Cape Town, South Africa-based drummer Asher Gamedze explores relationships of time between music and history on his new album Turbulence and Pulse, out May 5th 2023. Gamedze’s critically-acclaimed debut album Dialectic Soul was released at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020. Around the release of that record, with friend and writer Teju Adeleye he organized and participated in a joint online discussion “Poesis,” with historian Robin D.G. Kelley and others. One of the notable comments made in this session was by the poet and scholar Fred Moten, who described Gamedze’s drumming as an “amazing interplay between turbulence and pulse. Pulse is supposed to regulate and also be regular, but the turbulence underneath it and on top of it, it’s just extraordinary.” Moten added that this concept is a fundamental element of the percussive approach in Black music more broadly.
Turbulence and Pulse takes its title from this moment of synchronicities. Inspired by this description, Gamedze developed the metaphor further, expanding the concept of turbulence and pulse through the lens of history. “Time in music is a metaphor for thinking about time in history and how time moves,” he says. “The way we’re taught history is generally in a way that robs people of agency in imagining themselves as part of history and how it unfolds. It is something that happens to us. I think there's a productive metaphor in that because the sense of time in music is created by musicians playing together. If we can use that to think about history and time in history, you can see that, actually, history is created by people in a whole range of ways. At the heart of it, historical motion is created by people organized and acting together, whether for progressive or reactionary ends.”