Mateo Senolia Sets James Baldwin To A House Beat On "Baldwin"
Now, perhaps more than ever, the work of James Baldwin is unquestionably essential. The work of a man who dedicated his life to writing out the struggles of black Americans’ experience throughout the 20th Century has been recalled in the wake of tragedies in Ferguson, and New York City. Baldwin was namechecked by Nas as a guiding light against systemic injustice, and now at least one other musician has singled him out as a source of inspiration.
The leading LA house producer Mateo Senolia has just unveiled two new tracks that elevate his brand of steadybeat club-friendly music to a much more meaningful tier. Simply entitled “Baldwin,” the seven minute single and its accompanying remix are both unorthodox and deeply genuine in their politics. Over a simple, glassy synth line and gradually compounding drums, the track pulls audio from Baldwin’s “The Artist’s Struggle For Integrity” speech, which was given at New York City’s Community Church in November, 1962. That speech holds incredible significance for Senolia, who wrote in the track’s description that Baldwin was “a vocal advocate for the arts and artists, asserting that the works and very existence of the artist is vital to the survival of a society…[his] legacy remains a testament to the complex psychology of African American men in hostile environments – only to survive the Diaspora.”
Throughout both tracks, Senolia has created a sound that is both deliciously groovy and profoundly smart–a much-needed addition to the conversation between house music and social movements. Stream “Baldwin” below check out more of Senolia’s work here.