Track By Track: Will Long – Long Trax 2


When your music has already been championed by Dj Sprinkles there is arguably little left to achieve, you might as well give up. Or at least that might be one way of thinking. However, Will Long has other ideas. 

Next month will mark the second in the "Long Trax" series which will be released on Smalltown Supersound. The announcement came towards the tail end of last month and follows recent excursions under the name Celer and as a member of the pop music band Oh, Yoko. His take on house music has always been remarkably subtle and following the release of his first assortment of club focussed music back in 2016 there has been an heir of expectancy about that which might come next…

Well, the time is now and the wait is no more. He guides us through the new release below… Abstract as you like. 

Nothing's Changed

"Good evening. Thank you very much. I noticed today as I was in the hotel room getting ready that Colin Powell is also here today. We were gonna coordinate our tours, and he was a little worried that I'd syphon off the crowds, but it looks like he did ok. I'm very happy to be here today, although I admit that when I am in libraries in Cambridge I get exam flashbacks – I start breaking out into cold sweats, but this is in fact the first time that I've been to the Cambridge public library, which shows you the kind of life we lead over at the law school. We don't leave campus too much. A little bit about myself, and the book. A little preface. As was said in the introduction, my father was a black African and my mother was a white American, and much of my life was spent trying to reconcile the terms of my birth – that divided heritage – with the realities of race and nationality, tribal identities, that exist not just in this country but also overseas. This book is not so much a memoir as a journal of discovery for me – some sense of trying to make sense of my family. Family is always a complicated thing, but it was a little more complicated for me. Part of that process of me understanding my family ends up understanding the larger forces that shaped my family. The first section of the book in particular talks about my grandparents and my mother's family who grew up in such metropolis' as Peru, Kansas and El Dorado, Kansas. We're not sophisticates, we're not even liberal. We're about as mid-American as you can get. If you look at pictures of my grandparents – and there's a picture on the cover of the book, and particularly in their older years, they look like the walked straight out of American Gothic. On the other side, my father's tribe, my father's family, came from a small Kenyan village on the shores of Lake Victoria. Sometimes we forget in some of the racial conflict that takes place in this country that contact between the west and Africa was rather recent and that my grandfather on my father's side was the first or one of the first Africans in that Kenyan village to see or meet or have contact with a white person, and this happened as recently as 1895. So that you have these widely divergent cultures coming together, and as a child, a lot of the conflicts that come out of that were tamped down because they met in Hawaii, and they met at a time that was full of idealism – it was during the civil rights movement, Hawaii as it is had almost a mythic reputation of being multicultural and so that my parents were swept up in the idealism of that time and the hopefulness of that time, the sense that you might be able to create, in this country, a nation that was built on a sense of community and equity and fairness, and as we know, many of those dreams of my parents ended up fraying as time went on. Their marriage broke apart, but also, I think, the hopes and dreams of the nation began to crumble in the later 60's. So I end up coming into adolescence at a time when the tensions between the races even in a place like Hawaii are becoming more pronounced and the identity politics that is so pronounced today was already starting to come to the fore. [. . .] Partly because my father is absent, partly because I'm trying to struggle what does it mean exactly to be a black man in America, partly because I'm sufficiently isolated in Hawaii without a large African American community, without father figures around that might guide me and steer my anger. What I end up relying on are the images and stereotypes that are coming through the media, and I'm having to patch together and piece together exactly what it means for me to be both African and an American." – Barack Obama

You Know?

Uptown. New York. Artist / painter. Jazz, pop culture, visual language. An art scene dominated by privileged whites. Condescension. Subtle racism. Incomprehension by the oppressor of the struggles caused by the oppressor. Critics that focus on race rather than art. Careful use of synonyms, and the effects upon the reviewed. You read your own reviews, or you don't. Warhol. Quota. Or inclusion? Born in a middle class family, less than underprivileged. Childhood files. Flies. Does the ease of life make the weight of bear more damaging? The lack-of of radicalization by art. Included because of or excluded by habit? SAMO. Plan: Go to New York City and study Egyptian art. Completely successful and totally broke. Famous for being famous. Ruined crowns. It's shame that will get us all in the end.
 – Track notes for You Know?

