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Le Guess Who? Preview #13: Angel Bat Dawid
Christian Eede , November 5th, 2021 13:54

Angel Bat Dawid discusses Chicago music – and records by Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and more – in the latest instalment of our Le Guess Who? preview series centred around the coinciding Mega Record & CD Fair

Ahead of this month's Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht, we are presenting a series of previews centred around the coinciding Mega Record & CD Fair, and artists playing at the festival.

Last time round, Aksak Maboul's Marc Hollander discussed Kraftwerk and free jazz, and in our latest edition of the series, Angel Bat Dawid joins us to talk through her personal relationship with vinyl, as well as the record that she believes embodies her home base of Chicago best.

Le Guess Who? will this month welcome the likes of William Basinski, faUSt, Pa Salieu, Angel Bat Dawid, Space Afrika, Lyra Pramuk, Jesu, Alabaster dePlume, L'Rain and Duma, as well as guest curation from Midori Takada, John Dwyer, Phil Elverum, Matana Roberts and Lucrecia Dalt. Sons of Kemet (with special guests), James Holden & Wacław Zimpel, FlySiifu, Mario Batkovic and Lubomyr Melnyk were all recently added to the bill too, with the timetable for this year's edition of the festival having also now been made available online. The Mega Record & CD Fair will run alongside the event in Utrecht. You can find more information about the fair here.

Le Guess Who? will take place from November 11 to 14, 2021. Find more information here.

Which three records would you be on the hunt for at the Mega Record & CD Fair?

Angel Bat Dawid: I love records so much, but it's never me looking for records, but the other way around. The real question is what three records are gonna find me? And with the way I love records and how much they love me, it's definitely gonna be more than three. I guess I'm going to have to bring an extra suitcase. I think that is really the mystique of being a true digger. We are out there looking for treasures. I could easily go on Discogs and get any record I want, but there's something about going in and seeing all those bins of records and not knowing what you're gonna find. That's the fun part and it's really like a high... you addicts out there know what I'm talkin' bout!

When / how did you get to know these records, and why are they special to you?

ABD: I always knew I should have a vinyl collection, but didn't really get into vinyl until I became a buyer at a record store in Chicago called Hyde Park Records. I worked there for four years and just like any university I graduated with honours with a Masters in record addiction. Most of my paycheck was going to procuring more. My collection is very curated though. I use the records for my ongoing research and studies as a musician. So all my records are of Black artists intentionally, the majority of my collection would be jazz. I study them very deeply. The records also helped me through a time I was going through a really horrible relationship that was draining to me and very toxic.

Coming home with a new record from the likes of Oliver Lake, Yusef Lateef and Ornette Coleman was the only thing that got me through most of those depressing times. After listening to the records, I will feel so much better and really inspired (InSPIRIT) and would record my own music. And that's when I put out this small album called The Joy Of Living, which I recorded all on my phone. It was largely influenced by all the records that I was bringing home and those sounds really healed my heart and opened doors for me. It was that album that caught the attention of International Anthem, among other things, and the rest is history. Now I am literally on records. What a life!

What album have you listened to the most over the last year?

ABD: I take time throughout my week to really intentionally listen to my records and tapes. I have quite a lot of both. I just alphabetised them all so I have been going through my whole collection. I just finished going through the As and listened to all my Art Ensemble Of Chicago and Muhal Richard Abrams records, and AACM folks like Roscoe Mitchell etc. I also listened to a lot of Bob Marley lately. Kaya has been on rotation, and Stevie Wonder's Secret Life Of Plants have been on lock too. As a musician, listening is a very, very important part of my practice so I can't really say I listen to something more than anything, I listen to a lot of music all the time.

Can you recommend a 'quintessentially Chicago' LP that everyone should own?

ABD: OMG, what a tough question, lol. I would have to say Humility In The Light Of The Creator by Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, which was put out on Delmark Records here in Chicago in 1969. This was on my holy grail list of records for a while and it finally found me one day. There was no way I was gonna let it leave my hands and my bank account was hurt lol, but I got it! The personnel is ridiculous, from Malachi Favors to Amina Claudine Myers, it's a super deep and rich album. It's absolutely bountifully beautiful and you will definitely catch that juicy Chi-town free jazz vibration on this album.