Review: Jack Davidson (Noise-not-Music):
"I first want to acknowledge that Concessions (for my father), James Hazel’s new release, made me aware of a new imprint/project called Precarious Texts, which pledges to become “a space that re-turns [sic] to and re-emphasises “class” as part of the intersectional prism and supports practices within these spaces.” In a time where socioeconomic stratification is more ingrained than ever, there can never be too much acknowledgement of the reality in which we reside. Hazel concedes that while making Concessions he was “located in relatively stable space/time” in objective terms; instead, the qualifying precarity in his life is an emotional one, an empathic one, formed by the deep connection Hazel feels to his immediate family, his ancestors, and the countless marginalized workers that have fought the same battles long before him. The exhaustion and defeat, the enshrouding malaise, the tiny beaten and battered beams of hope of the oppressed existence are translated to sound through minimal groupings of sources and an old tape recorder. Hazel’s frail transmissions hang in the dusty air with aching grace, slowly dissipating into blankets of soft whispers and woozy warbling. This album is a masterclass in evoking emotional weight via entirely abstract means. I was brought to tears several times by the volatile feedback currents in “Sensual Objects”—it’s one thing to absorb the sadness from an affecting lyric or somber melody, but it’s entirely another to feel unnameable emotions well up from the depths of yourself when witnessing something whose sorrowful beauty you can’t even describe."
PRECARIOUS TEXTS (precarioustexts.com
) IS A LITTLE SPACE FOR PRECARIOUS ARTISTS AND PRACTITIONERS; OR THOSE WHO CHAMPION OR WRITE ABOUT THEM; A SPACE THAT RE-TURNS TO "CLASS" AS PART OF THE INTERSECTIONAL PRISM; AND IT IS THUS THROUGH THIS AVENUE YOU WILL FIND THE RELEASE OF THIS TAPE OF ELECTRONIC PIECES WRITTEN AND RITUALISED AROUND AND THROUGH THE MATERIAL REALITIES OF PRECARITY.
PRECARIOUSNESS (OR PRECARITY) IS THE DEFINING AND ONGOING CONDITION OF LATE-STAGE CAPITALISM; AND THESE PARAMETERS ARE ALWAYS IMPOSED/ENFORCED ON MAKING, THINKING AND BEING. BUT WE MUST NOT FORGET: PRECARITY COMPRISES THE SYSTEMATIC DAMAGES WHICH ARE NOT DISTRIBUTED EQUALLY AMONG SO MANY SOCIAL INTERSECTIONS: JOBLESSNESS, HOMELESSNESS, ITINERANCY, POVERTY, DISCRIMINATION, POOR HEALTH DETERMINANTS, AND BROAD SYSTEMIC DISADVANTAGE ACROSS CONFIGURATIONS OF ETHNICITY, AND GENDER. WE MUST ALWAYS ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY (AND OTHER AROUND THE WORLD) EXPERIENCE DEEP PRECARITY, BECAUSE OF OUR COLONIAL CAPITALIST OPPRESSIONS; OUR CONTINUAL AND SHAMEFUL FAILURE.
