DeForrest Brown, Jr. unpacks his new record for Planet Mu.
DeForrest Brown, Jr., AKA Speaker Music, likes to joke that he makes art like one plays chess. Speaking to Bizaar Bazaar in 2018, he eloquently described his creative process: "I look at what space I have available in front of me, take note of the conditions of my immediate environment, and consider my own value in the matrix of these options; then, I make a move." It's easy to understand, then, why the New York-based theorist, journalist, curator, visual artist and musician wears so many hats—he's a perceptive, creative cultural critic, known for shaking things up both online and in real life.
Last summer, DeForrest began making music as Speaker Music, a project inspired by the work of theorists Henri Lefebvre and Kodwo Eshun. His new full-length composition, of desire, longing, which arrives Friday on Planet Mu, pulls together heady concepts, audio recordings and improvised electronic percussion in honest and empathetic ways, taking influence from the likes of Les McCann, Urban Tribe and James Stinson. In conversation with RA contributor Nina Posner, DeForrest talks speculative futures, the potentialities of repetition, and "assembling a Black counterculture" while navigating a music industry driven by capitalism.