Thuistezien 118 — 19.11.2020

Hendrik Hohlfeld
Arrest the Promoter

A bit like an angry – possibly overcontrolling – parent stomping their foot and asking their child to stop something which they know they can’t get them to stop, Hendrik Hohlfeld’s “Arrest the Promoter” turns Joe Biden’s 2001 demand for the arrest of an imaginary promoter of a rave into an intoxicating beat.

Replete with trippy visual patterns, it makes for an addictively enchanting listen that draws you in to its dark dance and has you bouncing in your chair. The distorted rumbling bass line also feels reminiscent of audio recorded on a phone at an incredibly loud party. Or it sounds like Biden is giving his speech just outside a loud club, while inevitably the dancing continues undeterred.
The piece’s lofi-tinged aesthetic is part of the charm of much of Hendrik Hohlfeld’s varied output, which ranges from building experimental electronic instruments, to moody pop songs, and to raw acoustic bedroom jam sessions which he turns into long and flowing field-recording-esque collages. It’s an honest and consciously unpolished sound that charges much of Hohlfeld’s music as it does in this piece.
And it is perfectly suited in revealing the raw audio clip of the now American president as he states in a 2001 Senate Hearing that raves should be criminalized on a local governmental level in the U.S.

On the one hand it brings up a question in many people’s minds after the last American elections: Trump is finally out, but what will Biden’s presidency actually look like? Based on some of Biden’s past positions, there are questions as to how far the new government will actually step away from some of the problematic – to say the least – policies and attitudes held by the Trump government. It also touches on the issue of governmental reach and how far a government should legislate before it becomes stifling to people’s lives – a question which is inevitably ignited by measures world-wide which aim to tackle the spread of Covid-19. And of course, the thorny issue of governmental approaches to drug use: which drugs does our society accept, should people be punished for using them, and in instances where drug use proves problematic how should governments manage the issue?

Spend some time jamming out to Hohlfeld’s groove. And then listen to it again because it is really catchy.

James Alexandropoulos - McEwan