SOME SONGS ON THIS ALBUM WERE WRITTEN WHEN MY FATHER WAS RECEIVING TREATMENT FOR CANCER AND MY FAMILY WERE FACING THE PROSPECT OF EVICTION FROM THEIR HOME; OTHERS VIA FRUSTRATED SYNTH EXPATIATIONS WITHIN NEO-LIBERAL ISOLATION AND SCARCITY; OR THROUGH THICK RITUALISED PROCESSES IN PAINFUL REFLECTIONS ON THE FRAGMENTATIONS OF POOR AND DISLOCATED SELFHOOD VECTORS; OR VIA NEVER ENDING FISCAL ASSAULTS; THE BODILY, NERVE-ENDING AND VOCAL CAPITALIST-EXTRACTIONS: SUBSUMING NEO-LIBERAL FEEDBACK. IN THESE WORKS, I CHANNEL THE ANGER, MALAISE AND TOXIC PSYCHOLOGICAL/PHYSIOLOGICAL RESIDUES AND DAMAGES THIS SYSTEM HAS WROUGHT ON WORKING AND UNDERCLASS BODIES (INCLUDING MY OWN); THE ATTENDANT NEUROSIS, AND MENTAL ILLNESS WE NAVIGATE AS A RESULT OF THE HARSH AND HIERARCHICAL ASPECTS OF THE SOCIAL TERRAIN. THIS LP, CONCESSIONS, IS ALSO THE NEAR LAST EXPUNGES OF IRISH-CATHOLIC RESIDUE, TRANSMUTED THROUGH THE SHAKY, UNSTABLE NOISE OF TAPE RECORDED ON A SMALL TAPE-RECORDER THAT MY DAD PICKED UP FROM A SYDNEY TAFE (WHERE HE WORKED AS A CLEANER BEFORE HE GOT SICK); I AM REMINDED FROM THIS THAT MY PRECARITY IS HIS PRECARITY, IS MY MOTHER'S PRECARITY, IS MY COMMUNITIES' PRECARITY - REMINDS ME OF HOW MY PRECARITY IS NO WHERE NEAR THE PRECARITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL PRECARIAT IN LOTS OF COUNTRIES TRAPPED IN LIMITLESS LABOURS, IN COUNTLESS FACTORIES, FORGOTTEN.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I HAD A STABLE INCOME AND THIS ACTUALLY PROVIDED ME WITH THE TIME AND SPACE TO REFLECT ON PRECARITY HAVING FELT IT BURN AWAY MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS FOR SO LONG. ON MAKING THIS, I WAS LOCATED IN RELATIVELY STABLE SPACE/TIME, AS AN INSPIRED NODE IN THE HEAVY WEIGHTED NETWORKS IN WHICH WE SUBSIST; A THERMOSTAT THAT HAS TEMPORARILY FOUND REFUGE IN SONIC ASSEMBLAGE; BUT WHOSE FELT REALITY IS CONNECTED TO A LARGER REALITY OF SO MANY, WHO DO NOT NEED PITY BUT SYSTEMIC CHANGE.
AS MY DEAR FRIEND TINA STEFANOU ALWAYS REMINDS WHEN I FEEL SO CYNICAL/DEFEATED ABOUT THE CAUTERISING CONDITIONS OF THESE ENTANGLING AND PROCESSUAL SYSTEMS, SHE SAYS: STORIES ARE HAPPENING AND ALWAYS HAVE HAPPENED DESPITE THESE CONDITIONS; THEY ENDURE. ALAS, IT IS DESPITE THESE CONDITIONS, I HAVE MADE SOMETHING PRECIOUS (THOUGH NOT EASY TO LISTEN TO) FOR YOU.
released June 9, 2020
MIXED FOR LISTENING IN INTIMATE AND/OR NEGLECTED SPACES.
DEDICATED TO THE TENDER MEMORY OF WORKER POET XU LIZHI WHO WORKED AT THE FOXCONN FACTORY MAKING PARTS FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICES (SUCH AS SMART PHONES) IN ABJECT AND HORRENDOUS WORKING CONDITIONS. XU SADLY TOOK HIS OWN LIFE WHILE WORKING AT THIS FACTORY. HIS POWERFUL POEMS WERE COMPOSED WITH NEAR NO RESOURCES; NO LEISURE TIME, AND NO LUXURY OF BOURGEOIS, PSYCHO-SUBJECTIVE ACTUALISATION. IN HIS POEM "I SWALLOWED AN IRON MOON” HE SHARES HIS MATERIAL REALITY WITH US; SAYING IN AN HONESTY I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE:
“I swallowed an iron moon, they called it a screw, I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms, bent over machines, our youth died young, I swallowed labour, I swallowed poverty.”
You can buy the anthology here: blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781945680038?gC=ad0234829&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_qqh9fj06QIVGh4rCh1voQjJEAkYASABEgLFU_D_BwE
All tracks on Concessions (for my father) composed, performed and recorded on tape by James Hazel.
Mastering by Joseph Franklin (thank you endlessly, my brother)
Photo for album-art taken on my phone in a little hostel, in Mangwon Market District, Seoul, South Korea
Thank you to my extended community of comrades; I couldn't do this without you x