Afrofuturism: The New Black Artist ................................................. various artists Album .................................................. Afrofuturism: The New Black Release Date ........................................... 10/06/2009 Year ................................................... 2009 Tracks ................................................. 27 Total Run Time ......................................... 2 hrs 11 mins Size ................................................... 202 mb Source ................................................. various MP3 01. Sun Ra and his Solar-Myth Arkestra "The Spinning are Satellites" (1971) 02. Parliament "Star Child (Mothership Connection)" (1975) 03. Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (1983) 04. Newcleus "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)" (1984) 05. Death Comet Crew with Rammellzee "Exterior Street" (1985) 06. Egyptian Lover "Egypt, Egypt" (1984) 07. Midnight Star "Freak-A-Zoid" (1983) 08. Herbie Hancock "Rockit" (1983) 09. Cybotron "Clear" (1983) 10. Jamie Principle "Your Love" (1985) 11. Fingers, Inc. "Can You Feel It?" (1985) 12. Drexciya "Wave Jumper" (1994) 13. Goldie feat. Diane Charlemagne "Inner City Life" (1995) 14. Tricky "Christiansands" (1996) 15. DJ Assault "Ghetto Shit" (2001) 16. Wu-Tang Clan & Funkstörung "Reunited (Reunixed by Funkstörung)" (1999) 17. Machine Drum "Wishbone Be Broken" (2001) 18. Ras G & the Afrikan Space Program "Intro" (2008) 19. Bola feat. Dennis Bourne "Mauver" (2000) 20. Shadow Huntaz "Deander" (2005) 21. Jello feat. Tegwen Roberts "O'Verb" (2002) 22. Dabrye feat. Jay Dee & Phat Kat "Game Over (Flying Lotus Remix)" (2007) 23. Lost Children of Babylon feat. Society Park & Luminous Flux "Heaven's Mirror" (2006) 24. Flying Lotus & Declaime feat Pattie Blingh "Whole Wide World" (2009) 25. Harmonic 313 feat. Steve Spacek "Falling Away" (2008) 26. Burial feat. Spaceape "Spaceape" (2006) 27. Kalbata feat. Clapper Priest "Solution" (2009) Total Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, 41 seconds.
"African-Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendants of alien abductees. They inhabit a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields of intolerance frustrate their movements; official histories undo what has been done tothem; and technology, be it branding, forced sterilization, the Tuskegee experiment, or tasers, is too often brought to bear on black bodies."Afrofuturism is an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of black people, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. Examples of seminal afrofuturistic works include the novels of Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler; the canvases of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the photography of Renee Cox; as well as the extraterrestrial mythos of Parliament-Funkadelic and Sun Ra, and the recombinant sonic texts of DJ Spooky.
Similar themes can also be found in the mythologies and cosmologies of the Rastafari movement, Nuwaubianism, the Nation of Islam and its offshoot the Nation of Gods and Earths (the Five Percenters), all of which have been influential to hip hop culture.
Personal mythologizing, ancient African civilizations (particularly Egyptian), space travel, UFOs, urban decay, dystopia and alienation, as well as the embrace of technology and the future are common themes in Afrofuturism, whether in the free jazz of Sun Ra, George Clinton's funk, dub, electro, house, techno, drum n bass, trip hop, ghetto tech, glitch hop or dubstep.
There is also a strong concern with the use of language, as found in Samuel R. Delaney's novel Babel-17, the Rastafari's invented vocabulary of Iyaric, the Supreme Alphabet of the Five Percenters, or the work of b-boy theoretician Rammellzee, whose theory of Gothic Futurism describes the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardizations enforced by the rules of the alphabet. His treatise, "Iconic Panzerisms", details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of language in society.
Mark Dery: Black to the Future
Sun Ra was born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama. His legal name is Le Sony'r Ra. Sun Ra's music ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians; his music touched on virtually the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing music, from bebop to free jazz; he was also a pioneer of electronic music, space music, and free improvisation, and was one of the first musicians, regardless of genre, to make extensive use of electronic keyboards.
Sun Ra's family was deeply religious but was not formally associated with any Christian church or sect. The Black Masonic Lodge was one of the few places in Birmingham where African-Americans had essentially unlimited access to books, and the Lodge's many books on Freemasonry and other esoteric concepts made a large impression on him.
In 1956 Sun Ra started to perform jazz concerts with his Arkestra using Egyptian and science fiction images. He was one of 1950s pioneer of synthezisers and electronic instruments. Ra also created the "Astro Black Mythology" as a context for his music and life with a thoroughly developed cosmology and he claimed to be not from this planet, but from Saturn - the planet that was associated with the color black in Old Egypt. For inspiration he looked at Egypt's civilization.
