This episode of the Astro Black video cycle considers the impact of German electronic music on Afrofuturist sonic culture.
We are the Robots re-imagines the iconic scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) where scientists use a synthesizer keyboard to communicate with an alien mothership. In Astro Black's revision of these events, Kraftwerk play sequences from their own music and the mothership responds with fragments of tracks that have sampled Kraftwerk. This jam session – between the original and sampled versions of Kraftwerk’s music – points towards a transnational conception of cultural production that unsettles linear conceptions of time.
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: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Dr. No (1962), Idlewild (2006), Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (2008), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Manson Family (2003), Planet Terror (2007), Rock Pop German Music Show (1978), Scratch (2001), Space is the Place (1974), Star Trek (2009), Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-69), Sun Ra: Joyful Noise (1981). Music: 2 Live Crew Dick Almighty, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force Planet Rock, Afro-Rican Give It All You Got, Hanz Zimmer & James Newton Howard Aggressive Expansion, Kraftwerk It’s More Fun to Compute, Kraftwerk Numbers, Kraftwerk The Robots, Kraftwerk Tour De France, Kraftwerk Trans Europa Express, Kraftwerk The Man Machine, Kraftwerk Spacelab, Mixmaster Mike & Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues, Outkast Idlewild Blue, Philip Samartzis Gut Bucket Blues, World Class Wreckin’, Cru Surgery, Yellow Magic Orchestra Compute Game.