Music

Mark Stewart & The Maffia Celebrate Reissue of Seminal LP Via "Liberty City" (premiere)

Photo: Beezer / Courtesy of Mute Records

Ex-Pop Group man Mark Stewart returns with a reissue of his 1983 debut album with a wealth of bonus cuts and a reminder that the avant-garde never sleeps.

Released in 1983, Learning to Cope With Cowardice, was the groundbreaking debut solo album from Mark Stewart (ex-the Pop Group). The LP will see a reissue on 25 January 2019 via Mute. To celebrate the record's reemergence, Stewart delivers a video for the track "Liberty City" (recorded with the Maffia) in collaboration with choreographer Mehmet Sander whose avant-garde, action architecture approach to dance is as singular as the musical one of his collaborator. The tune is visualized by a troupe of dancers who mirror "Liberty City's" sinewy musical maneuvers with remarkable creativity and energy.

Inspired by the writings of philosopher/social theorist Michel Foucault, Stewart had this to say about the musical/visual collaboration between him and Sander. "Mehmet and I are keen collaborators reimagining zones for performing bodies," he notes. "In this piece, we take the principles of total physical and audio liberation to its endgame, even if we arrive at that point through the means of excess and overload. Classical readings of dance purport that all movement is made in relation to form. What Foucault pointed out was that the production of the 'subject', which both Mehmet and I believe is crucial in this age of discipline, punishment, and negative entropy, is, in fact, our 'carceral archipelago.'"

In different terms, Stewart and his collaborators have created something that loving embodies the strange, the alien, the outré. The music is as present and prescient now as it was all those years ago, the visuals a stunning glimpse into the mind of two brilliant creators whose thirst for the new remains unslaked.

The reissue of Learning to Cope With Cowardice arrives with The Lost Tapes, a collection of 10 previously unreleased tracks. The reissue (and companion) will be available on double vinyl, double CD and as a limited edition double clear vinyl (a percentage of sales from that will be donated to the Mercy Ships charity). The release may be ordered here.

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