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Alternative music is more than just challenging and demanding aesthetics. Alternative culture challenges faulty, exploitative and evil power structures and policies, especially in times of crisis. And that is exactly what the Berlin-based label Shameless Records did in its digital compilation «Sea-Watch», donating 100% of its proceeds to Sea-Watch, the non-profit organization that conducts civil search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. This compilation was released in the middle of June, shortly after the Italian right-wing government threatened to open criminal proceedings against one of the captains of Sea-Watch boats who have rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

We all heard about the horrific journeys of these migrants. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), about 2277 people lost their lives attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea in 2018. In the first six month of 2019 about 563 have already died or gone missing. in the first half of 2019 alone. And every donation matters. 15 Euro are the price of a life jacket, 35 Euro of a lifebelt, 50 euro of a hypothermia blanket, 500 Euro of a life-raft. 5 Euro is the cost of providing one person with food and drink and 25.000 Euro can fill the tank of one of Sea-Watch boats with diesel for one month. Any purchase of this name-your-price compilation is sending a strong and loud sign of humanity.

Almost the entire Shameless roster has contributed to this DIY compilation, and all eight pieces radiate a strong sense of urgency. Canadian sound artist-graphic designer Julian Lars Gosper contributed the disturbing electronic soundscape «44,448 Meters» (the number of meters in Nautical mile) and designed the cover. Label owner Boris Hauf, known from such experimental bands as Naked Lunch, The Peeled eye and efzeg, arranged the poem of Afro-Americaln poetess Maya Angelou, «On the Pulse of Morning», narrated by Angelou at the 1993 Presidential Inaugural in Washington DC, as a captivating and highly emotional, moral wake-up soundscape that offers «space to place new steps of change».

The Chicagoan quartet These Things Happen – tenor sax player Keefe Jackson, Dutch pianist Oscar Jan Hoogland, bass player Joshua Abrams and drummer Avery, drums, contributed a lyrical and touching arrangement of Duke Ellington’s «African Flower», captured live at Elastic, Chicago, on August 2015. DJ Brent Gutzeit from the Chicagoan trio TV Pow added the chaotic «Classic Rock (Cheese Bored) mix 2» . Drummer Steve Heather, who also played in The Peeled Eye and efzeg and recently with Ken Vandermark’s Shelter, contributed «Exposed Jerry», an arresting and somehow playful, multilayered texture of acoustic and processed percussive sounds. The Austrian duo of drummer Didi Kern, who plays with Vandermark in the DEK trio, and keyboards player Philipp Quehenberger contributed the morbid and metallic drone of «Hope», recorded live in Vienna on January 2009. Brothers Leffe – Max McCormick with Hauf, added «Crossing» that adapts repetitive techno-like pulses to the raw noises boats engines. The compilation ends with uplifting, hypnotic «Peak Data» by Superposition, aka the Chicagoan other players in TV Pow and its extension, Television Power Electric – Michael Hartman & Todd Carter.

Plenty of interesting music, sounds and noises that would guarantee a better karma for those who purchase it.

For further information: https://sea-watch.org
To purchase Sea-Watch go to: https://shamelessrocks.bandcamp.com/album/sea-watch

Eyal Hareuveni

Julian Lars Gosper; Boris Hauf (featuring Maya Angelou), These Things Happen (Keefe Jackson, ts, Oscar Jan Hoogland, p, Joshua Abrams, b, Mikel Avery, dr), Brent Gutzeit, Steve Heather, Didi Kern (dr) + Philipp Quehenberger (keys), Crossing Brothers Leffe (Max McCormick & Boris Hauf), Superposition (Michael Hartman & Todd Carter)

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