Listen up! Poet and artist Jon-Michael Frank has a new album out with Black Cake: Diana Ross & The Supremes. It’s an insane and exuberant mash-up of JMF’s poems and Diana Ross & The Supremes’ songs. Listen here now.
It’s a calculated juxtaposition that underscores an aspect of Diana Ross and the Supremes’ songs that I am not sure we even hear anymore. As JMF put it in an email to Ohio:
During adolescence, I remember watching a group of girls dance to “Baby Love” in music class. I fell in love with every one of them. Their bodies were like new worlds to me. I grew up that way: on fantasy, and doowop/motown music. Then, when I was in my late teens, and separating from a woman I was living with somewhere deeply forgotten in upstate New York, I remember hearing those songs for the first time again and finding them so complicated and painful. They use longing almost as a vital sign, which makes me think of Joseph Joubert saying, “the punishment of those who have loved women too much is to love them forever.” I think that sentiment is at the crux of what Diana Ross was getting at in those old songs, and what I wanted to convey through some sort of restless endurance on the album I made with Ben Valdmets-Harris for Black Cake Records.
JMF works with Diana Ross & The Supremes in a way that is both respectful and not; revealing and not; mining and undermining.
In a recent interview, he qualified:
The thing I love most about music…is, quintessentially, there’s nothing human about it. It’s one of the few human products that isn’t made by/or in the image of humanity. It quite literally transcends us and our bullshit meddling of interjecting our own simian-sculpted perspective on the world, despite the fact that it is adapted to the utility of the human ear and is interpreted to resemble emotions in some shape or form. But on its own, it is capable of being a vacuum: the most privileged echelon any masterwork aspires to.
JMF’s art is here.
Find out more about Black Cake.