Few contemporary poets teach creative writing at the University of London while, at the same time, bowling over large audiences at festivals around the world. Anthony Joseph has also published four volumes of poetry and a novel, and is currently working towards a doctorate. As if all this weren’t enough, he is releasing his fifth album, the result of a true meeting of artistic minds, with the New York based bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello.
“Time” should go a long way towards engraving Anthony Joseph’s name in the history books of great black music.
Let Anthony Joseph unfold this precious "Time":
“I’ve released five albums in the last seven years. Today, the 5th, ‘Time’ is released. And it could only be called ‘Time’. An apt title when you consider the drift of moments that has brought us here, that has brought me here to this point, to working with Meshell Ndegeocelloll Ndegeocello, to recording the 11 songs/poems/word-movies in five days in Paris last spring.I’d met Meshell in September 2011. I was doing an interview at the Naive Records offices when she walked in unexpectedly to say how much she loved the then new album, Rubber Orchestras. It was a beautiful moment. I’d loved and lived through her music since ‘Plantation Lullabies’, her music had induced both tears and ecstasy throughout the years. I was a huge fan. So meeting her, and hearing that she knew my work was something special. We kept in touch. It was a year before I asked her if she’d be interested in producing the next album. When she agreed, I knew we were on a train, all we had to do was hold on and we would get there. But when we started working on the album, exchanging ideas and sounds, I had written very little, then the words came, in bursts and waves, and the music too; we were engaged in a mutually inspiring, deep creative process. So when we met at the studios in Paris we knew exactly what we had to do. The musicians did too, Meshell had been working on the arrangements with her band while on tour! Meshell was clear from the start that she wanted to focus on the words, that the music, though important, supported the poems. I think this was what she did with the instrumentation, as you will hear when you listen to the album. Poetry is at the centre of this universe. It brings me full circle; the first Spasm Band album, Leggo the Lion (2007) was all poetry, spiritual baptist rhythms and free jazz. Meshell wanted me to go back to being a poet on this album, in her words to ‘just say the poem’. She wanted the voice to penetrate the ear, to make what Kamau Brathwaite calls ‘word-sculptures’ for the ear.If you listen to the album, you will hear, (as my new band has been finding out) how she has manipulated the fabric of time, how rhythms shift unexpectedly, how certain things seem to go out of time, to suggest their autonomy, but always seem to be right, how sub bass frequencies emerge from nowhere, and how sometimes, like in ‘Shine’, one of the more spiritual tracks on the album, (you’ll see why when we play it live) the head wants to stay in one place but the body demands movement. There are moments like this throughout the album, and its part of the enjoyment to find them.Seven years.And here we are…in 2014 with a new album, a new band, a new approach, but on the same path towards the frequency of magic, which is what I think poetry is.I want to thank Meshell again for her love, for her genius, for the music. Also to the musicians: Roger Raspail, Earl Harvin, Jebin Bruni, Magic Malik, Chris Bruce. I also have to thank Franck Descollonges my label Heavenly sweetness for being like family, for supporting the vision and for making the vision an actuality. And to my manager Antoine Rajon, for starting us on this beauty-full journey back in 2004.”