Blacktronika

Exploring Innovators of Color in Electronic Music || Curated by King Britt

By Bob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

Sun Ra (1990s) by Adam FriedmanMuseum of Youth Culture

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Sun Ra

Pioneer | Cosmic Visionary | Icon 
“The universe sent me to converse with you. If there are ears to hear, listen but do not listen with your ears alone. You must feel with your intuition sense. I is always the unknowing-knowing voice of the quiet vigilant silence” - Sun Ra

Birmingham, Alabama was the portal on Earth, in which Herman Poole Blount, universally known as Sun Ra, entered into our atmosphere and our hearts, from the planet Saturn.

Long before the coined term, Afrofuturism existed, Sun Ra created his otherworldly energy, drawing from a combination of ancient Egyptology, Black Liberation and the Space Age to shift the consciousness of the beings on our planet. 

With his sonic warriors The Sun Ra Arkestra, he made his presence known on a larger scale in the film adaptation of his concept album Space is the Place. A mantra for the ages, Space is the Place was the blueprint for all likeminded afro-visionaries to see the possibilities of what freedom truly looks like.

One of the first musicians ever to use the Minimoog (a model B given to him by Bob Moog himself), Sonny brought synthesizers into the jazz context, creating what he calls Space Music. His detailed knowledge of big band orchestration combined with the sounds of the cosmos created a unique force that will recalibrate your being. This opened the creative door for jazz geniuses like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Julian Priester to step through.

Sonny left our planet in 1993, but his everlasting mythology lives on through music, film, his Arkestra and you! 

Bernie Worrell by Brian DiescherBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Bernie Worrell

Icon | Keyboardist | Sonic Architect 
You probably hear the work of the legendary Bernie Worrell at least once a day without realizing it. This Julliard School of Music prodigy went on to become a key architect in what we now know as ‘funk’. Exploring the future through sound, Bernie took Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and many others into otherworldly sonic stratospheres. He has composed some of the most important keyboard riffs in the history of music.

Hank ShockleeBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Hank Shocklee

Music Icon | Pioneer | Inductee in Rock N Roll Hall of Fame        
Hank Shocklee pushes technology to its limits, which result in production techniques that as passed through generation. Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, revolutionized the way we make music today. 

Carl CraigBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Carl Craig

Detroit Legend | Visionary | Globetrotter
As an internationally respected composer, producer and label owner, Carl Craig carries the true lineage of Detroit on his sleeve. Always the visionary in terms of breaking new ground for techno to be included and not pigeonholed. Remixing and collaborating, from Throbbing Gristle to his own Innerzone Orchestra, he has touched many hearts. His Detroit Love events have become a true platform for combining generations of Detroit creatives.

Low LeafBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Low Leaf

Multi-Instrumentalist | Sonic Healer | Divine Creator   

Low Leaf combines ancestral energy with her musical practice, placing  her in a vital space held for shaping the future of electronic music. The thread  through all of her work is harmony, which is truly her divine purpose. Her eight self released projects are proof of balancing traditional with new sonic visions.
                                   

Ari Melenciano (1978)Bob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Ari Melenciano

Technologist | Educator | Artist
In her practice she explores the relationships between various forms of  design and the human experience. These relationships inform her unique  sonic palette in creating electronic music, infusing her multi-layered  approach inspired by her research. She founded Afrotectopia to be a  social institution, fostering interdisciplinary innovation at the intersections  of Black culture, activism, technology and art.

James PoyserBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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James Poyser

Multi-Platinum Producer | Songwriter | Keyboardist
Multi Grammy hitmaker, James Poyser keeps one foot in the past while  helping artists leap into the future. Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, Sylk130,  Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Jill Scott, have all flown with James’ warm sonic innovations and compositions. His musical tapestries  changed the course of music, defining a moment in time called the Neo soul  movement.

Suzi Analogue (1980)Bob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Suzi Analogue

Visionary | Producer | Educator  

The cultural shift that Suzi Analogue has created for women in electronic  music is extraordinary. Her music has graced global runways and tv shows,  making her one of the most sought after electronic music collaborators.  Her live shows have brought much-needed feminine energy to international  stages from here to Africa. As founder of Never Normal Record she’s created her own platform and lane, making her a north star to follow.

Don LewisBob Moog Foundation / Moogseum

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Don Lewis

Inventor | Pioneer | Musician

Electronic engineer turned electronic musician Don Lewis pioneered  the revolutionary instrument, the LEO (Live Electronic Orchestra) – an  invention ahead of its time in terms of its innovative cohesion of  synthesizers & sound modules. His groundbreaking contributions to the Yamaha DX7 & Roland TR808 cemented his rightful place in electronic  music history. His work w/ Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and his touring  w/ the Beach Boys, makes him one of the icons of the genre! 

Please find Blacktronika (Part 2) under this link.


Discover more from Music, Makers & Machines here.

Credits: Story

Sun Ra photo provided by the Museum of Youth Culture. Bernie Worrell photo provided by Brian Diescher. All exhibit music composed and performed by King Britt. Thank you to Judie Worell, Hank Shocklee, Carl Craig, Low Leaf, Ari Melenciano, James Poyser, Suzi Analogue, Don Lewis, Moor Mother, King Britt, Christine Wheeler, DeForrest Brown, Antipop Consortium, Computer Jay, Elizabeth Baker, and Attica Blues.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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