This episode of Astro Black maps the intergalactic legacy of Sun Ra and George Clinton in the sci-fi futurism of early hip-hop.
Set in 1974 in the South Bronx, Destination Planet Rock begins in a neighborhood centre where Sun Ra is explaining his ideas about the intersection of race, myth and outer space. The three future originators of hip-hop – DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash – are abducted and transported across the galaxy to Planet Rock where they are schooled in the alien language of turntablism. Returning to planet Earth, the abductees unleash the supersonic technique of scratching and the sci-fi electro sound of the track Planet Rock.
Titled in tribute to Sun Ra’s 1972 album, Astro Black is an ongoing multi-channel video cycle informed by cultural theories of Afrofuturism. Taking the cosmic jazz musician Sun Ra as a point of departure, this speculative history seeks to draw out the nexus of science fiction and social politics in Black Atlantic sonic culture.
Materials: Beat Street (1984), Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984), Dancing in the Street (1997), Gerry (2002), House Party (1990), I Dream of Jeannie (1965), Idlewild (2006), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), The Manson Family (2003), Planet Terror (2007), Scratch (2001), Space is the Place (1974), Style Wars (1983), Wildstyle (1983). Music: Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force Planet Rock, Aileron Something to do While Driving, Amon Tobin Esther’s, Amon Tobin Kitchen Sink, Amon Tobin Foley Room, Aphex Twin Gwely Mermans, Battles Prismism, Black Dice Island, Broadcast We’ve Got Time, Buffalo Daughter 303 Live, Cornelius Scum, DJ Krush with Rhythm Troops Krushed Wall, DJ QBert Movement 3: Inside-Out Body Warp, DJ QBert Redworm, DJ Shadow Changeling, Dr Octagon Blue Flowers, Fennesz Made in Hong Kong, Four Tet High Fives, George Clinton Clone Communicado, Gimmik Crak, Grandmaster Flash The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel, Herbie Hancock & Grandmixer DST Rockit, Justice Genesis, Kei Suda, Kraftwerk The Robots, Ladytron Startup Chime, Midnight Juggernauts Intro, Outcast Intro, Outcast PJ and Rooster, Parliament Mothership Connection, Rechenzentium Gaujag Totale, Mixmaster Mike & Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues, Squarepusher My Fucking Sound, The Chemical Brothers Come With Us, The Chemical Brothers We are the Night, The Knife The Captain, The Sugarhill Gang Rapper’s Delight.