Philadelphia duo 700 Bliss charge political beats with spiritual energy on Spa 700 | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Philadelphia duo 700 Bliss charge political beats with spiritual energy on Spa 700 

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click to enlarge 700 Bliss

700 Bliss

Melanie Marsman

Philadelphia duo 700 Bliss is a perfect example of the kind of supergroup that can emerge from a combination of globally engaged conversation and access to affordable practice spaces. Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother, and Zubeyda Muzeyyen, aka DJ Haram, are a part of a smart, active community of artists of color in Philadelphia that nurtures cross-collaboration, and on last year’s Spa 700 (Halcyon Veil/Don Giovanni), they bring beats to the forefront of their noise-informed, rhythm-heavy music and channel the type of spiritual energy that can call up the dead. On “Cosmic Slop,” Moor Mother sings “Don’t hate, bitch / Up in here trying to code switch” over DJ Haram’s North African-infused rhythms, whose high-pitched clicking is reminiscent of the metal Gnawa castanets called krakebs. Both musicians come to the table with an arsenal of knowledge: Ayewa also creates art and does ethnographic research with the collective Black Quantum Futurism, and Muzeyyen’s zine Bros Fall Back initiated a dialogue among Philly’s underground venues about the realities of safer spaces. This music is electronic divination for warriors: “Living,” a sinister rattle like a snake about to strike in self-defense, is punctuated by the sounds of someone gasping for air and Ayewa’s analysis of the African diaspora and the transatlantic slave trade (“Since the start / Color line, bloodline, land mine / Keep us apart”). 700 Bliss use just enough melody in their songs to keep people on the dance floor, and just enough silence to remind us to create space for personal reflection. This show also includes sharp, focused local rap duo Mother Nature, whose recent self-released EP, Pressure, features energetic lyricism over radio-ready beats.  v

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