Saul Williams – “Horn Of The Clock-Bike” (Stereogum Premiere)

Saul Williams has always been one of the hardest-to-define artists in music, partially because of his fondness for skirting genre conventions and partially because of the way his creation spills into other disciplines. Case in point: Williams is releasing a poetry book called US (a.) today, his first since 2006’s The Dead Emcee Scrolls. It’s a set of reflections on America and what it means to be American that Williams wrote after returning from four years abroad. He’s also sharing a new song from his upcoming album MartyrLoserKing to accompany the book release today. “Horn Of The Clock-Bike” is eerie and minimal, Williams spinning cryptic lyrics under his breath against a haunting piano arpeggio: “Smile of the victor/ Child of the prisoners/ Statues of martyrs/ Hackers as artists.” Eventually he raises his voice for the tense chorus, a study in subtly increased tension that bears the influence of frequent Williams collaborator Trent Reznor. Williams submitted this excerpt from US (a.) to go along with the song:

“Look how they treat us.”

…whispers the innocent sister. Her life barely missed her. Then Patience approached and he kissed her. Love’s like a transistor. Feelings have features. Innocent creatures distort what love teaches. Trade scriptures for preachers, communion for leeches. Earth’s mountainous speakers bombard and boom beat us. On guard to defeat us. You hate us. You need us. You are us. You reek us. The Martyrs and Seekers, sow questions and reap us. More grime than grim reapers. Designer diseases resolved to repeat us. You kill us. You eat us. You grow corn to feed us. You crowd us. You beat us. You crave us. You need us. You slaughter and bleed us. You tax us, harass us, pray, and then eat us. You slay us and feed us, from POTUS to penis, the aborted fetus, the corpses, the meat, us. Make sausage of Jesus. The law says to bleed us. We embody greed, lust. The wrong shepherds lead us.

Listen below, where you can also find Williams’ tour dates. In many cities, he’s doing readings at book stores followed by concerts at music venues.

Tour dates:

09/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Fringe Festival **
09/16 Brooklyn, NY @ Powerhouse Arena #
09/19 & 20 Oakdale, CA @ Symbiosis Festival *
09/21 Las Vegas, NV @ Barnes & Noble #
09/21 Las Vegas, NV @ SLS Sayers Club *
09/22 & 23 Oakland, CA @ Matatu Film Festival *
09/24 Seattle, WV @ Town Hall #
09/25 Los Angeles, CA @ The Lyric Theatre *
09/29 Columbus, OH @ Barnes & Noble at OSU Bookstore #
09/29 Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe *
09/30 Chicago, IL @ The Book Cellar #
09/30 Chicago, IL @ The Promontory *
10/01 Kent, OH @ The Kent Stage *
10/03 Atlanta, GA @ AFROPUNK Fest **
10/04 Nashville, TN @ Exit / In *
10/04 Nashville, TN @ Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt #

* Spoken Word performance
** Full band performance
# US (a.) Book Signing