Since 2016, US-based podcast series Dissect have been doing exactly what the title suggests: profiling albums from the modern era and looking at the stories behind their creation, their cultural significance, and their legacies.
Now, in a long overdue move from the streaming giant, it has its UK counterpart: Decode. The new series will hit Spotify on April 22, with Zambian-British poet, author and academic Kayo Chingonyi as host, and the first album on their agenda is Dave’s Psychodrama.
For the inaugural episode, they’ll look at how the album ties into modern discussions of race as well as the historical experiences of the Black British diaspora and how it all connects with the events of the past 18 months.
“To me, the album connects with Britain’s long history of colonialism and in particular the effects of this on Black people, specifically, and immigrants to the UK more generally,” Chingonyi says. “The ways that institutions treat people. I feel like there’s a deep connection between this album and those issues. The renewed questions that people have been asking of institutions like the police force in the last few years are the questions Dave is wrestling with on this album.”
Speaking more generally about his background as an author and poet, and how that informs the way he considers albums like Psychodrama, Chingonyi adds: “As someone who specialises in the space where poetry meets music, I knew there were some poetic techniques in Dave’s work, but I didn’t fully understand how central a role poetics and narrative play in his writing.
“On these tracks, the story, and the way Dave tells it, is as or sometimes more important than the instrumentation. I feel like Decode offers an insight into how Dave’s kind of lyricism works on an album like Psychodrama because we talk about how skilful he is with words not just to tell a story but as a way of revelling in the musicality of language for its own sake… It was fun to talk about those poetic flourishes and how, in a very intentional way, Dave fashions a vivid portrait of life’s lowest lows and highest highs.”
The creative team behind Decode’s debut series includes Joby Waldman, Rob Fitzpatrick, Shara Rambarran, James McNally, Raymond Tannor, Axel Kacoutié, Rapsz Katai, Ami Bennett, Jack Howson and Complex UK’s Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson.
Episode 1 of Decode drops on April 22 via Spotify. Listen to the trailer below.