ANOHNI—formerly known as Antony of Antony And The Johnsons—is going to have the best 2016. She’s releasing the long awaited new album Hopelessness and it is being heralded as a return to her work in dance music. This is very good news.
Even better news? The album is co-produced by Hudson Mohawke and—my boy—Oneohtrix Point Never. “Huh? / Yes. / Huh?,” I think. This is great, surprising news. A taste of the trio’s first work dropped yesterday by way of the single “4 Degrees” and it is a big, aggressive song that doesn’t ever pause to let you question it.
Let’s dive into it: the song isn’t about degrees of separation or acute angles but about temperature. It’s a protest scream in the face of climate change. The song is about how, at this time of year, it is only four degrees Celsius—39º Fahrenheit—which is a lot warmer than it should be right now. It’s about how all the pretty little animals and all our helpless natural surroundings are going to literally melt away as we sit in our comfortable lounges. “I want to burn them,” she repeats over and over, after lyrics that don’t rhyme and that come out in a sort of babble. “I want to see them boil,” she continues, enraged. She intentionally is not making sense, repeating herself, turning the song into a reflection of the fragmented, non-sensical state of the world. Obviously, the release of the song with the Paris climate summit was not lost on her.
As far as the production side of the song, it’s gently confrontational. It’s big on drums and big on ANOHNI’s exasperated warble. Hudson’s horns trumpet through the song which makes “4 Degrees” sound like a herald, a new Christmas decree that the world is fucked. Just like the pope said. 0PN’s hand doesn’t feel entirely present but HudMo and ANO are certainly up front with their intentions: they are in your face, emotional, and they want you to think as you make any move on this planet. “4 Degrees” is in keeping with contemporary super smart, emotional electronic music but goes a step above what her peers are doing by being so tightly political. This song is so necessary, even if only I will appreciate it. (Everyone I’ve shared the song with hates it. Waaaah.)
Listen to the song below. Think about how warm it is in winter. Shrug into our global meltdown as ANOHNI laments our fall.
Also! Catch another of the HudMo / ANO collab with the song “Indian Steps.” Same idea, save for the political baggage.