Honorable Übermenschion

February 24, 2019

Saturday night the Met Cloisters hosted M. Lamar’s Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman. The performance was indescribable, unlike anything the Gazette has ever seen up here before, and it was warmly received by the audience of around 80 people. From the program notes:

With a libretto that draws from G.W.F. Hegel’s “Lordship and Bondage” from Phenomenology of the Spirit, Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the übermensch from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Sun Ra’s interviews and writings on discipline and freedom, this piece engages with the experiences African Americans have of enslaved and liberated consciousness, It is a melodramatic epic expressing and enacting a becoming of Black mind, body and soul beyond the violence of both slavery and liberty. Unfolding in nine movements, this piece continues M. Lamar’s juxtapositions of a sub-genre among Negro spirituals which he calls Doom Spirituals, sub-genres of black and doom metal, and contemporary opera and classical music. This work continues the rich investigations and compositions from his recent collaboration with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the theorist and composer of Transcendental Black Metal. The underground aesthetics of Goth and metal subculture are also central to the look and feel of this piece. Lamar is guided in this work by a desire for a new existential philosophy on, for, and from Black consciousness, which partakes of what Fred Moten calls “the black Radical tradition,” but which distinctively rejects and seeks a world beyond Christianity alongside and inseparable from white supremacist liberal capitalism. ~M. Lamar



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