the dynamics of race and gender. When she isn't focusing on her artistry, she attempts to expand her neighborhood’s offerings to local families. Racism and discrimina­tion in education, employment, and housing were an undeniable reality, and in the wake of rebellion these upheavals became more prevalent than ever before. Janelle Monáe is currently preparing a boundless, multidisciplinary exhibition through a recontextualization of her music on Sunday, January 20—taking advantage of Frank Lloyd Wright’s stunning architecture in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition is titled “Woman of the Dunes” and it discusses black womanhood and identity through visuals. It is a compendium of essays, reflections, images, and memories of the history of American art—a sequence in which blackness drove a new generation of artists and spawned a flourish of creative advances, artistic alliances, and institutional change. The following month, she will be involved in a collaboration with Pitchfork and the Art Institute of Chicago. She discusses the assertion of of black representational space. Encompassing political posters, photographs, collages, sculptures, films, prints, and paintings, Monáe demonstrates different forms of communication in which black artists contended with issues of identity and representation and the role of art in a society pervaded with racism. A tale of trauma and resilience shines through. The segment of the Today Show ended with Monáe singing a melancholic version of “Night Dreamer”. RISE AGAIN / NIGHT DREAMER This Friday.
  13. Frontline

    Janelle Monáe talks "Night Dreamer" on Jools Holland Janelle Monáe’s rapid ascension is imminent. She recently announced her directorial debut entitled “Darker Than Blue” with Béla Tarr, will be starring in “Heavy”, based on a recent memoir by Kiese Laymon, has been scheduled to make an appearance on HBO’s Westworld, and assisted in writing the script for an episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Most importantly, Janelle Monaé will finally introduce us to her as a musician. For the New York Times, she performed an intimate medley of “Night Dreamer” and “Rise Again” from her forthcoming project at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and for NPR at the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater with her quartet. The quartet was formed at the Eastman School of Music in order to pursue an expanded classical repertoire—however they take a more contemporary approach when performing with Janelle. A NPR reporter has stated that Night Dreamer and Rise Again are a “a combination of art jazz, melodrama, free improvisation, twisted blues and bittersweet balladry — all colored with a sly Sephardic tinge.” As much as Janelle Monáe challenges musical form with her complicated compositions and improvisational saxophone techniques, Janelle also challenges perceptions of race, gender and age with choreography that interweaves dramatic text, movement and music. Dance was her first aspiration and introduction to performance. As a child, she spent hours upon hours observing each and every movement by prolific dancers such as Sylvie Guillem. The appreciation of the stage and the audience is what motivated Guillem through the physical demands of performance, and Monáe aspires to develop a similar mutual connection with concertgoers. “Night Dreamer” in particular has strong invocations of a visual analog to the sounds created In her performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, black female dancers, dressed in utilitarian white, arrived barefoot, walking around a circular platform. They danced beautifully as Monáe sang the song whilst maintaining a sonic throughline. “Night Dreamer” is accompanied by visuals influenced by the hypnopompic state that leads us out of dreams. “Consciousness bleeds into our dream state, colors and images of dreams and nightmares mix and clash with hints of awakeness.” she says. The song was produced by Paul Epworth and features vocals by “Seven Months Pure” singer Frank Ocean. “Basically, the concept of this music video is framed around the transient, endless possibilities that dreams represent. In this state of mind, imagination runs freely and seemingly unrelated events and images combine, contrast, and transition within our boundaries. I felt a vivid connection with hopefulness and winter.” While recording music, what is the process? I know the influences and framework for your arrangements and compositions, however what dictates your approach towards making commercialized music? I am a musician first and foremost. It truly depends on the background behind the concept. For example, errors in the recording studio can provide opportunities for experimentation. Tracks are at times presented as a musical score and as a recording, which was extensively treated in post-production. “Rise Again” was the easiest song to arrange mainly because of how confrontational it is. I am a person in the relationship that keeps their feelings aside and once they are acknowledged it becomes easier and easier to resist apprehension. “Do I know who I am anymore?” I asked myself. In actuality, that statement is rationalized. As I kept on contemplating, a rampant musical eclecticism persisted and, in a way, was made on its own. Commercialized music has influenced me in the sense that it kept me even more grounded than relying upon older, less vibrant interisces. I can be just as eclectic without compromising my artistic integrity—and I hope it stays that way. Was it difficult persuading Frank Ocean to be