June 9, 2020 Talk – Action = Zero: A Compilation Benefitting Black Lives Matter (Album Review)
From the sitar to the classical guitar, music is a language that supersedes all differences and all cultures. It has the ability to tell a story for any listening ears and bring together people of all backgrounds. Therefore it is no surprise that some have sought out music as a way to bring attention and support to the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the millions that seek equality and justice in a world that often denies such things. In solidarity, Bank Robber Music and Rough Trade Publishing have created Talk – Action = Zero, a curated collection that arrived on Friday, June 5, 2020 exclusively via Bandcamp.
Created in a matter of a few days, Talk – Action = Zero brings together so many amazing voices and talent with all proceeds to benefit Black Visions Collective; a Black run organization based out of Minnesota that aims to develop the state’s emerging Black leadership, heal the Black community through justice, support the local LGBTQA community, as well as organize campaigns, and build movements. Composed of dozens of unreleased tracks, live recordings, and weighing in at a monumental 100 songs, the collection weaves a tale of pain, strength, and overcoming hardships.
Talk – Action = Zero opens with the uplifting, soulful track “Don’t Go Hiding Your Light” by Linda Kemp. The song flows with a teetering organ, jumping bass, and merrymaking keyboards. Kemp’s lush and unwavering vocals soar with every note as she ascends toward cherub-esque choruses. Switching it up, a song that awakens a lovely Alt Rock moment is “Just A Little Bit” by Tim Carman & The Street 45s. Here, dissonant notes swing through the air as a xylophone hops in the background, all amid charmingly soft lyrics that cast a spell.
Moving on, Artist Prism Tats awakens with distorted guitar and a humming synth in his track “White Men Get Away With Murder.” The multi-layered vocals pair beautifully with the scratchy edge to the instrumentation. Certainly the song’s message is blatantly obvious with lyrics such as, “None of us are living so long as some of us die.” Meanwhile, Courtney Jaye is brief with her airy flow in another frankly titled track, “Fuck This Fucking President.” Her voice is soft and luxuriant as she strums on an acoustic guitar, providing an important reminder to go and vote—that is, after spending a brief moment to adore her song.
Then LoneMoon breaks down with a flow all her own in “brainless.” A razor sharp rapper, she chooses her words and timing in such a way as to leave it all in the dust. Thus, the track has attitude yet it will leave listeners bopping and rapping along the whole way. Another switch of mood comes with Twin Rains’ “Strawberry Moon,” a hypnotic and dynamic track fueled by twirling, robotic synth at the hands of Jay Merrow and the airy, goddess-like vocals of Christine Stoesser. A fantasy land ride through Oz consisting of delicate classical guitar, smattering drums, and other fine-tuned details. Contrary to this, J. Laser builds an electronic paradise with the track “Machina,” where pieces of buzzing, dark hums and crashing waves of frequencies coalesce with the sexy ease of a honeyed voice.
In its simplest terms, Talk – Action = Zero sets out to bring tribute to the senseless and merciless deaths of black people that have been killed by police brutality. Through dozens of voices all joining together the compilation weaves an important and compelling tapestry, and artists such as Phantogram, Damon & Naomi, LoneMoon, and Rogue Wave all contribute enthralling and superb musical masterpieces. Each track is sublime in its offerings, giving something for every listener no matter their taste. Even better, it’s authored with justice and equality at the center of its heart. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Talk – Action = Zero 5 out of 5 stars.