Daniel Talsky, who performs under the name Anvil Esquire, writes and records outsider hip-hop songs. His work brings vocal samples from far-reaching genres into hip-hop in a lyrical play with the original source that slips between the earnest and the ironic.
On “What if the World Was Right,” Daniel takes up those tendencies and stages them as two voices deliberating over doubt—doubt surrounding ideas of success, maturity, and manliness and the fetish and farce of the modern alpha male. Daniel and the producer for this track, DJ Tasty, used pitch-shifting and other production tricks to create the alternating voice for the dual character.
The piece finds its title and refrain from modern folk musician Sean Rowe’s 2009 song, “Time to Think,” which provides dark, soulful tones in both the original and Anvil Esquire’s track.
Photographer and founding director of the Satellite Collective, Lora Robertson has visualized this dilemma in a new work created specifically for the song “What if the World Was Right?” Lora’s work composes surreal tableaux of absurd and deeply meaningful objects, and then photographs them in a way that complicates expectations about photography and perspective. In this piece, Lora uses a child’s coat to evoke midlife nostalgia and anxieties of naiveté, skulls to represent urgency over a fight for survival, and a Buddhist wheel of life to double convey a roulette wheel in motion and the Buddhist idea of the wheel of samsara.
Daniel and Lora work together remotely between Brooklyn and Michigan by sharing music files electronically and shipping physical props in the mail. Both Lora and Daniel are students of Buddhist thought. This image and song is a part of an eventual larger work called Rap for People Who Don’t Like Rap.
You can listen to more of Anvil Esquire’s work at http://anvilesquire.com.
You can see more of Lora Robertson’s work at http://lorarobertson.com.