Good Music We Can Know

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tonight in the Explorers Room! Earth is Hell, Apocalypse is Now: Revelations, Revolution, and Disorder in a Funky Eschatology

Tonight's Explorers Room will explore themes, as they appear in funk and jazz, of eschaton, apocalypse, and final judgment in terms of both Revelations and revolution; as well as the world being "disordered," gone wrong, an inferior or incomplete creation of a lesser god, or a manifestation of hell.  These themes, particularly common to eschatological and Gnostic art and theology, are perhaps best exemplified in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, who employed vernacular visual language and grotesque, esoteric imagery to pursue  polemics of discontent against the hypocrisies of the social order and the corruption of the material world itself.

Such themes and methods also appear in abundance in revolutionary and counter-culture music of the 1960's and 70's, nowhere more saliently than in Black Power and black empowerment musical circles, where visions of Earth/America as a hallucinatory madhouse – cruel, depraved, and spiritually unstable – transform into incendiary poetic allegory for the experience of the oppressed, living in a world designed to exploit and alienate them.  The dead will rise and be judged according to what they've done. Will be funky.

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