A new trailer for ‘Icon Eye’, the documentary film of Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras’s trip to Jamaica to record an album with The Congos, is now up online. You can watch it below.
The film is released with the album, ‘Icon Give Thank’, which will be released on April 9th.
For the ninth volume of FRKWYS, an RVNG-curated music and film series pairing contemporary artists with those that may have preceded them in style and / or approach, Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras meet legendary dub reggae group The Congos in St. Catherine, Jamaica. The result is a full-length album, ICON GIVE THANK. RVNG will also release ICON EYE, a feature film documenting the young musicians’ time spent living and learning The Congos way.
With hindsight, the FRKWYS Vol. 9 timeline takes on dream-like qualities. In a matter of months, the idea for the collaboration was divinely inspired : The Congos reassembled in their original formation, while Cameron Stallones (aka Sun Araw) and Gengras, alongside filmmakers Tony Lowe and Sam Fleischner, travelled to St. Catherine, Jamaica (45 minutes from Kingston) for ten days to undertake the unknown.
What events would transpire in the Portmore neighborhood of St. Catherine can only be described as blessed. The gates opened wide and warmly, the musicians and filmmakers ate, slept, and smoked at The Congos headquarters, their mural-emblazoned studio, home, and spiritual compound. An environment steeped in the Ital lifestyle. Rastafarian reflection and meditation, and a rich community bubbling with musical energy, both young and old artist would learn an unspoken creative language.
Having recorded some loose musical themes in LA to help inspire the creative process, Stallones and Gengras could only count on the shared respect for the sacrament of music to guide their work with The Congos. This respect is the foundation upon which the record is built.
ICON GIVE THANK is not a dub reggae album, though it shares some of the genre’s production characteristics. Rather, it’s an album of Stallones and Gengras’s melodically experimental meditations ornamented with The Congos’ soulful vocal leads and four-part harmonies. The four kings of the The Congos share the vocal throne over the course of GIVE THANK. Johnson’s tenor, Myton’s falsetto, Burnett’s baritone, and Fyffe’s cosmic vocal glue command singularity and create an essence combined.
ICON EYE is the visual companion to the musical fruit of GIVE THANK : a feature-length travelogue executively produced by Christine Vachon (Killer Films) and Randall Poster and Gelya Robb of Search Party Music. Shot by Lowe and Fleischner, ICON EYE evokes a musical and cultural intersection through refracted atmospheres and a feeling of magical, rhythmic synchronicity. ICON EYE shares dubbed-out editing techniques inherent in the reggae sub-genre, rendering a visual “version” of the album.
Through the diaristic yet cinematic lens of handheld HD cameras, secret moments from the studio, fishing villages, late night dances, abandoned hotels and The Congos’ yard are blended into a strange tapestry. Musicians, computers, children, and food reveal mystical resonance.
ICON EYE is the first RVNG Intl. film production. Lowe and Fleischner previously collaborated on Below the Brain.