Moor Mother

The Great Bailout

Anti- • 2024

Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother, is in my Top 3 of contemporary poets. In 2023, the frontwoman of Irreversible Entanglements managed to top my year’s ends list. For her texts combine the intimate intricacy of a Virginia Woolf with the rhetorical force of a Malcolm X. Suffice to say that her ninth album, »The Great Bailout«, has big boots to fill. Will it manage to? On a poetical level, yes. Narratively, »The Great Bailout« is the 48-year-old’s most ambitious LP so far. It offers a rhizomatic examination of Great Britain’s economic history from 1780 to the present. Moor Mother stages the return of the repressed origin of constitutional democracy. Blood. Slave ships. The corpses of those without rights, who died building court of laws. Ayewa’s voice is an instrument, sometimes bellowing, sometimes fragile, never complaisant. It is accompanied, musically, by disfigured versions of the genres of Black liberation. Jazz, Soul, Blues, Hip Hop – ground into Noise collages. If you’re expecting songs, look elsewhere. »The Great Bailout« is closer to a lecture performance. Compositionally, it’s one of Ayewa’s weaker releases. On an aesthetic level, one must take Moor Mother seriously. Especially when she declares: »anti-Blackness has colonized the domains of truth«. Accordingly, every attempt to judge »The Great Bailout« »correctly« would fail to recognize what is at stake in it. The standards by which we judge.