Describing DESCRIBE

Moyshe Kulbak (1986-1940), An Original
Moyshe Kulbak (1896-1940), An Original Yid
Though I’d heard some initial criticism, I just took the plunge and bought Describe’s new EP Harmony just out on Shemspeed. I’d heard Describe songs that I related to, and the masculine mix of Hasidut and singjaying resonated with my path from the Jewish afrocentrism of my youth to halachic observance and idiosyncratic politics of my mid-20s. I may be the perfect example of his audience – a bearded, urban herbsman with facility in Jewish texts and languages that I came to rather late in life. At times, Describe’s music, and much else on the Shemspeed label, represents this formidable intertextual web. References to Sefer Shemos, Hasidic texts, and Universal Brotherhood are woven into the cadences of the African Diaspora. Describe seems to have created a kind of mythical Golus where these images might resonate.
More concretely, Diwon is arguably the first product of the post-Matisyahu tekufa, which seems to have integrated the cliche of Jewish-Black pairing with unparalleled closeness. What emerges is an image of late 19th century Eastern Europe, when the Chabad Movement spawned a generation of youth wrestling with it all. We again get the Jewish mythman, who synthesizes uneasily the massive forces that collide in the body of every Jew.

4 thoughts on “Describing DESCRIBE

  1. “the first product of the post-Matisyahu tefuka,”
    pretty sure you wanted the word “tekufa” instead…

  2. His lyrics may be interesting, but I cannot tell because I find it impossible to listen to this auto-tuned crap. De-scribe, ditch the auto-tune, please!

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