The 2021 edition of the French Météo Music Festival in Mulhouse produced a special performance of American hip hop artist-rapper-spoken word artist-poet Mike Ladd with the duo of French accordion and turntable player Emilie Škrijelj and Belgian drummer Tom Malmendier (known as the Les Marquises duo). Their live performance was titled The Kort’dakian Crisis and offered Ladd’s post-futurist story, written during the Covid-19 lockdown, about an imaginary people, the Kort’dakian, who must defend their planet, The Othun Moon, from an enemy attack initiated by the Xeno people.
Ladd, who has a deep interest in military history (check his album with pianist Vijay Iyer, Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project, Pi, 2013), delivers a mythical story about fierce battles, courage and sacrifice that most likely will lead to oblivion, with urgent and arresting, charismatic pathos and great conviction. His powerful delivery may convince you instantly to believe in the reality of such a story, that, according to Ladd, can happen anywhere or elsewhere “in a flip of a coin”. This sci-fi story serves as a warning, just like the antics of the founder of the French green movement René Dumont, who was a candidate for the French presidency in 1974 with a message warning of an ecological disaster before most of us could comprehend the magnitude of such global crisis.
Škrijelj and Malmendier color Ladd’s impatient delivery of the story with a free improvised, imaginative, inventive and timeless soundtrack that keeps pushing and expanding the plot into deeper, unsettling outer regions. The interplay of Ladd, Škrijelj and Malmendier is totally organic, powerful and restless.
Mike Ladd (v, poetry), Emilie Škrijelj (acc, turntable, elec), Tom Malmendier (dr)