Locks & BME’s new album NOW was created in the final throes of Summer 2020, following months of pandemic-induced fear & isolation, the explosion of social unrest, struggle & violencein the streets, and as the certain presence of a new reality had fully settled in. Set up safely inthe garden behind Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio, the music was recorded in only a fewtakes, capturing the first times members of BME had ever played or sang the tunes. For Locks,the impetus was more about getting together to commune and make art than it was aboutproducing an album. In his words: “It was about offering a new thought. It was about resisting thedarkness. It was about expressing possibility. It was about asking the question, ‘Since the futurehas unfolded and taken a new and dangerous shape... what happens NOW?’”
Originally conceived as a medium for Chicago-based multi-media artist/activist Damon Locks’s sample-based sound collage work, Black Monument Ensemble (BME) has evolved from a solo mission into a vibrant collective of artists, musicians, singers, and dancers making work with common goals of joy, compassion, and intention. A genuinely multi-generational collective, ages of BME members range from 9 to 52 years old; members include instrumentalists and fellow IARC recording artists Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay.