Heinali and Matt Finney: Intercontinental Inconsequentiality

The spoken word teamed with music connects with the listener in a different way. I don’t know why. I’m not even really sure what that difference is.

But anyone who has listened to Dead Flag Blues by Godspeed You! Black Emperor will have a remote and lonely part of their mind forever altered in testimony to the song’s agonising strength.

Matt Finney has been on ANBAD before, as part of the now-defunct Finneyerkes. He’s a musician and poet, and somehow, by sinister means unknown, met a Ukranian musical polymath called Heinali and began collaborating. Heinali makes the music, Matt speaks. Simple.

The words phases in/out, snippets of an intimate phone call from the apocalypse; all picked up via some huge, unwieldy Soviet-era radio transmitter. The sounds in Lemonade necessarily drone, wane and pulse; the song reeks of a crumbled world, ruined promises and failed attempts.

Upbeat it is not, but there are flickering vestiges of warmth and humanity – perhaps that’s all that’s left when everything else is pared back – and the song certainly possesses its own peculiar beauty.

The Ukraine is, sadly, immediately, connected in the minds of many with Chernobyl. And now the radiation has subsided a little, the bold tourist can now tentatively creep around the abandoned towns in the immediate vicinity. They witness a world suddenly fled: tables overturned, textbooks left opened, church doors flung wide.

This is the music that they will hear playing from the radios left on.


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