involved with a newcomer? Not at all. In fact, Frank Ocean and I have had a long and extensive background. If I recall correctly, we first met at a Paisley Park gathering back in 2012. Frank Ocean has always supported my endeavors and of course I do the same. He has seen me perform several times with Chinese ensembles—you know, the traditional bowed strings, plucked strings, winds and percussion instruments. I played the dizi, which was a departure from my extensive rehearsals as a classical Western flutist. He also saw me perform Janet Jackson’s “If” and a couple original songs I am not exactly proud of. When I asked if he would be involved in “Night Dreamer”, he did not even hesitate. Obviously, I am eternally grateful for that. It's harder than ever for new talents to establish themselves. Do you currently practice any instruments? Oh, absolutely! I'm always looking forward to becoming the best musician I can be. Percussion instruments are my forte for sure. I initially struggled to being accustomed to reading Chinese musical notation, however I always get ecstatic when progression is being made. I kept on insisting to compose with the hammered dulcimer as the glissandos of the dulcimer echoed in my head. This dissertation explores the relationship between performances of traditional music, preservationist discourses, and more. I am sure that there's footage of me performing with a symphony somewhere. How do you believe your music further establishes the Afrofuturism movement? In conscience of the current and continued marginalization and silencing of black, brown and queer communities, I came to a realization that it's not just collective memory that informs our future. When we document the ways we intimately and publicly exist in these moments in time, we build that future, too. Intimacies are worth cherishing. Many artists, Sun Ra for example, utilized practice of improvisation, community formation, and in addressing issues of discrimination and marginalization. I stand by my statement that music is inherently political. It has and will always be. Bringing the movement to the forefront of urban contemporary music is important. There was the connection between Afrofuturism and class elevation, which again is an interconnection to reform and the cultural-historical formation of the timbral politics of difference and the ways that comprehending voice remains central to understanding human experience. When did you first begin to write your compositions? Are you planning on doing anything ambitious to display your abilities besides recording music? At around the age of 11, I believe I learned musical notation, and that's around the time when I began filling notebooks with his compositions. I’d write pieces that went on and on continuously. Here are some penciled-in scribbles of added musical embellishments to “Rise Again”. I added them prior to going onstage for the New York Times I believe. There's this event I have been rehearsing for both The Art Institute of Chicago and the Guggenheim Museum that I am beyond excited about. You'll just have to wait and see. She proceeds to hand Holland a notebook. Interesting. Are you going to perform here anytime soon? Of course! I'm scheduled to perform at the London Jazz Festival—and I'd be beyond excited to perform on your show. Maybe Frank will come along too.
  14. Frontline

    Janelle Monáe performs exclusively for NPR Music at the Red Rocks Amphitheater In Janelle Monáe’s music, sound operates simultaneously as something materially produced within social and technological relations and something interpreted and imagined, especially by social and political elites, but also by those excluded from privilege or subjected to authority. “Music runs parallel to human society, is structured like it, and changes when it does.” she notes. Janelle Monáe experiments with this concept in her directorial debut “Darker Than Blue” alongside Béla Tarr (Werckmeister Harmonies, The Turin Horse). “I wholeheartedly believe that all music is inherently political. Music has a political function, representing the very possibility of organized society.” This idea of music as resistance is woven throughout the narrative. In Monáe’s forthcoming debut single entitled “Woman of the Dunes”, she illustrates the overall premise of the film. It's intentionally barbaric and crude, yet in the most constructive manner. She states that she's mostly inspired by Amiri Baraka, who was foundational for a generation of writers including Langston Hughes, regarding lyricism. “I want to include the black vernacular for literary value. It's difficult to prove to some that you can delineate your thoughts without being compelled to compensate who you are. We are constantly mocked and humiliated whilst being fetishized at the same time. It's frustrating to say the least.” Many of the most important works in the canon of African drumming have dealt specifically with the interaction of the instruments within an ensemble. “Woman of the Dunes” relies heavily on percussion and a string quartet to create a sound that is distinctively hers. Through her music, Monáe is particularly interested in exploring the interstices between music and religion, music, race, and colonial encounter, and music and nationalism. In Janelle Monáe’s “Darker Than Blue”, she references Death and the King's Horseman, a play by Wole Soyinka, in a poignant scene in which she wanted to commit suicide. Summer is a former war correspondent in Iran reflecting upon what led to her upcoming demise after being persecuted by neighboring allies. “When people say