Pearz nod to current world events, Italian jazz, blaxploitation cinema and the cyclical and turbulent nature of our existence.
Words by Alexandra Dominica
The words of Angela Davis in 1972 boom through the speakers on this disenchanted dance track by Pearz fronted by former The Hacienda member and Tess Parks collaborator Francesco Perini. Taking influence from blaxploitation cinema of the 70s, Chicago house and a gorgeous thundering bassline from The Rolling Stones – Social Amnesia is as mesmerizing and mercurial as the sleepless nights from which it was inspired.
The blaxploitation influences are stark. The films were produced predominantly between 1972 and 1975, to name a few (Shaft 1971, Trick Baby 1972, Ganja and Hess 1973) its popularity owed to the wonderfully antithetical, combative and reflective writing that dually addressed, satirised and challenged conventional stereotypes. The films cross-reflected and highlighted the reality of cultural oppression in impoverished black communities.
Perini samples poignant lines from Davis which make up the core of the track, that which challenge the ignorant tunnel vision focus on violence in the course of revolution, opposed to the complexity that requires conscious intellectual focus. Regarding this Davis says, “When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence; without realizing that the real content of any kind of revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for – not in the way that you reach them.” Still, despite blaxploitation’s universal appeal with multiple audiences, it outraged and isolated viewers, critics and activist groups as much as it captivated them.
Perini adds, “Social Amnesia reflects the oddity of how we, as a society, make the same mistakes. We are always falling in the same loops because we want to forget our mistakes as quickly as possible, instead of facing them.” Davis’ words ring true as much in 1972 then as they do now in 2021.
Looking at the composition of Social Amnesia Perini marries synthesised strings that sound something of a cross between the FernGully (1992) soundtrack and the work of the godfather of house, Frankie Knuckles. Following the rousing but mystifying piano outro, the message is left within us to decipher. With a nod to current world events, Italian jazz, blaxploitation cinema and the cyclical and often turbulent nature of our existence, Pearz provides a thoughtful but subliminal sombre reprieve in encouraging rumination and inviting self reflection. In the words of Gil Scot Heron, the revolution will not be televised.