The notion of rebellion and general protest in music seems to have reached new heights in the last five or so years. Donald Trump’s ascension to Presidency in the US sparked an incredible response from music communities as a divided America sought to comprehend its new place within the global landscape; the events following Harvey Weinstein’s downfall sparked an explosive and fiery debate about women’s place in society with countless impassioned voices coming through; the death of George Floyd at the hands of arresting police officers, again, held a mirror up to America forcing it to address some serious questions about the very nature of its own soul.
In 1971, Marvin Gaye asked the question ‘What’s Going On?’ in the way that other soul luminaries including Gil Scott-Heron and Curtis Mayfield has in their respective ways. Maybe that’s a question we as a society are forever destined to ask in regards to the governments and politics that influence and dictate our everyday lives and in 2022, it’s now time for Q-Sounds Recording to ask that very same question.
‘Music For Riots, Revolutions & Showdowns’ is a project put together by musician and producer Rob D. Vulosic alongside the French funk and soul label, Q-Sounds Recording. Over the course of the album’s twelve tracks, there’s something gloriously uncompromising in its approach – song titles like ‘Out The Pigs !’, ‘Patrol Car On Fire’ and Kill The President’ venture beyond the simple notion of mere protest but actual revolution in the gritty and abrasive sense of the word.
With many of the compositions revolving around heavy, crashing drums, the album’s presentation of cinematic breakbeats leads to some incredible offerings that don’t come off as angry as the album title and track names would suggest; overall there’s a more sinister and bleak aesthetic to the music throughout: the menacing and sinister tone of ‘Capitalism Steals Your Soul’ is a standout as is the captivating and trippy sounding ‘Kill The President’ with a lush but incredibly eerie vocal sample employed to perfection. ‘Patrol Car On Fire’ boasts an undeniable 70s-style groove while the unexpected 80s soundscape of ‘Rebels in the Dark’ is very much the scene-stealer here – a blissful and infectious track that at nearly 4 minutes long will leave you wishing it had another 4 minutes to share.
But just to be clear, this is fantasy. As a label, Q-Sounds are responsible for putting too much love and positive energy out into the world to genuinely be inciting any extreme level of revolution but it is fantasy born of real emotion. For Q-Sounds, this is their ‘F–k The Police’ or their ‘Fight The Power’ moment. It’s visceral music that serves as a passionate and relevant voice in times where these voices are needed.