ALGIERS Release ‘Cleveland 20/20’ – a 50 Minute Re-Imagined Version Of Their 2017 Track

October 31, 2020


 Algiers have released ‘Cleveland 20/20′ a 50-minute expansion and re-imagining of their song ‘Cleveland’. 

In the original version – included on The Underside of Power (2017) – vocalist Franklin James Fisher used the track’s middle section to invoke the names of Black people killed by police or who died in extraordinarily suspicious circumstances and whose deaths were explained away as “suicide”.

‘Cleveland 20/20’ serves as a further meditation on the original in the context of the June uprisings and upcoming elections, ruminating on the tragic and perpetual violence exacted upon Black people in the United States.

It updates the recording to include the names of 232 additional victims who have been murdered subsequent to the song’s release as well as the victims of the Atlanta Child Murders which took place from 1979-1981. To accommodate the extension of this memorial, the song’s newly re-imagined middle section spirals into a multi-movement collage of rhythm, noise, and sub-bass.

Fisher concludes the recitation amid a spare and haunting 15-minute “vocal mix”

All together, ‘Cleveland 20/20’ clocks in at just under an hour. Even with this extended memorial sonic space, the song points to the fact that many more people have been and continue to be killed by police or white supremacist citizens in America than can be said in 50 minutes or recognized in official statistics, including Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and scores others murdered at the intersections of race, gender and class.

In 2018, critic Greil Marcus praised the original version of ‘Cleveland’ as a “monument”. “It has that size and that immovability to it. And these names are being chiseled on that monument. And the community that Algiers are creating in this song is a community of the dead, but a community in a song big enough and good enough – because this is a great song when you listen to all of it –- that in 10 or 20 or even 100 years when all of the people whose names Franklin Fisher chants are forgotten, and when Algiers is forgotten, and when this song is forgotten, and when somebody comes upon it, stumbles upon it and speaks to them as something absolutely new … they begin to go ‘Who are these people? What is this sound? Why does this person sound the way he does? What is being told?’. And that story will continue.”

Algiers’ third full-length effort There Is No Year was released in January on Matador Records and was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, including The New York TimesThe GuardianAfropunkDIY and more, and saw the band making their TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in February where they performed standout single ‘Dispossession‘.

The band will once again take over Adult Swim’s Instagram account on Tuesday, November 10th at 7pm GMT.

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