JJJJJerome Ellis Shares New Single/Video “Stepney” From Upcoming LP & Book

Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and poet JJJJJerome Ellis today shared “Stepney,” a new track and video from his forthcoming 2xLP and book The Clearing—a conceptual and musical tour de force that explores how stuttering, blackness, and music can be practices of refusal against hegemonic governance of time, speech, and encounter.

“Stepney” was “written as an offering to the ancestors,” says Ellis. The track begins with him vocalizing over a hip-hop beat with rumbling 808s and swirling processed saxophones. Then, Ellis sings the names of African-descended, fugitive enslaved persons (e.g. Stepney) who spoke with stutters or other speech impediments. Ellis encountered these names in newspaper archives of so-called “fugitive slave advertisements” from the 18th and 19th century. After this ceremonial invocation of ancestors, Ellis’ mentor and friend Milta Vega-Cardona reads an email she wrote to him in 2019: “I am moved to believe that your so-called stutter is a space where you transcend the limitations of lineal white-time. And how in the space of that holdtime you create a non-lineal time continuum, and access to the ancestors, both for you and the listener.” The track builds to a climax with arpeggiated synths, galloping hi-hats, and Ellis’ saxophone overdubbed in rising swells.

Find more information, read the full bio and preorder The Clearing here.

[Photo Credit: Marc J. Franklin]

JJJJJerome Ellis Announces 2xLP ‘The Clearing’ Out November 5

Today, New York based composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and poet JJJJJerome Ellis announces The Clearing, an ambitious and visionary double album releasing November 5th, 2021 via NNA Tapes, co-produced with the Poetry Project and released in tandem with a book published by Wendy’s SubwayThe Clearing is a conceptual and musical tour de force that combines Jazz with the narratives of enslaved Africans, experimental electronics with historical accounts of Black rebellion. The album centers speech but uses it as a starting point to not only depathologize dysfluent speech but to build new tools to critique anti-Blackness, linear time, culture, and power in our society.

Loops of Retreat“, the lead album preview out today and the first track on The Clearing, opens with processed saxophones leading us into a kind of sonic forest: dense, mysterious, and dynamic. Over the soundscape, Ellis speaks: “My thesis is that blackness, dysfluency [i.e. stuttering and other forms of disabled or non-normative speech], and music are forces that open time.” As Ellis reads, the forest grows into the pauses in his stuttered speech. A trap-inspired beat with stuttering hi-hats, crisp snares, and beefy kicks gradually builds as we move deeper into the forest. The track’s title references the “loophole of retreat” Harriet Jacobs describes in her book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. On this track, and on the album as a whole, Ellis suggests that the looping sounds of Black music, and the looping syllables and silences of the Black stutterer, resist linear time and offer new ways of being. The track ends with fire running through the forest, clearing ground for further growth.

JJJJJerome Ellis is a blk disabled animal, stutterer, and artist. Through music, literature, performance, and video, he explores blkness, disabled speech, and music as forces of refusal, possibility, reparation, and healing. His diverse body of work includes contemplative soundscapes using saxophone, flute, dulcimer, electronics, and vocals; scores for plays and podcasts; albums combining spoken word with ambient and jazz textures; theatrical explorations involving live music and storytelling; and music-video-poems that seek to transfigure historical archives. JJJJJerome’s solo and collaborative work has been presented by Lincoln Center, The Poetry Project, and ISSUE Project Room (New York); MASS MoCA (North Adams, Massachusetts); REDCAT (Los Angeles); Arraymusic (Toronto); and the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), among others. His work has been covered by This American Life, Artforum, Black Enso, and Christian Science Monitor.

Find more information and preorder The Clearing here.

 

Introducing: JJJJJerome Ellis

We are beyond excited, at NNA, to announce our newest signing: composer, poet, and performer JJJJJerome Ellis.

Ellis, today, continues his pre-pandemic practice of giving live sound baths and his ongoing investigation into forms of “infinite music” with the release of “Fountain #3” — his latest piece of perpetual music.

Following “Fountain #2” (which premiered exclusively on the ISSUE Project Room website for 24 hours a day as part of his 2021 ISSUE Residency), Ellis invites listeners to visit the fountain as often as they want, for as long as they want, and he encourages them to use the music to accompany the rhythms of their lives.

JJJJJerome Ellis’ current practice explores blackness, music, and disabled speech as forces of refusal and healing. Ellis’s work has been heard at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Poetry Project, Sotheby’s, Soho Rep, and on This American Life. He’s a 2019 MacDowell Fellow, a writer in residence at Lincoln Center Theater, and a 2015 Fulbright Fellow.

Select Press
Time BanditThis American Life
Fountain #2WNYC New Sounds
“Episode 3: JJJJJerome Ellis” Black Enso Podcast
“Episode 5: It’s About Time” Christian Science Monitor
“FEELING GOOD: Howard Fishman on Jerome Ellis” Artforum
Review: Staging a Movie Melodrama in ‘The Conversationalists’Vulture
Review: Staging a Movie Melodrama in ‘The Conversationalists’New York Times

Links
jjjjjerome.com/about
twitter.com/jeromeellis
instagram.com/ellisjerome
jeromeellis.bandcamp.com/fountain-3
nnatapes.com/jjjjjerome-ellis

JJJJJerome Ellis

JJJJJerome Ellis is a blk disabled animal, stutterer, and artist. Through music, literature, performance, and video, he explores blkness, disabled speech, and music as forces of refusal, possibility, reparation, and healing. His diverse body of work includes contemplative soundscapes using saxophone, flute, dulcimer, electronics, and vocals; scores for plays and podcasts; albums combining spoken word with ambient and jazz textures; theatrical explorations involving live music and storytelling; and music-video-poems that seek to transfigure historical archives. JJJJJerome’s solo and collaborative work has been presented by Lincoln Center, The Poetry Project, and ISSUE Project Room (New York); MASS MoCA (North Adams, Massachusetts); REDCAT (Los Angeles); Arraymusic (Toronto); and the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), among others. His work has been covered by This American Life, Artforum, Black Enso, and Christian Science Monitor.

On November 5, JJJJJerome Ellis will release his new album The Clearing—an ambitious and visionary double LPco-produced by NNA Tapes & the Poetry Project, and released in tandem with a book published by Wendy’s SubwayThe Clearing is a conceptual and musical tour de force that combines Jazz with the narratives of enslaved Africans, experimental electronics with historical accounts of Black rebellion. The album centers speech but uses it as a starting point to not only depathologize dysfluent speech but to build new tools to critique anti-Blackness, linear time, culture, and power in our society.

Learn more about The Clearing, and pre-order the album on Standard Black Vinyl, Limited Edition Clear Vinyl, and as part of a Bundle including a book published by Wendy’s Subwayat this link.

jjjjjerome.com/about
twitter.com/jeromeellis
instagram.com/ellisjerome

Select Press
Time Bandit” This American Life
Fountain #2” WNYC New Sounds
“Episode 3: JJJJJerome Ellis” Black Enso Podcast
“Episode 5: It’s About Time” Christian Science Monitor
“FEELING GOOD: Howard Fishman on Jerome Ellis” Artforum
Review: Staging a Movie Melodrama in ‘The Conversationalists’” Vulture
Review: Staging a Movie Melodrama in ‘The Conversationalists’” New York Times