Curated by Sarah Cooper as part of the Californian institution’s Friday Flights program, artists are invited to “transform the Getty experience” through a series of interdisciplinary happenings. Los Angeles-based producer and musician Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallones) will be play live, while artist Surno’s ‘We of Me’ performance, featuring Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, includes a choreographed soundscape using hand-crafted musical hair brushes held by 20 men.
Los Angeles- and Pittsburgh-based art collective Institute for New Feeling, meanwhile, is co-ordinating a mass live-streaming video and IRL event, speculating on life in the event of a natural disaster.
When Cameron Stallones (aka Sun Araw) and M. Geddes Gengras set out to Jamaica to record with roots icons The Congos, they couldn’t have foreseen how far that relationship would take them. Now, following their 2012 release as RVNG Intl‘s FRKWYS VOL. 9: Icon Give Thank, they’ve carried on working together as production unit, Duppy Gun, along with the fishing village Forum. Featured below is farmer vocalist I Jahbar performing over their most recent instrumental 12″ release, ‘Spy’, available now through Stones Throw Records.
“In Jamaicathe whole spirit is different. Time behaves differently, it reacts differently; it expands and contracts in ways that give you space, that we don’t allow ourselves to have in the western world. Those guys are in touch.“
So when you consider just how much of a positive impact these experiences have had on Sun Araw’s world view, we can only hope releases such as this one will do that same for others.**
Cameron Stallones has experienced the joys of spiritual enlightenment first hand. As quite possibly the sole reason one of the most significant Jamaican groups ever had reformed in 2010, the LA performer is releasing and later performing FRKWYS VOL. 9: Icon Give Thank with The Congos. That band released the seminal roots reggae album Heart of the Congos, produced by the equally revered Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in 1977, and went on to inspire and influence generations of dub and roots musicians, no less an obscur-ish audiophile based on the West Coast of the United States. His personal catalogue of cosmic esoterica includes the improvised neo-primitivism of Not Not Fun release Heavy Deeds in 2009 and a record inspired by antiquity in Hippos In Tanks’ Ancient Romans last year, all produced under the better-known moniker of Sun Araw.
Joined by friend and live collaborator M. Geddes Gengras on another gruelling tour –physically somewhere in Middle America, psychically across the universe –Stallones is talking about how he found himself in the midst of a musical and metaphysical centre, 45-minutes out of Kingston, Jamaica, a year earlier. That studio in the town of Portmore, inhabited by a community of musicians and Rastas, is itself a reflection of the hazy middle-point between creative expression and spiritual exploration where Stallones himself lingers. Icon Give Thank is the result of that accord. Featuring submerged dub beats and fragmented samples, stringed together by the elemental vocal harmonies that made The Congos emblems of their time, the album is a result an unfathomable meeting of minds, that only someone as curious, bold and slightly eccentric as Sun Araw could pull off…
aqnb: Was it a given that Mark [Geddes Gengras] was going to be working with you on this?