700 Bliss

Nothing To Declare

Hyperdub • 2022

The first track on this album is called »Nothing to Declare«, yet the second line is »All the heterosexuals wanna be queer«. In the world of DJ Haram and Moor Mother, however, this may not even necessarily be a contradiction. After all, under the name 700 Bliss, they regularly make musical and lyrical statements on which others would build entire careers a mere side issue. What the main thing on their debut album with the same secondary title is, however, remains another question. Zubeyda Muzeyyen and Camae Ayewa answer it with an album that relies much less on hip-hop tropes than the collaborative project’s 2018 debut tape, and more on the mutant club sounds of DJ Haram’s solo work that serve as the basis for Moor Mothers’ nonchalant-yet-dogged punchlines. It’s an approach that thinks experimental rap equally from the left front of a dancefloor and yet is most at home in the leftfield spectrum. The musical palette is expanded by contributions from Lawfandah, Muqata’a and Ali Logout, among others, in addition to circular darbuka grooves, sub-bass slurs, hissing hi-hats, straight techno beats and – hey, it’s an album, after all – more subdued interludes. The thematic range is as multi-layered as it is versatile, politically charged rhymes and surreal humour rub up against each other. To paraphrase John Cage: They have nothing to declare and they are declaring it and that is poetry as they need it. And that is the main thing about this outstanding record.