Claiming that he was of the "Angel Race" and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona of "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism as he preached awareness and peace above all.
The melody from this song also appears on the album A Black Mass which appeared in 1968 with Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), a radio horror play written by Baraka based on the Nation of Islam myth of the evil angel Yakub. According to the Nation of Islam (NOI), Yakub (also spelled Yacub or Yakob), was a scientist alive 6,600 years ago, responsible for creating the white race, a "race of devils". According to NOI doctrine, Yakub's progeny were destined to rule for 6,000 years before the original black peoples of the world regained dominance, a process that began in 1914. When the women are asked to contain Yakub with an incantation, they use the melody from this song.
Afrofuturist ideas were taken up in 1976 by George Clinton and his bands Parliament and Funkadelic with his magnum opus Mothership Connection and the subsequent The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein and P-Funk Earth Tour. In the thematic underpinnings to P-Funk mythology ("pure cloned funk"), Clinton in his alter ego Starchild spoke of "certified Afronauts, capable of funkitizing galaxies."
"Looking for the Perfect Beat" was a followup to Bambaataa's highly influential song "Planet Rock".
Bambaataa's live-appearance is closely related to George Clinton's: alien-like outfit with spaceships in the background. Like Sun Ra, he often wore ancient Egyptian style clothing. He is also founder of the Universal Zulu Nation, a social and spiritual movement dedicated to fight against discrimination, powered by a belief in "the funk". The Zulu Nation has undergone changes over the past decade. From the late 1980s, at the height of the Afrocentric movement in hip hop, the movement seemed to be incorporating many doctrines from the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths, and the Nuwaubians. In the 2000s, however, its official Web site affirmed that the Zulu Nation has left the 15 Beliefs and instead adheres to Factology versus Beliefs, a religious philosophy and doctrine in Nuwaubianism.
Newcleus is an electro and old school hip hop group from Brooklyn that gained popularity in the early 1980s. Newcleus contributed one true electro classic in "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)". The track was a block party favorite which featured vocals that were sped up to resemble Alvin and the Chipmunks.
"Electro is craze music, a soundtrack tor vidkids to live out fantasies born of a science fiction revival (courtesy of Star Wars and Close Encounters) and the video games onslaught. Nobody can play Defender or Galaxian for long without being affected by those sounds - sickening rumbles and throbs, fuzzy explosions and maddening tunes." Face Magazine, 1984
Comprised of drummer/producer Stuart Argabright, guitarist Michael Diekmann, bassist/guitarist/keyboardist Shinichi Shimokawa, DJ High Priest, and MC/grafitti writer Rammellzee on occasional vocals, DCC was drawn together intermittently for shows and recording sessions in '83 and '84. Rammellzee (born 1960 in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York), is a graffiti writer, performance artist, rap/hip-hop musician and sculptor from New York.
Rammellzee's graffiti and art work are based on his theory of Gothic Futurism, which describes the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardizations enforced by the rules of the alphabet; his treatise, "Iconic Panzerisms", details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of language in society. Rammellzee is often identified as an artist of the Afrofuturism canon.
Rammellzee wears a strange costume during performances. According to Mark Dery, "the artist encases himself during gallery performances in Gasholeer, a 148-pound, gadgetry-encrusted exoskeleton inspired by an android he painted on a subway train in 1981. Four years in the making, Rammellzee's exuberantly low-tech costume bristles with rocket launchers, nozzles that gush gouts of flame, and an all-important sound system."
Greg Broussard better known by his stage name Egyptian Lover is an American musician, vocalist, producer and DJ, and was an important part of the L.A. dance music and rap scene in the early 1980s. Egyptian Lover records didn't start appearing until several years after the New York and Miami electro scenes were already in full swing, and by the mid-'80s Egyptian Lover cuts like "Egypt, Egypt" were standards among club DJs, particularly in the breakdance scene. Before Ice-T, N.W.A., and Eazy-E made Los Angeles famous (or infamous) for gangsta rap in the late '80s, the city's rap community was best known for a high-tech, futuristic approach that owed a lot to Afrika Bambaataa's 1982 classic, "Planet Rock." In the early to mid-'80s, L.A.-based electro-hoppers like the Egyptian Lover, the World Class Wreckin' Cru (the group that Dr. Dre belonged to before N.W.A.), the Arabian Prince, and Uncle Jam's Army didn't get much respect from East Coast hip-hoppers, who insisted that their music wasn't gritty enough.
Midnight Star was a synth-funk group from Kentucky. "Freak-a-zoids, robots: please report to the dancefloor".