that “death is a part of the sacred tradition”, the entire rhetoric inspired me in some scenes in the film” she says. Although the story dwells on war-related horrors, the film implies that mortals do not exactly know why suffering occurs. This background merely formulates the beginning for a quest into the incorporeal truth about suffering in the world. Exclusively for NPR, she performed two songs that will be released this Friday entitled “Night Dreamer” and “Rise Again”, and Monáe truly eviscerates a work that could well offer ''threnodic essence''. Much of the evening is lavished on detailed illustration and explanation of Yoruban cultural traditions. As the audience, we were fortunate to explore the trove of scores, lead sheets, arrangements, and solo piano manuscripts written in the clear and precise hand of the singer-songwriter. What has inspired Monáe the most is the gruesome—at times staged—photographs taken during current global discrepancies. Like shimmering novas in the sky How surreal it would be To believe in heaven’s generosity “Seeing jazz as full of joy and energy, able to transform sadness, Janelle Monáe uses it successfully here to create materialized movement in actual worlds of colored space" says Jon Pareles. It's quite apparent that she weds vintage Afro-futurism and a commitment to transcendence—with the composition of “Rise Again” being very influenced by Sun Ra’s earlier works—especially the free-form improvisation ending before introducing “Night Dreamer”, featuring succulent and infectious background vocals by Frank Ocean. We haven't seen her as enthusiastic before. It's clear that she has been waiting to perform these compositions for quite a while—especially in the “Night Dreamer” performance, however she is still emerging as a fully-rounded individualist. The two arrangements intentionally juxtapose each other, as “Night Dreamer” was written in buoyant state of mind without being overly energetic, while “Rise Again” is more cathartic and reflective of her grievances; similar to death without the euphemisms. The synaptic way she connects seemingly disparate observations immobilized the few people in the audience. “It’s so intense to be observing the transition from a living person into a memory, and that is what we wanted to portray on film with [Darker Than Blue]” she says. “There's no need for interpretation regarding death, so that is basically my outlook for how to depict it on the silver screen and in my life as well.” Onstage, she is someone who is confident, bordering on smoldering. She is not threatened by subservience to insistent rhythmic formulae. New York Times columnists were the first people to see Janelle Monáe perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. One critic states that watching her perform is a “transcendent, spine-tingling, uplifting, utterly joyous experience”. The room was mesmerized, feeding off the energy emitted by Monáe and her stage presence. Continuously, a static, tonal centre is established, only to be subjected to a discordant, clashing forces, before reasserting itself and emerging as the composition’s fundamental, primal core. Keyboards, synthesizer noise, oboe, flute, bassoon, and various horns take turns chattering or singing over Monáe’s somnambulistic rhythm section. Monáe elaborates on black secular music created and performed by African Americans living in urban areas. In spite of most contemporary African music, other traditions were preferred and performed. She's surrounded by a group of male dancers. Paralleling the liberalization of Ghana’s political economy over this period, a “crisis of masculinity” has resulted in unprecedented transformations in traditional kinship structures, patriarchy, and channels for the transmission of traditional practices in Dagbamba communities. Driven by anxieties over these changes, Dagbamba “tradition” is being promoted as a prescription for problems stemming from poverty, environmental degradation, and political conflict, placing music and dance at the center of this discourse. By investigating the mobilization of traditional music as a site for the restoration of masculinity within the Dagbamba community of northern Ghana, she embraces femininity as well. “I'll show you the meaning of a woman” she says, encircled around a saxophone and trumpet quartet. This dissertation explores the relationship between performances of traditional music, preservationist discourses, and the construction of masculinity. Through analyses and inclusions of the warriors’ ritual performances, including sounds, movements, and dramatized violence, Janelle questions the traditional ideals and contemporary realities of Dagbamba masculinity by applying African concepts to Western analytic paradigms. At 32, it appears as if Janelle Monáe is just getting started. Her music is consciously inspired by soul, P-Funk, blues, electronica, New Orleans jazz, free jazz, and more. In Monáe's radical imagination, we see the incorporation of politics in her concepts and outlooks on creating music. Initially, it seemed “provincial and becalmed” attending the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Now, she utilizes her knowledge to her advantage. This performance is part of a broader ongoing effort to elucidate signal processing in experimental music. The cinematic and intriguing performance will be available on Encore after the release of “Night Dreamer” this Friday. She will perform at the London Jazz Festival on Sunday as well. NIGHT DREAMER / RISE AGAIN This Friday.
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