Ras G: "Back On The Planet" LP
LA.’s avant-garde beats scene boasts a high concentration of giddy eccentricity. There are such characters as its poster boy Flying Lotus, the dispensary-fueled scion of a radically progressive musical family, and the bassist Thundercat, who’s singlehandedly propping up the few remaining pieces of jazz funk’s credibility. And then there’s Gregory Shorter, Jr., aka Ras G, who might be the furthest out of all of them. The inheritor of an Afrofuturistic musical tradition passed down from Sun Ra and George Clinton, Shorter is the head (and apparently sole member) of something called the Afrikan Space Program. He's seemingly on a mission to gather gather up the best elements of a half-century of revolutionary black music and launch them into a utopian sci-fi alternate dimension of his own devising.
His latest salvo is called Back on the Planet, but it doesn’t feel like the work of an entirely earthbound artist. The opening title track shows off both Shorter’s artistic ambition and his formidable technical skills, with a convincing electronic emulation of the organic, frenetic crackle of an Ornette Coleman free jazz cut that evolves into a mass of irregular drumming, squealing synths, and layers of noise. It sounds like someone’s packed Coleman up in a rickety Apollo module and launched him into low earth orbit.
Release Date: 2013
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