DeForrest Brown, Jr. is an outspoken theorist, journalist, curator, visual artist and musician. He often collaborates with his partner Ting Ding, a visual designer/statistical analyst who co-runs the sustainable gender-flexible apparel line HECHA / 做.
Raised in the deep South, DeForrest moved to New York seven years ago and has been shaking things up IRL and online ever since. He asks difficult questions that make us reconsider how we think about race, class, historical events and social/economic structures in America. His work defies narrow definitions. He’s a unique cultural polygot who was the inaugural Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at ISSUE Project Room, booking artists like Felicia Atkinson and Quantum Natives. When he’s not presenting audiovisual works in esteemed art contexts, he’s in the streets representing the “Make Techno Black Again” hat and campaign.
His music project Speaker Music was inspired by Rhythmanalysis, a book of essays by urbanist philosopher Henri Lefebvre as well as considerations of vibe, momentum and the “chronopolitical” in Black music as defined by British cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun. Speaker Music mobilizes freely improvised electronic percussion and stereophonic audio recordings. Speaker Music yearns to caress, engineer and sculpt sentiment into a multi-textural rhythmic body, quivering moments into a collapsed “nonpulsed time.”
His debut for Planet Mu centers around gestural sonic portraitures of sonorous and cybernetic ensemble energy music. of desire, longing is a time-based release meant to fill both sides of the vinyl completely, working against the quick turnover rate of the current track-based standard of the streaming economy. Through his empathetic “touching of frequencies,” DeForrest unveils a romantic abstraction of sonic narratives that recalls previous innovations by electronic and jazz musicians such as Les McCann, Urban Tribe and James Stinson. of desire, longing encodes the listener with an encrypted heat, made “with empathy” and “without excess.”