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Cameron Lui

Cameron is a correspondent from Cannes and other festivals around the world. He is our 2019 Sundance correspondent. You can follow his Sundance coverage on Twitter @sundanceblogger.


Kamasi Washington speaks on his short film submission "As Told to G/D Thyself" - Interview/Review


I had the pleasure of speaking with Kamasi Washington before the premiere screening of his short film entry, As Told to G/D Thyself. The film is essentially a narrative music video hybrid that takes place over select song's from his newest album Heaven and Earth. If you aren't already familiar with Kamasi Washington's catalog, you should start to learn today. He is one of the premier musicians of this generation, an absolute master of the Jazz form, and highly regarded amongst the best musicians in the game. Give a listen to The Epic and his newest album Heaven and Earth, I promise you will be enthralled. For rap fans out there, he played a big role in assisting Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. Which, in my opinion, that album is one of the best rap albums ever made and it just wouldn't be the same without him. 

"As Told to G/D Thyself," is a visual step forward for Kamasi. Don't get me wrong, his previous videos are quite profound in their own right. He has a piece titled Harmony of Difference that when I first saw it blew me away. It had a maturity and thematic energy that solidified my admiration. However, he has recently formed a sort of cinematic supergroup which has seemingly taken his already powerful aesthetic to an entirely new realm. The Ummah Chroma, as he explains in the interview below, is his newly formed production team. Each brings to the table unique skill sets that together form one visual hive mind. The group consists of Bradford Young, Terrence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas and of course Kamasi Washington. 

His newest piece is refined, it has a diverse color palette that shifts with Kamasi's tonal changes musically. There is a myriad of motif's that Kamasi assures are meant to subjectively affect each viewer uniquely. They use vivid symbolatry leaving the audience pondering what their projection's mean about their own spirit. The piece flows from scene to scene, with stark shifts of tone and theme with every new setting. My words could not begin to explain what happens frame to frame. The piece is twenty minutes of masterful cinematography, creating a surreal sense of amazement while telling a tightly structured story of the common human struggle and journey of personal spirit. 

I really don't want to give anything away so you will have to check out the video when it drops in the Spring. I will follow up with an article when the date is released. For now, enjoy the interview below, Kamasi opens up about the piece and there is a lot of thought-provoking information in it. Enjoy!

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