Julius Eastman - Crazy Nigger LP 28351

Julius Eastman - Crazy Nigger LP 28351
Edition of 300 copies, purple vinyl.

"Julius Eastman's seminal classic is now reissued on vinyl for the first time ever. Tracing the narrow geography between Upstate New York and New York City, the narrative of his life unveils the lies carried by the American dream and how deeply the bigotry of that country runs – where talent, genius, and hard work are disposed to fall on deaf ears if you are born with brown skin or find yourself beyond of the definitions of heteronormative love – where individualism is expected, as long as you play by the rules, and where free-thinkers all too often join the ranks of the oppressed. Against this backdrop, the body of music which Eastman composed, with its proximity and evolving reception, forces its listeners to face the complex questions sounding interpretation and the terms of engagement within the arts. Where does the beauty of a work end? Where does that of its creator begin? (…)

Gay Guerrilla and Evil Nigger, both composed in 1979, with a third work, Crazy Nigger, make up what Eastman called The Nigger Series. Some of the most challenging and beautiful works composed for piano during their era, they double as a window into the intricate thought process and contentiousness of their creator. When the composer was asked to perform the series at Northwestern University in 1980, due to protests by African American students, their titles were censored in the event’s program. His response was a flamboyant foreshadowing of the sentiments toward bigoted language which later arose within hip-hop culture – to publicly take back these words, assert ownership of them, and deploy their power for positive change. What Eastman was early to recognize, was that there is a fundamental difference in what happens when these words are spoken by white people toward people of color, and when people of color deploy them toward a white audience. The balance of power shifts. Eastman’s audience was largely heterosexual and white. He knew exactly what he was doing, and to whom he spoke. (…)"