The Struggles, the Difficulties

"You know, it's good to see that there has been at least some good that has been done by their struggles, and some of the racism in terms of the attitudes of the people – of the white people in this country must have been broken down because otherwise, uh, why would they be so interested in seeing the history of black people? (…) And you talk about black women? Hey, you know, we haven't had it this bad in a long, long time. And you talk about police violence? Police crimes? There is a proliferation of police assaults on the black community all over the country. (…) See, I'm saying this because I think I just want to interrupt my presentation for a second and say that we cannot succumb to the notion of history that prevails in this country. And one of the reasons now I think, that we're beginning to see a lot of black history is because they want that to be black history, and just history – the past. Now, like the American revolution, you know? I mean what is the American revolution today?  You talk about revolution today, you know I'm a communist and I talk about revolution and people, uh, say that, uh, you know, I mean, "that's some mad, raving maniac". But what about the American revolution – this country was founded in revolution but it has become history, buried, dead, in the past, and that's what they're trying to do with us. (…) That's supposed to be in the past, you know, the struggles, the difficulties. Ok." – Angela Davis

No More

In the 1960's, Samuel Block was a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which helped blacks register to vote in the face of stiff opposition from whites. He became the point man for the registration effort in Greenwood, Mississippi. Greenwood was a cotton-trading center where the White Citizen Councils maintained their regional headquarters. Medgar Evers, leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who was killed in 1963, had revoked the charter of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter because of its tepid response to the infamous lynching of Emmett Till in Greenwood in 1955. In Mr. Block's first six months in Greenwood, Look magazine reported in 1963, he managed to sign up only five black voters. That same year, after one of Mr. Block's arrests, a judge offered to suspend his sentence if he would agree to stop working for the S.N.C.C., give up the voter registration project and leave town. ''Judge,'' Mr. Block replied. ''I ain't gonna do none of that.'' Often, other blacks were reluctant to associate with him for fear of reprisal. When Mr. Block first arrived in Greenwood, he was forced to sleep in cars for four months because no one would give him a bed. – New York Times obituary for Samuel Block, 2000

That's the Way It Goes

Jack, jack, ja jack jack your body
Jack ya, jack, jack ya, jack your body
Jack, jack, ja jack jack your body
Jack ya, jack, jack ya, jack your body
Jack, jack, ja jack jack your body
Jack ya, jack, jack ya, jack your body
Jack, jack, ja ja jack your body
Jack, jack, ja ja jack your body
Jack, jack, ja ja jack your body.


– Jack Your Body lyrics by Steve 'Silk' Hurley

On June 9, 1980, during the making of the film Bustin' Loose, Richard Pryor set himself on fire after freebasing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum. While on fire, he ran down Parthenia Street from his Los Angeles, California, home, until being subdued by police. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for burns covering more than half of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Herpolscheimer Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital. His daughter, Rain, stated that Pryor poured high-proof rum over his body and set himself ablaze in a bout of drug-induced psychosis. Later, in an on-camera interview, Pryor commented, "I tried to commit suicide. Next question." – Wikipedia Archives

We Tend To Forget

When I was 10, maybe around 1990, I was getting a haircut in a local barber shop in Mississippi. The building was split in half by a thin wall, with the men's barber side on the north, and the women's salon on the south. I remember fake ivy on lattice that covered the walls in the entrance, near the glass front door. There was nobody else in the room except the barber. You could hear the ladies in the other room talking, laughing, and sometimes on the phone. While I was in the chair getting my haircut, a black boy about my age came through the door. Before he could even get his whole body through the door, the barber stepped away from me, scissors still in his hand, and said something to the effect of "You'll have to go across the street. We don't cut you people's hair here." While he was saying this, he motioned with his hand like he was shooing away a dog. I still remember that whenever I get a haircut. 

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