“ESTHERS ARRESTERS” BY BLINDING STANDSTILL
As a result of frequent boil water advisory calls from the City of Asheville, drummer/producer Dave Hamilton became familiar with the phone number. He got the idea to sample the greeting “This is a message from the City of Asheville” to use in a future project. One day, as he was playing drums through effects, he got a call from that number, so he put the phone on speaker and hit record on a recent tracking session. “I did not expect Esther’s message,” he admits of Mayor Manheimer’s recorded statement announcing a curfew for Asheville following two nights of protests that allegedly led to property damage.
Multi-instrumentalist Danny Harvey pointed out that a track Hamilton had been working on with guitarist Blais Bellenoit would make a good protest song, with the addition of a hip-hop bass line. Harvey added that bass part and Evan Ackerman contributed haunting slide guitar. “I chose to put the Esther Manheimer sample in, chop it up, and move it around so, when she spoke, it would be on downbeats,” Hamilton says. “I was surprised by how perfectly it lined up with the tempo and feel of the track.”
Collaborator Alli Marshall suggested adding a video, so, “we debated topics of video subjects — it could go a wide variety of ways in a hot time,” Hamilton says. They settled on imagery of murals that were painted on boarded-up storefronts in downtown “as representation of the now.” Those works, created during the curfew, call for racial justice. The video offers bright, bold colors coupled with contrasting black and white imagery and “representations of the City of Asheville that don’t look like all the postcards,” Hamilton says.
Ultimately, “Esthers Arresters” is a document in sight and sound of one town and its residents during a tumultuous time. “A lot of people are strongly thinking and strongly believing right now, and the idea of imposing my thoughts or belief system on someone else didn’t resonate,” says Hamilton. “The idea of time stamping the moment felt much more prudent and potent.”
Dave Hamilton, Alli Marshall, Danny Harvey, Evan Ackerman and Blais Bellenoit.