Your Teacher of the Airwaves, DJ Darla Bea announces tonight’s universal field trip on Santa Barbara’s School of Rock:
“Inspired by two recent birthdays — avant-garde jazz composer Sun Ra and electronic-music innovator Robert Moog — join me for this week’s lesson. as we explore the relationship of Afrofuturism and Space Music, and the science-fiction themes associated with instruments created by the Moog Music company.
Born Herman Poole Blount, Sun Ra took the legal name Le Sony’r Ra. The prolific Alabama-born jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet, and philosopher was known for experimental music, a ”cosmic philosophy,” and theatrical performances. Alongside their bandleader, Sun Ra’s “Arkestra” ensemble sported an ever-changing name, flexible line-ups, and outlandish, Egyptian-styled or science fiction-themed costumes and headdresses for which they became known.
Such Afrofuturist elements had multiple purposes: they expressed Sun Ra’s fascination with ancient Egypt and the space age, provided a distinctive uniform, a new identity for the band onstage, and comic relief. This blend of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies critiqued not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also revised, interrogated, and re-examined historical events of the past.
Other practitioners of Afrofuturist music include George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, Deltron 3030, Janelle Monae, and more.
The synthesizers of New York-born Robert Moog’s company Moog Music appears in many of the Afrofuturist works you’ll hear tonight, while also influencing other creators of space-oriented music in this playlist too. Sun Ra was born on May 22, 1914, and died on May 30, 1993. Robert Moog was born on May 23, 1934 (and died in 2005).
Tonight’s show will also give a nod to KCSB’s long-running electronic-music program “Interplanetary Musik,” hosted for many years by DJ Vikas.
Get ready to rock out into the deepest reaches of space!”
“Rock It Properly” airs on Sundays in the spring from 8-10pm PDT.