Annette Peacock - "Sky-skating" (1982)

by Imran Khan

28 January 2013

The jazz world's most peculiar inhabitant has made some of the most profound music that has served to recontruct both the borders of rock and jazz -- and our ideas of how music can evolve and be defined.
 

Annette Peacock was an anomaly to begin with. From the start of her career, the artist took a conceptualized approach to her music so extreme she was left marginalized on the outskirts of an otherwise thriving musical culture. It wasn’t such a bad place to be as Peacock often took stock from an observational distance, pulling from the necessary influences of popular music that would help to ground her in the public’s conscience and, yet, still allow her to indulge in the more personal explorations of her multi-layered art. One of the very first artists to experiment with the Moog, a groundbreaking piece of technology that helped to give birth to electronic music, the artist created soundscapes that were unheard of. True to her name, Peacock was an odd bird.
  
Her choice of musical expression was jazz and its open, improvisational nature would free her from the constrictive structure of the pop/rock format. Musically, Peacock aimed at both the feet and the heart in a bid to move the listeners with cosmic grooves whilst taking them on a surreal, emotional journey that would explore the concaves of poetic nuance.

Known mostly in jazz circles, Peacock has often sought inspiration outside the perimeters of jazz, borrowing from hip-hop, blues, electronica and rock in a constant effort to reconceptualize her art again and again with each passing generation. If Peacock is the first to arrive on the burgeoning scene of musical invention, then she is also the first to leave, never fully satisfied with merely championing newfound ground than she is in exploring musical horizons that lie just beyond the banks of our collective imagination.

From the blustery head-storm of I’m the One to the warm, sensuous pull of 31:31, Peacock’s music is full of intrigue and mystery, each work revealing labyrinthine surprises that are as unnerving as they are erotic.

Sample this track, here, from her impressive 1982 release, Sky-skating, an album that expanded upon the artist’s love of electronic music and boldly explored musical terrain few artists at the time dared to go.  The album’s title-track is an airy affair of cool, billowing atmosphere and clever wordplay.  In the farthest reaches of the song you can hear the faint murmurs of jazz as the electronic elements take centre stage.

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