“In the music is your history.” – Volume II

Ephraim Asili
Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn

February 11, 2024, 12-7pm
Géza, 306 Maujer
12-6pm Listening Session
6pm Live Performance

In this last event in a series of public programs held in conjunction with Ephraim Asili’s film installation Song for My Mother (2023), Ephraim and Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn are joined by improvisational electro-acoustic duo HxH for a seven-hour, all-vinyl deep listening session with a final live performance at 6pm.

In the Music Is Your History – Volume II centers jazz music as a form of Black independence and collectivity, taking its inspiration from Amiri Baraka’s 2012 lecture at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado:  

My English professor, Sterling Brown, was a great poet. I didn’t know it when I came there. He was just my English professor. But he’s the one who pulled my coat. Perhaps the greatest understanding of this country, when he took us to his house because me and another guy Avery Spellman thought we were so hip and we hadn’t heard Charlie Parker. He says, “Come to my house.” He shows us a wall full of records organized by time, genre, and person. He says “That’s your history. That is the music. That’s your history. You want to hear how these people were living? Study the music.” That is, in the music is your history. In the music is the history of the United States. If you listen to the music, you will hear the history of the United States, even the slave histories.

This is a drop-in event and audience members are encouraged to spend quiet time listening to the set, reading, writing, drawing, or any other quiet activity that does not compete with the music. 

Ephraim Asili is an African American multidisciplinary artist and educator whose practice centers the African diaspora as a cultural force. Often inspired by his quotidian wanderings, he creates art that situates itself as a series of meditations on the everyday. Ephraim’s art has been exhibited in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His 2020 feature debut The Inheritance premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was later acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn is a music historian, writer, DJ, and professional listener from West Baltimore, Maryland. His musical journey started early, collecting records with his stepfather, programming drum machines/ synthesizers in the mid-80s, and DJing by the age of 10. 

He eventually advanced to creating his music out of samples and found sounds (some of which will be released on his label cow: Music in 2024). Jazz Right Now, The Wire, Dear Reader, and Men In This Town are just a few of the publications he’s written for over the last 10 years. 

When he’s not busy chasing down rare records or pursuing psychological literature, Gabriel is also the Creative Consultant at Astral Spirits Records. 

HxH is the improvisatory electro-acoustic duo of Lester St. Louis and Chris Williams. The duo utilizes a mix of trumpet, cello, and electronics to build worlds traversing through acoustic sound, grainy textures, expansive pools of sounds, breaks, cuts, and beats. The approach is conceived as an expansiveness that holds a personal intimacy. HxH wants to bring the listeners in, tune them to the experience, and take a long trip. HxH functions as a vehicle to bring together the mass of references and influences Chris and Lester share and create ways to crystalize those ideas in real, expanded time to an experience over minutes or hours. Along with creating their own body of original music, the duo also work as sound and installation designers, collaborating with other artists and institutions. HxH has performed in series and venues such as Pioneer Works, The Kitchen, Public Records, Roulette Intermedium, Musik Installationen Nürnberg, T- Space Rhinebeck, The Lot Radio, and Abasement, among others. In June 2023, HxH was awarded a music residency at Pioneer Works. The duo has also collaborated with artists and organizations such as Torkwase Dyson, Fields Harrington, Black Science Fiction, Found Sound Nation, TAK Ensemble, and The International Contemporary Ensemble to name a few.