'Forever / Better Man'
Series: 'The Sessions'
‘You never walk down the same street twice. If our experience changes why shouldn’t music?’
Ever-shifting environments, constantly (r)evolving juxtapositions of experience, are recurring themes in much of Chisara Agor’s art. It’s a fitting focus for her expansive, multidisciplinary practice, which originates in part from her creative education at a local theatre. From a young age, Agor learned to act, sing, play, dance and write simultaneously (not to mention her extensive visual output). The storytelling and theatrical elements present in ‘Forever’ and ‘Better Man’, two cuts from forthcoming EP Shadows and Searchlights, should thus come as no surprise.
Where else does this diversity of expression come from? As in Agor’s musical-in-development, The Garden, it reflects an aspect of London: a physical and virtual environment where, at any moment, millions of individual and collective self-expressions are escaping, mingling, jostling in the air – like clashing music on the street, elbowing for space to be heard, existing at once individually and as a diverse whole.‘Forever’ and ‘Better Man’ perfectly capture both this diverse sound and a very current conflict between individual and collective identity.
Agor’s mercurial voice joins together a seamless melting-pot of sounds; West African percussion, jazz, hip hop, bossa nova, indie rock, easy listening and dub-inspired elements surface, all sumptuously produced by Agor and Ebi Soda’s VVilhelm. Agor’s voice cycles through percussive mantras of breath and spoken word, delicate falsetto, and rallying refrains; first isolated, then joined by a unified chorus or lush harmonies.
Narratively too, ‘Forever’ and ‘Better Man’ seem to voice the city’s battling internal monologues – speaking respectively to the urgency of collective action and the necessity of individualism for survival. ‘Forever’ takes an isolated, fatalistic voice and raises it with a powerful chorus, challenging systems of suppression and calling others to join the history of black movements. On the other hand, ‘Better Man’ speaks sympathetically to the exhaustion of life amidst London’s imbalances. The desire to do what’s right is shaded by the reality that a degree of self-interest is unavoidable: ‘I am no better man/I don’t have change like the rest of them’.
These two tracks embody Agor’s gifts for empathy, storytelling and bringing to light the current interplay between the personal and political in London. ‘Forever’ and ‘Better Man’ point to an exciting label debut, with Shadows and Searchlights released in full on IXCHEL this summer.
- Wordplay Mag
Forever & Better Man written by Chisara Agor.
Vocals, Guitar, Ukulele - Chisara Agor
Drums - Cameron Morrell
Percussion - Joshua Nyahsimba
Bass - Robin G Breeze
Guitar - Morgan Rickman
Keys - William Hobson
Saxophone - Jonathan Poole
Trombone - VVilhelm
Recorded at Start Small Studios London.
Mastered by James Cruz at Zeitgiest Sound Studios
With special thanks to all the wonderful people who contributed to the virtual choir.
© + ℗ IXCHEL Collective 2021
Presented by Charlie Jungle.
Produced by VVilhelm & Chisara Agor.
Shot by Seb JJ Peters.
Inked by Sophie Bass.
Worded by Leo Donlan.
Styled by Camilla Lønbirk & Jano Jonas Liefhold.
Engineered by Max Anstruther.
Realised by Ella Preda.
Executed by Kenny Vaughan.
Hyped by April Edgar.