If you read Generation Bass frequently, you will almost certainly have experienced afrofuturism. We’ve used the term only a couple of times but since the very beginning, the scenes and genres that are now increasingly identifying itself with the afrofuturist movement are one of the driving forces that have inspired us in the avant-garde of music worldwide. So, what is afrofuturism?
Afrofuturism is a diverse patchwork of movements which have as a common denominator that they challenge the dominant, white/Western narratives about past, present and future in modern culture, from an African and Afro-diasporic perspective. This includes literature, art, music, film, fashion, dance and more. Be it Angolan and Portuguese kuduro and tarraxo, South African gqom, digital cumbia and baile funk all over Latin America, next-generation dancehall or now avant-garde club music, these genres all have immediate common roots in Africa and the African diaspora and are a reflection of a life that is shaped by the internet and the abundance of technology. In many ways, Generation Bass IS afrofuturism!
“High-tech low life?” Could be, but not necessarily. One of the main messages of the emerging afrofuturist movement at large is questioning and destroying the stereotypical roles that Western culture’s entrenched colonial-racist heritage is still posing onto people of colour and Afrodescentants in particular: the role of the primitive, the wild and the immature. A futurism born out of African culture is therefore continuously at risk of being perceived as an inherent oxymoron. Sometimes it is consciously created as such, like the blatantly colonialist monstruosities of British noise act Cut Hands, but often unconsciously enjoyed, in notions like the ‘tribal rave’ – which, to be honest, our own blog hasn’t stayed entirely clean of either.
So then, what could be a better way to appreciate afrofuturism than to listen and watch key voices from this movement themselves? This week Generation Bass will do exactly this and report daily from the exciting ‘Afrofuturism Now!‘ festival in Rotterdam.
‘Afrofuturism Now!’, one of the very first ever afrofuturist festivals worldwide, is a result of the Rotterdam avant-garde podium WORM in Rotterdam joining forces with Rotterdam’s global bass party Pantropical, who have both witnessed the rise of a promising afrofuturist underground in many areas of culture and decided it was time to bring it to perhaps one of the most innovative and culturally diverse cities of Europe. There will be lectures, performances, art exhibitions, film shows, fashion and several club-nights in the realms of science-fiction and forward-looking culture.
The experimental sci-fi film Noise Gate (2013) will be shown on Thursday at 20:00
Music headliners to look forward to are the Philly (USA) based experimental electronic producer King Britt..
Egyptian electrochaabi virtuoso Islam Chipsy..
South African avant-garde alrounder DJ Spoko (Ghetto Boyz Entertainment / True Panther Sounds / Lit City Trax)..
‘Afrofuturism Now!’ is above all a peek into a world that is confidently being built by people of African heritage for a multi-cultural future that is manifesting itself more every day.
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Meanwhile, to get into the mood, watch here some gems that I selected from the Generation Bass archives..
The Ethiopian post-apocalyptic film Crumbs will be shown at ‘Afrofuturism Now!’ after the official opening at 22:00!
Te review we wrote about ‘The Great Game’: joint masterpiece of Rabit with Chino Amobi from NON: “a collective of African artists, and of the diaspora, using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power”, one of the most promising upcoming collectives in the afrofuturist avant-garde!
DJ UMB‘s ‘African Apocalypse’ mixtape for Okayafrica, featuring most artists from the Portuguese kuduro & tarraxo underground!
Our entire future-tarraxo archive compiled into one post and completed with a tribute mixtape from DJ UMB to this this uplifting afrofuturist subgenre!