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American jazz pianist and composer. He is regarded as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. "Rockit" was released as a single from his 1983 album Future Shock.
"Rockit" was perhaps the first popular single to feature scratching and other turntablist techniques, performed by GrandMixer D.ST - an influential DJ in the early years of turntablism.
Cybotron was group formed in 1980 by Juan Atkins and Richard "3070" Davis in Detroit, Michigan. The group was inspired by midwestern funk, especially the music of George Clinton, along with European synthesizer pioneers Kraftwerk, English electropop, Italo Disco, and futurist literary influences such as Alvin Toffler's books Future Shock and The Third Wave. The name "Cybotron", coined by Atkins, is a portmanteau of cyborg and cyclotron. Atkins was fond of creating such "futuristic-sounding" words - the record label names "Metroplex" and "Transmat" being other examples. Although generally considered electro, Cybotron was also part of the early evolution of techno music. Cybotron was the first musical outlet of techno co-"originator" Juan Atkins, and the group's unique combination of musical influences, boldly experimental aesthetic, and afrofuturist philosophy became the underpinnings of Detroit Techno.
On the cover of Cybotron's album Enter is written: "We dedicate this album to the people of the Detroit metroplex. To survive we must technofy and save the biosphere." The Great Migration of the early 20th century shifted black American culture to metropolitan cities such as New York, Chicago and Detroit. At the time this track was recorded, the trend in migration had reversed, and Detroit was suffering from the effects of deindustrialization.
The Detroit club scene was as much in transition as the city they were in. The wide-spread popularity of techno across socio-economic lines led to a mixing between West Side and elite high school youths with ghetto and gangster "jits" (abbreviation for "jitterbug"). Unfortunately, the economic problems of Detroit and the prevalent social apathy and desolation led to a proliferation of gun violence within clubs and by 1986, the techno club scenes were wrought with gun shootings, fights, and acts of violence further compounding the sociological and economic recovery of Detroit.
This wave of violence, economic collapse, and socio-communal atrophy extensively affected the Detroit techno themes. Still influenced by the same Euro sounds, Juan Atkins and Rick Davis formed Cybotron producing Detroit hits like Alleys of Your Mind, Techno City, Cosmic Cars, and Clear before signing onto the Fantasy label. However, Cybotron's dominant mood of tech-noir and desolation played into describing the city's decline. For all their futuristic mise-en-scene, the vision underlying Cybotron songs was Detroit-specific- from industrial boomtown to post-Fordist wasteland, from US capital of auto manufacturing to US capital of homicide. By the end of the first successful wave of Detroit techno, the city's center had become a ghost town and the techno landscape was evolving into a more hardcore, militaristic frenzy of drug-infused rave and trance scene.
A classic of the Detroit Warehouse. The track was a sensation in the city's underground despite never being released on vinyl. The success of the song relied entirely upon tapes being copied and circulated through the clubs. Detroit house evolved from disco but with a more electronic sound.
Fingers Inc. was Larry Heard and Robert Owens, a talented gospel-styled vocalist. This Chicago House classic shows a connection between 80's house and gospel music. It is regarded as the first Deep House record and is still a popular track in the deep house scene today. The spoken word vocal are thought to reflect what is regarded as the true meaning of house music.
Drexciya was a later techno group from Detroit. Drexciya combined a faceless, underground, anti-mainstream media stance with mythological, sci-fi narratives, to help heighten the dramatic effect of their music. In this respect they were similar to artists within and close to the Detroit collective Underground Resistance.
Their name referred to a myth comparable to Plato's myth of Atlantis, which the group revealed in the sleeve notes to their 1997 album The Quest. ÒDrexciyaÓ was an underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant African women thrown off of slave ships that had adapted to breathe underwater in their mother's wombs. Member James Stinson claimed to have come up with idea in a dream.
Although both members of Drexciya remained completely anonymous throughout their active recording career, James Stinson was identified posthumously in 2002 after dying aged 32 of heart complications. The other member of the duo was Gerald Donald. The members of Drexciya did not allow themselves to be photographed, although they gave interviews, throughout one of which they wore Star Trek masks to conceal their identity.
Gerald Donald went on to produce music under many names including Arpanet, Glass Domain, Heinrich Mueller, Intellitronic, Japanese Telecom, Abstract Thought, Der Zyklus, Dopplereffekt, Elecktroids, Ectomorph, Flexitone, Black Replica, Zwischenwelt and L.A.M. (Life After Mutation).
