Public Domain is the brainchild of pianist and producer Ray Angry and artist/writer Katherine McMahon. From what I’ve gathered, the group wants to make a statement about the commodification of creative content, start a discussion about media consumption and recontextualize older songs in the public domain to tell new stories. If you’re looking for a “what does this sound like,” it’s sort of what I did with the Baltimore Commercial Break series. However, it’s done in a way that’s more commentary on modern society as a whole versus just one portion of it (in my case, Baltimore).
This is how we get to “#AlcoholicBlues,” named for/based on the Prohibition song of the same name.
Now, anyone who’s studied American history knows that Prohibition was a wild time. Alcohol was considered illegal and taboo, only to be consumed in speakeasies around promiscuity and violence. It was an assault based a bit in (as most American “assaults” on things are) Puritanical thoughts on booze. Kill the alcohol use, kill the issues in the country is what some thought.
Public Domain’s take on the song delves deeply into our modern uses/misuses of alcohol. As someone who’s been on both sides of the alcohol debate–I was a teetotaler for years, drank like a frat boy for others and recently found a perfect blend of alcohol consumption and sobriety)–I was intrigued by this one. It discusses the relationship we have with alcohol now and combines it with the thoughts on alcohol from the early part of last century. When those two seemingly opposed ideas come together, we get a haunting look at alcohol consumption–one that may make you cut back if you are a heavy duty drinker. Even if you’re like me and enjoy a glass of wine or a tequila on the rocks, you may still find yourself thinking twice about that second drink.
Check out the song below and remember to support dope music in all its forms. It’s a beautiful, abstract work of art.