Music has, in some form or another, always tried to evoke change in the world. Be it, on one hand, a simple dance song, or on the other, a performance of protest, music has consistently attempted to create something new. However, these latter songs (call them political pieces, protest songs, hippie music, or whatever you wish), are usually scattered across an artist’s discography. That is that the music comes first, and the artist’s intent, or personal opinion comes second. Sometimes, however, an artist comes along whose purpose is change first, and music second. That man may be Chet Singh.
Chet’s latest release entitled ‘Diasporic Dub’, envokes the aesthetic of change through a sound collage of reggae, electronica, and a sort of spoken word style of lyrical. Dub music grew out of Reggae, and is considered a subgenre within the scope of Reggae music.
Chet takes this style of music, and plays with the looping, and funky reggae sounds to create an interesting mix of a more obscure music form with a progressive, and political approach to lyricism.
The single from the album, ‘Fascist State’, questions the political status of Canada through a menagerie of questions. “Is Canada becoming a Fascist State?” is the recurring questions. Criticism abounds, and statements of manipulation, paired with questions of autonomy are the theme of this piece. Paired with a simple drum track, whirring electronic rhythms, and a reggae refrain make this a representation of the underclass. The questions are those of contempt, and hatred of a society that brings so many people down, and is done in such a catchy, and rhythmic way that it is made accessible to all.
This imagery of political activism grows as the album progresses. The subject matter changes in places to commentary on environmental issues. Songs such as Rica state, “Everywhere I see a human stain”, and War states simply, “ Ice Caps Melting..” The continuous electronic snare, and the distanced, vibrant vocals makes a lot of the lyrics sound like a sample making the listener question who is actually speaking. Is it actually Chet or is it the voice of society?
Overall, Chet is attempting to accomplish a sort of rebellion, and commentary on society’s institutions, and the absurdity that is the society we live in. Rebellion is evoked through the spoken word lyricism, and this album evokes the voice of minority, and the underclass, and is accomplished by dark, and repetitious electronic beats, and Chet’s voice resounds in a powerful way.
The album’s intent is evident, but not in a way that attacks you. Chet’s music is powerful in that it says a lot, but at the same time, makes you dance, and bob your head. Intellectual thought paired with interesting music is something ambitious, and Chet nails it here. This is an important album, and is worth a listen, if not multiple.