Goldie is Clifford Joseph Price. Price was a member of a breakdance crew Westside, based in the Whitmore Reans and Heath Town areas of Wolverhampton, in the 1980s. He later joined a breakdance crew called the B-boys, and made his name as a graffiti artist in the West Midlands. His artwork around Birmingham and Wolverhampton was featured heavily in Afrikaa Bambaataa's documentary Bombing. He moved to the US and started selling grills (gold teeth) in New York and Miami, a business which he continued after his return to England in 1988, and turned into his trademark. Goldie pushed the genre of drum n bass by fusing it with soul vocals by Diane Charlemagne.
Tricky was born Adrian Thaws, from Bristol, England. An example from the trip hop genre, this was the opening track from his sophmore album Pre-Millennium Tension. Again we see the theme of language: "It means we'll manage, I'll master your language, and in the meantime, I create my own."
Craig Adams AKA Craig Diamonds released a number of influential 12"s and Mix CDs as DJ Assault on his Assault Rifle and Electrofunk labels in the 90's. Amongst these were the Straight Up Detroit Shit mix series which helped define the hyrbid ghetto tech sound emerging from Detroit.
It combines elements of Chicago's ghetto house with electro, hip hop, techno, and grafts the perceived raunch of miami bass as the vocal stamp of the music. It is usually faster than most other dance music genres, at roughly 145 to 170 bpm, and usually features sexually explicit lyrics. This faster sound was achieved by modifying turntables to play records at faster speeds.
A Detroit ghetto tech style of dancing is called the jit. It is an improvisational dance that mainly centers around the fast movement of the feet but also arms and body movement dating back to the early 1950s jitterbug also known as the black bottom stomp.
Funkstörung (German for "transmission interference") are a duo of electronic musicians hailing from Rosenheim, Germany known for rhythmically complex but melody driven music. They are particularly famous for their remix work. Some claim glitch-hop was born when Funkstörung cannibalised New York hip-hop on this remix of the Wu-Tang Clan's "Reunited".
Travis Stewart's hip-hop inspired work is done under the alias of Machine Drum. On this track the rap lyrics are manipulated to become unintelligible, becoming just a rhythmic element of the song.
From Ras G's website: "Ras G guides a deep space exploration of music's ancient history and rich future. Working thru obsolete tools to reach back in time and pluck out the essence of groove, Ras G's music is rich with space-funktified rhythms, fog horns, natty chattin, subterranean bass lines, colossal percussion and glorious highs. Ras G has been a fixture on the underground hiphop scene in Los Angeles since the early 90s. He is a proud South Central LA resident. This is the music that people will be playing in the ghettos of Mars in the year 3014."
This main audio sample from this track is taken from the 1972 Sun Ra film Space is the Place.
Darrell Fitton is an electronic musician from Manchester, England. Most of his work is recorded under recording monikers Bola and Jello. As in the electro genre, this track features distorted, vocoderized vocals.
Shadow Huntaz are a 5 piece experimental hip hop group notable for their use of online file sharing to distribute their work. They were originally formed by a trio of MC's, Breaff (a/k/a Shadow 1), Dream (a/k/a/ Shadow 2) and Non (a/k/a Shadow 3 or Nongenetic), all of whom are based in different cities in the US, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles respectively. They are joined by brothers Don and Roel Funcken from The Netherlands who perform under the name Funckarma. The brothers had originally approached them to do some remixes but this evolved into a full collaboration, undertaken through file sharing over the internet.
Another track by Darrell Fitton, a sort of futuristic take on soul.
Dabrye is an alias of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based musician Tadd Mullinix. Besides Jay Dee & Phat Kat, he has worked with other underground hip hop artists such as MF DOOM, Beans, Vast Aire, and Big Tone.
Lost Children of Babylon is a Nuwaubian hip hop group from Philadelphia. Nuwaubian hip hop groups call their style Nu-wop. They debuted with a conscious style, with lyrics filled with Nuwaubian teachings of Dr. Malachi Z. York and different theories of the creation and destination of the human soul. Together, they made an album rife with quotes from The Matrix and rhymes about ancient Egypt, outer space and chromosomes, all laid over futuristic/sci-fi beats that seem transplanted from other worlds.
Flying Lotus, (born Steven Ellison) is an experimental music producer, disc jockey, and laptop musician from Winnetka, California. His great-aunt is the late Alice Coltrane.
Mark Pritchard is an electronic musician. He was half of the duo Global Communication. His work as Harmonic 313 explores Detroit-style hip-hop and dub-step.
Burial is an English dubstep producer. Spaceape MCs in a dread poet style. Dubstep evolved from the UK grime and 2-step garage. "Sensory language leaves us with no habit for lying, we are hostile aliens immune from dying".
Kalbata is Israeli artist Ariel Tagar creating dubstep music. Clapper Priest is a UK dancehall MC.
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