Music Review: Muamin Collective – So Blue It’s Black
by Elijah Vazquez
“When will the blues leave?” ~ Ornette Coleman
Reflect on that. Close your eyes and think back to the moment that love jumped out your window took a piece of you with it. Inevitably, it cuts through the insulation of our day-to-day and reminds each of us exactly what we have to lose. Intuition pulls us close to what is most evident within ourselves in order to survive, but one must NEVER ignore the blues. One can never acquire a complete understanding of love without getting in tune with the blues. They birth change and reveal scars while sneering proudly back at the world saying, “I’m not dead yet, so back off.”
The words of Josiah Quarles (ZiON) and the sonic palette of beatsmith Aaron Snorton (aLiVE) have seized the attention of listeners both foreign and domestic. Each release since their debut Industry Standard has demonstrated immense growth and gathered the attention of artists like Blu, Finale, and the late great Javon Colemen (J-1) whose Starship no. 27 compilation vol. 1 & 2 (Insect Records) featured aLiVE. A brief tribute “Jone 4theHomie” provides a moment of reflection with nodding meditation for a gifted Cleveland native who is truly gone too soon.
Every track exhibits a pearled wisdom of pressure and time. From the shadowy invocation of “Too Dirty” to the synthesized astro funk of “Fare Trade Future,” aLiVE’s inimitable production and ZiON’s irrepressible wordplay invoke the spirit of golden era without the burdening yawn of unnecessary nostalgia. Featuring guest appearances by Jack Burton, Holy (of Keyel), and Bim Thomas, this self-released album is available exclusively at MuaminCollective.com. Fans of Rhymesayers, Stones Throw, and Tres Records will wish just as much as I do that someone would put out a physical copy of this. It’s enough to make you wonder, when exactly will THESE blues leave?
Listen: Figure 8