Mikrokosmos is a collaboration between composer Justin Hicks and artist Steffani Jemison. The first of the two long pieces presented on their sole LP, “Tutorial,” shatters Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson’s “We Almost Lost Detroit” into infuriatingly tiny shards that appear and vanish in a breath. Sounds repeat and accumulate, shifting between samples and yearning performances by a band and chorus led by Hicks and Jemison. The gap between the original and the new performances, the feeling of being baited, the regular return to silence, all works towards what the artists describe as “articulating revolutionary melancholy.” It is a difficult listen, but it is a literal tutorial, providing the tools for unraveling, for understanding the project. The B side, “Another time, this time, one time” is a richer presentation of voices. There is again a sense of learning, of developing an ear for the language being spoken in real time, but “Another Time” is much more generous than “Tutorial.” Ultimately the two rely heavily on each other, creating an unexpected, elastic desire to flip the LP again and again.
Released August 2020. Edition of 500 copies.