Yoko Ono, now 80 years of age, has been busy. The past year has seen her To The Light show at the Serpentine, her retrospective Half-A-Room in Frankfurt, her book, Acorn, her curation of this year’s Meltdown and her opening performance there, and now her new record, Take Me To The Land Of Hell, produced by Yoko, her son Sean Lennon, and Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda. Billed once again as Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, this iteration sees contributions from Cornelius and Cibo Matto, tUnEyArDs, Questlove, Nels Cline and Andrew Wyatt. Her music continues to aim itself at what she calls “the society”: the global war machine, the political consensus on suffering, the difficulty of change. “We, the expendable people of the United States, ask to stop the violence, stop all wars,” she intones in ‘Cheshire Cat Cry’, before unleashing a howl of need and demand so gigantic it draws tears.

In conversation as in her work, she permits herself to make mistakes, to contradict herself, and to enjoy both. Grounded in the neo-Dadaist political techniques of the Fluxus movement, and with life experience of gigantic, tectonic loss – her family, her daughter, her husbands, who, she confesses in ‘Moonbeams’, the album’s opening track, “both left me housebound” – Ono has arrived at a moment of trust in herself. Though often accused of naivety or whimsy, hers is a confidence founded, she argues, in work, experience and difficulty rather than instinct. The distinction is important: while so many are dismissive about her, hateful towards her, her best response is her radical state of openness, her refusal to repeat herself. How ridiculous, she implies, to hate something that keeps changing, keeps moving – something that’s already next, already gone.

Read the full piece at The Quietus.

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