Afrofuturism: The New Black
twenty-seven mp3 music files / one hundred thirty-one minutes / two hundred and two megabytes
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."
- Mark Dery, Black to the Future
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
Kodwo Eshun: More Brilliant than the Sun
Mark Sinker: Loving The Alien - Black Science Fiction
Christian Zemsauer: Afrofuturism
Universal Zulu Nation
- 1. Sun Ra and his Solar-Myth Arkestra "The Satellites Are Spinning" (1971)
- 2. Parliament "Star Child (Mothership Connection)" (1975)
- 3. Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (1983)
- 4. Newcleus "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)" (1984)
- 5. Death Comet Crew with Rammellzee "Exterior Street" (1985)
- 6. Egyptian Lover "Egypt, Egypt" (1984)
- 7. Midnight Star "Freak-A-Zoid" (1983)
- 8. Herbie Hancock "Rockit" (1983)
- 9. 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"
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.
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.
"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
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."
"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.
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.
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).
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.
This main audio sample from this track is taken from the 1972 Sun Ra film Space is the Place.