Chicago-native Jamal Moss celebrates unconventional mixing and the healing power of sound on the latest installment of our mix series.
Art by Harry Gassel and Eric Hu.
Jamal Moss believes that there's a whole lot more to dance music than meets the eye. That's the uniting principle between all the disparate sounds that he's made over the years as Hieroglyphic Being, I.B.M., and a host of other monikers—that electronic music can be more than a functionalist accompaniment for late-night hedonism or a soundtrack for youth-culture minded marketers to sell cars or whatever. If the methodical, thoughtful dance music the Chicago native has made over the past couple of decades wasn't evidence enough, he's finally made his philosophies explicit with his latest solo album The Disco's of Imhotep (released August 5 on Technicolour).
"We have been made to believe that electronic sounds are just for Movement, Enlightenment, Primal Afflictions and Entertainment purposes," he writes in the album's press materials. "But it's much more... It's Sound Healing."
This music can be used to uplift, or as he puts it, to "[create] Frequencies and Vibrations for the Listener that are conducive for him or her to Heal The Mind and Body and Enrich the Soul." On Disco's that he's indulging all of his disparate interests—arranging his typically heartwarming house cuts among gentler new agey instrumentals (like "The Shrine of the Serpent Goddess") and cleansingly abrasive rhythm tracks ("The Sound of KMT"). The effect's refreshing— and like a long scrub with an exfoliant, it's hard not to come out the other side feeling fresh and new.
Today, Moss has also been kind enough to follow some of those same principles on a the latest THUMP Mix, an edited-down set recorded at in Berlin that is a little more propulsive than The Disco's of Imhotep, but is no less spiritually stirring. He's calling the set fuck the depraved & twisted, and while it does have the bracing tracks the title implies (like Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop"), detours through cosmically minded techno, and grinning gospel samples keep it floating somewhere above all the chaos.
Listen to the mix below, or download it via WeTransfer, and read a brief email exchange with Moss himself about the set and The Disco's of Imhotep.
THUMP: How are we meant to enjoy the mix?
Hieroglyphic Being: It's not about really enjoying it, the purpose is to challenge or test one's concept of what it is to mix. My approach to DJing/mixing is very divergent and unconventional in regards of what the concept of proper mixing is supposed to be .
What's the perfect setting?
There is no perfect setting. You have to apply it—[to figure out] how it relates to the environment of the moment in which it is played.
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
No color, some colors, all colors depending on who is on the receiving end. For me it is grey.
Where did you record it?
At a gig in Berlin. The mix was edited down by 3 hours
Was there any specific concept to the mix?
Yes. Audio texturizing is my form of expressing the way I mix or not mix music in certain environments. I can go off the deep end, [provide a] train wreck, speed it up, slow down , reverse it, layer five different tunes with each other to give off a sonic babble effect. I'm just divergent with [my sets] at times .
Do you have a favorite moment on the mix?
Only when I mixed it unconventionally live to see if people are really feeling and understanding the process. The favorite moments only came when I realized people was losing their minds on the floor.
How does it feel to be following up a project as involved as last year's We Are Not the First? Did you know that you wanted this record to be less mammoth in scale?
We Are Not the First was about community and communication and honoring the ones who came before us and sharing that energy in sonic unison to awaken any who would listen. And if it did that's the best feeling you could ever want. That's heavy and intense unto itself .
I didn't really plan or think about it being less mammoth in scale or anything at all honestly. That is on the label reps' end to carry that out. I was there to do my artistic service for humanity.
I'm curious if there's anything you've learned from your collaborations with Sun Ra Arkestra's Marshall Allen over the last few years that you were able to put into practice on this record or if you see this record as part of a separate thing.
This record is part of the continuum of my human experiences and what I have absorb from interacting with the people who came before me Either it be the great Marshall Allen or my mentor Adonis or who ever had a positive mental and emotional and spiritual influence. In my life thus far, it is all relative until you cross over into the next.
You've talked a little bit about the healing power of house music in your own life, can you talk a bit about how you're trying to capture that feeling on your new record?
I want the world to heal and I want positivity and harmony for all life on this planet—so we can make it heaven on Earth. And if artists are able to have a platform and medium to help manifest that into the world, I wish for this album to be part of that movement. When I thought I was in hell art saved me from the ills of my suffering to be better and want to do better and give back positively.