BLACK (New 4LP + Download)
$ 54.99

Label: FPE Records

"The physical form of dragonchild's debut is a vinyl 4-LP set, titled BLACK, containing a single 20-minute piece of music revealed when the four albums are played simultaneously. This physical release imagines a vinyl record as an art piece, with photography by Ethiopian photographer Michael Tsegaye, depicting a lava lake in the Afar region of eastern Ethiopia. Each vinyl record is translucent, with music on one side and an engraved topographic map of the lava fields on the reverse.

You can’t really listen to “BLACK,” but you can perform it. First, of course, you will need four turntables, and a space to set them up. (The album includes a diagram showing optimum placement.) You will also need three accomplices, so that all four tonearms can be dropped at once. “Debo,” the name of DA Mekonnen’s previous band, is an Amharic word meaning “communal labor”; to truly experience “BLACK,” you need a community, too.

This is a beautiful and audacious project: an artistic landmark, and an important addition to the long history of African-American cultural exchange."