MOURNING [A] BLKSTAR CREATES A MONUMENT TO THE HERE AND NOW WITH ‘THE CYCLE’
By Nathan Leigh
May 18, 2020
“We’ve been over this before
Again and again and again and again
Like a record skip”
The depth of sound at the heart of Mourning [A] BLKstar’s latest record “The Cycle” is truly astounding. Rooted in the melodic traditions of soul, the Ohio collective pushes their sonic boundaries into the distant future. Lopsided percussion loops and flashes of noise support intricate horn lines and the haunting and frequently powerful intertwining vocals of James Longs, Kyle Kidd, and LaToya Kent.
The band’s best songs “The Wants,” “Be,” and “Sense of An Ending” succeed at creating a sonic universe that you can get lost in, in which centuries of soul collide and expand fractally. There’s a compelling disconnect in lyrics that are so heavily invested in the here and now being sung over music that is deeply committed to paying homage to the history of soul music while imagining its future. That temporal totality dovetails with a band whose raison d’etre is an exploration and celebration of the full breadth of the African diaspora and who cite Baldwin’s belief of the artist as witness as their core mission statement.
The Cycle adds up to an album that demands multiple deep listens, rewarding the listener with new details and nuances. It’s one of those rare albums that you’ll find yourself thinking about long after it’s over. Download the album or snag a copy of the vinyl on Bandcamp, and get more from Mourning [A] BLKstar on Instagram @mourningablkstar