On the new Who Sent You? Irreversible Entanglements are more political and potent than ever | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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On the new Who Sent You? Irreversible Entanglements are more political and potent than ever


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Irreversible Entanglements will leave you shaken. The group make tight, synergistic free jazz anchored by the dynamic spoken-word declarations of poet Moor Mother, aka Camae Ayewa. Their music sometimes sounds chaotic and freewheeling, but it ensnares listeners with arrangements carefully considered to help deliver fiery political messages. The five-piece ensemble—the lineup also includes saxophonist Keir Neuringer, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, bassist Luke Stewart, and drummer Tcheser Holmes—originally performed as two different groups at a 2015 New York benefit show called Musicians Against Police Brutality. They create art with a purpose, and on their new album, Who Sent You? (International Anthem/Don Giovanni), they sound more potent than any other act out there. The title track surrounds you with a vortex of barreling drums as Moor Mother evokes the terrors of living in a police state. She sounds assured and calm, firing off words that indict the futility, ineptitude, and foolishness of cops and their failure as civil servants. “Blues Ideology” rallies against harmful religious ideologies that powerful leaders feed the masses, and the stumbling, anguished instrumentation bolsters the anger in Moor Mother’s voice (“Pope must be drunk,” she exclaims). No track feels frivolous, and that’s Irreversible Entanglements’ greatest feat: they instill a desire to think, act, and live more purposefully.   v

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