So today is the end of Blogariddims. Eleven of us have contributed ~6-minute mini mixes to mark the occasion and it all kicks off right here. Thanks again to Droid for asking me to be a part of this amazing series. I know it’s taken a lot of work on his part and I think it’s fair to say that the results have exceeded everyone’s expectations: 200 000+ downloads to date, a 23-hour Blogariddims orgy on WHRB Cambridge, and lots of positive responses from listeners. Out to all the contributors and thanks for putting me on to so much music I’d have never heard otherwise.
This piece is actually a much condensed version of something I’d been putting together for Rayna Modifyer’s Process podcast series. The idea there was a Sun Ra-laden sonic fiction adventure, inspired in part by paul.meme’s Fusion Dub Blogariddims mix, but pulling together bits of futuristic disco (think Instant Funk’s ‘Dark Vader’), moog funk, and very early hip-hop, with grainy documentary parts layered in. Unfortunately, that fell apart. But the pieces gave me this.
What it is: Last winter, I finally got the chance to methodically read through just about every Afrofuturist text I’ve ever been able to track down, from manifestos and fiction to academic work. It was dark and we were being buried under more snow than the city had seen in forty years. Winter is the best time to hibernate on an alternate plane and one result was a new obsession with Sun Ra, whose records I began devouring with help from Ian down at Sounds Unlikely, and Graham Lock’s book Blutopia. Ra’s project is Alter Destiny, and he finds it between an Egyptian (not Israelite) past and a galactic future: the dawn of the Space Race. But before he was an aviator, Ra was strictly avian, named for a falcon-headed God, his space chants reworking celestially-themed Baptist sermons with Egyptian bird imagery. By the late-1950s, though, Ra had found that B-movie science fiction offered better vehicles for space travel, and so his bird-gods receded into the background.
This little mix stays with the birds. In the beginning it’s drums and forest singing together, then the calls detach into dub space and circuitry. Into the future, the beat comes back as a robot and so goes the bird. But then that fades into an unforeseen alter destiny in the shape of an urban samurai whose best friends are an obsolete communications technology.
Sun Ra – The Magic Sun (Phil Niblock, 1966)
Spring Morning, 31 Birdsongs (Peter Kilham, 1963)
Ruanda: Tambours Royaux (Infor Congo, ?)
X Clan – Earth Bound (4th & B’way, 1990)
Sun Ra – Voice of Space (Saturn, 1963)
Ed Rush – Bludclot Artattack Remix, Lick II (No U-Turn, 1994)
Funkadelic – Get Off your Ass and Jam (Westbound, 1975)
Fab 5 Freddy – Cuckoo Clocking (Wildstyle, 1982)
Ghost Dog (Jim Jarmusch/RZA, 1999)
0- Droid Intro blog post
1- Autonomic (6:01)
2- JEPM (eden + meme) (8:41)
2.1- JEPM (eden + meme)
3- Matt B (6:33)
4- Rambler (7:09)
5- Wayne (7:00)
6- Droid (7:44)
7- Gutta (6:02)
8- Heatwave (6:04)
9- Hal (8.01)
10- Flack (6:15)
11– Slug/Droid outro blog post