static clings

TBA 2011: The Radio Show

Kyle Abraham’s hit parade leaves space for provocative bursts of static.

By Anne Adams July 24, 2012

Stick your radio on “scan,” and you unleash a gamut of personal and universal emotions. Motown makes you swagger and smile, AM soft-rock leaves you longing for a lost lover. Hiphop hits inspire you to front, or get low, or get jiggy. Then the talk shows come on. Some caller makes a fool of herself, and you laugh. Some host makes a sexist remark, and you’re offended.

But between all that “something,” there is ever the static—the incomprehensible fuzz of nothingness that fills the crevices, and when it’s not carrying words and songs, it rasps unbound into the empty frequencies between the receivable stations.

When he’s not responding to the bursts of Top-40 and talk, Kyle Abraham wears the static with a trembling hand, a troubled brow, and a searching gaze that breaches the crowd’s comfortable detachment. And then, mercifully, the next frequency is found, and Abraham and his dancers bound back into action, shrugging the next song onto their soulful shoulders and manifesting its mood through their innovative choreography. But the naked urgency of the static isn’t easily suppressed. It resurfaces from time to time, adding challenging layers of anxiety and suspense to the Radio Show playlist.

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