Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Fun^Da^Mental Release in Trouble?

The new release from Fun^Da^Mental, All Is War: The Benefits of G-had, from Nation Records, is due to drop on July 17. But according to an announcement from Nation on June 20, the album "has caused the directors of Nation Records to offer their resignations in the event the album is released through Nation Records. Martin Mills and Andrew Heath (Beggars Banquet Group [Nation's "parent" company]) both have expressed their concern and fear in the event they are linked to the many provocative and controversial elements of the album." According to Fun^Da^Mental's "leader," Aki Nawaz, "The album is challenging the notion of freedom of speech and creative dissent especially in current times and my background gives me the perfect platform to express the issues from a [personal] point of view and not from a mainstream imposed, misguided, patriotic perspective. I have the right equally and without condition as others to expose the hypocrisy and contradictions of democracy, [being] a Muslim does not mean I have to subservient, loyal or silent to the State or any of its illegal activities against any peoples, anywhere around the world."

Aki wrote to me awhile back saying he was worried he might be jailed for putting out this album. It's not clear exactly what is going to happen, the last post (June 21) on the Fun^Da^Mental website tells us that more news will appear real soon. I will keep looking. The site also offers a "manifesto" on All Is War, including what I take to be descriptions of all the songs. "Che Bin Pt 2 ant PT 1" is described as a "discussion on resistance and terrorism, word by word by Che Guevara and Osama Bin Laden. What makes the two men different? What makes one a symbol of resistance and the other a terrorist? What do they have, if anything, in common?"

So, All Is War promises--assuming it actually comes out--to be Fun^Da^Mental's most provocative release ever. Inshallah I'll get one in the mail when it's released, and I hope to write up a report soon thereafter.

Nation Records is responsible for releasing loads of great music, mostly in the vein of what has been termed the "Asian Underground" (although Aki describes what Fun^Da^Mental do as "global chaos"). Among the artists it has released (some of whom have since moved on to bigger labels): Natacha Atlas, Tranglobal Underground, Loop Guru, Asian Dub Foundation, TJ Rehmi...

The t-shirt pictured here is also courtesy of Fun^Da^Mental.


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