Black Decelerant
Reflections Vol. 2: Black Decelerant
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1one 4:56
2two 2:35
3three 5:50
4four 5:25
5five 3:30
6six 5:53
7seven 1:18
8eight 3:46
9nine 4:42

Black Decelerant, the duo of Khari Lucas, aka Contour, and Omari Jazz, explore spiritual jazz traditions through contemporary tone and texture, fostering sonic meditations on themes of Black being and nonbeing, life and mourning, expansion and limitation, and the individual and collective. Their self-titled debut album, and the collaboration’s core intention, inspires a space for listeners to find stillness and solace, while providing a basis for a movement beyond “the moment”

Black Decelerant is an album guided by process and intuition. Since meeting in 2016, Lucas and Jazz dreamed of a collaborative album that could utilize formless music in both political and poetic ways. They eventually cultivated the project in 2020 across six months of remote sessions (living in South Carolina and Oregon respectively), communicating through improvised instrumentals and sample-based production as reflections of their inner and outer worlds.

“It felt like a remedy to some of the existential stress we were feeling during the time,” says Lucas. “Simultaneously being in the height of lockdown and thinking about encroaching fascism and anti-Blackness, in the US especially. The making of the record felt very meditative and offered a dimension to ground us.”

Listening and responding to one another in real time, the sessions became a vessel to channel ideas around Black humanity, primordiality and ontology, and slowness as a cumulative technology for protection against violence and extraction. The album’s ten compositions configure vast, resonant landscapes with signals, weathers and spirits, suspended in memory and distilled in time.

The Black Decelerant machine recalibrates archival relics and acoustic impulses into collages of amalgamated timbres, where harmony exists not without discordance. Across the expansive space of the record, cadent storms of modulated sound ascend beside serene melodic spells. Piano keys and bass lines tumble in free fall throughout the release, accompanied on tracks “two” and “eight” by the spectral trumpet improvisations of Jawwaad Taylor.

The duo arrived at their name upon reading Aria Dean’s Notes on Blacceleration, an article which explores Accelerationism within the context of Black being or non-being as a foundational tenet of capitalism. Coupled with the record’s intended effect, “Black Decelerant” references the music being an invitation to slow down, while hinting at the shared politics between themselves and the artists and thinkers who inspire them.

“Part of it is about challenging the space that asks that you do more than your natural state and actively pushes you towards over-exertion or exhaustion, and all these late stage capitalist ideas,” says Jazz. “Rest is so wrapped up in that and the absence of it for Black people is something that needs to be challenged in multiple ways.”

The record emerges as a portal and a mirror to a way of living, which as Lucas and Jazz explain, is about leaning into the mind and body’s natural inclination to do what is nourishing for it, away from commodified or virtuous iterations of rest and care attached to capitalism and white supremacy. Black Decelerant serves as both a tonic and journal in a tradition laid forth by musical and philosophical ancestry, a radiant offering and invitation.

Black Decelerant will be released June 21, 2024 in vinyl and digital editions. The album represents the second volume of Reflections, a new series of contemporary collaborations orchestrated by RVNG Intl.