Wednesday, July 29, 2009


On behalf of The Root Down which is, essentially, just me, I present to you MUSIC FOR CONQUERING GALAXIES AND INTERGALACTIC LAMPIN'. I was speaking with Brian tonight about the mix and, I have to say that, contextually, it's probably one of my most accomplished. It's amazing what the creative mind can do when you just give it a concept to work with and say go. I mean, I won't profess it to be the greatest single piece of music ever assembled, but it all just started by a daydream and that daydream became a daily fascination became a few sleepless nights became a few extended "search sessions" became gazing at Youtube videos of Sun Ra became total obsession. If you know me, though, now that it's done, I'm really done too with space altogether. That obsession really only lasts as long as it takes for me to put this together. No, I don't want to talk Pluto with you. And yes, this is a total cosmic coincidence with the 40th anniversary of us landing on the moon.

The mix started out as a concept. Like if I had a spaceship and I was cruising the galaxy, what would I listen to. I mean, all the millions of dollars invested in those shuttles, they got a stereo system right? I'd be jamming some Parliament, f'real. Beasties. Hell, I'd jam me some "Electric Avenue." You bet. I had to pull back on the Eddy Grant, but Parliament and Beasties, yeah, they're here. It's almost like's in there. It runs the gammut, but some of the most obvious stuff, I just had to avoid. No, it doesn't have "Space Oddity" by Bowie. It doesn't have "Space Cowboy" either. There's an earthly radio station begging for your listenership so they can sell you earthly products to waste on your earthly existence. We're heading upwards, homie.

Beatles, Black Sabbath, M/A/R/R/S/, Kool and the Gang, Parliament, Funkadelic, X-Clan, Cut Chemist, Digable Planets, Beach Boys, Shapeshifters (yep), Slug from Atmosphere and Murs (forming together "Felt"), Kool Keith, David Bowie (but not your "Ground control to Major Tom" garbage), Shatner, El-P, TV on the Radio, etc. etc. etc. We brought in Bambaataa too, but asked for permission to give him a little revisit. Not that I don't like "Planet Rock," but I just took some liberties.

I could do another whole mix too because just on the way home tonight, I thought of about fifteen no-brainers that I could've slotted in if I wanted to make this a four-hour mix. This one comes in just over two hours--the length of, say, "Close Encounters" or "Starman."

I've always had a secret fascination, though, with the cosmos. I mean, you think about how short your block is when you walk to park down the street. You think about how small America is when you hit the ocean. Can you imagine leaving this planet and seeing nothing but black in every direction and knowing that, as far as you know, it goes on forever? I mean, forever? That's how vast the universe is and when you get to the end of the universe, what's beyond that? Is it like Truman Show when you just hit a wall? How incredible is God's insane creation? I included the masterful work by Carl Sagan. While I don't necessarily agree with his ideology, his work entitled "Pale Blue Dot" is an incredible work. It describes how this photograph taking from millions and millions of miles away in space illustrates Earth as a tiny speck amongst the vastness of the universe it sits in. It's a beautifully written piece that perfectly communicates the tiny world in which we live. It's rare you get that kinda view.

During the course of time I was working on this mix, really the last ten days, I found myself looking upwards to the moon and thinking how much I really take for granted. You never think about the moon or the stars or the sun. They're just there. Trust me, when you're running directly into the sun at 6:00PM, it's really there. But to think that as hot as that sucka is where we are, we're 91 million miles from that dude. Imagine what 40 million miles away feels like. 20 million miles away must be like hell. It must melt skin at 20 million miles away. I'd be outside and I'd just look up at the moon during the daytime and you think about how incredibly distant that moon is. It's always there, just hung up in the sky looking down on you. I'm trying to run 26 miles and can barely make three right now. That moon is close to 240,000 miles from where I sit tonight. How in the hell did our space program land an object on that thing? Imagine being the first dude to say, "Screw it, I'm gonna travel to that thing." We just don't marvel anymore. It's takes too freaking much to amaze us anymore.

Back to the mix. Imagine if you will, you're heading out at a speed that basically takes you to Pluto and back in two hours. That's fast as hell. We're talking light speed. You go out and, about half way through, you round Pluto. That's a lonely place out there. Then you make your pass again at Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Mars (not necessarily in that order). I desperately wanted to do the mix in the style of Holst's Planets, but determined that being a sane and married man, that was entirely too much time spent in my own imagination. Eventually, I gotta go to work, right?

I see how sci-fi writers go so weird now, though. I mean, you can truly drown in how vast all of this is. It's easier to think about your little plot of land, on your little block, in your little city, in your little state or territory, in your little country, on your little continent on your little blue planet in your perceivably small little galaxy. Ah, on the fiftieth minute right now. Vanglorious. A little X-Clan.

Not often you get this much dope all in one place. Aight, I'll hit you up with the tracklisting:

Dennis Wilson "Farewell My Friend"
Pink Floyd "Fearless"
Parliament "Ride On"
M/A/R/R/S "Pump Up the Volume"
Beastie Boys "Intergalactic (and Damn Krispy Too! Mix)"
Cecil Holmes "2001"
Edan "Making Planets" (w/ Mr. Lif)
Mr. Dibbs "Live at Ulitmate Beats and Breaks 2" (segment)
Galactic Force Band "Space Dust"
Galt MacDermot "Space"
Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force "Planet Rock (Root Down Got You All in Check Mix)"
Gary Bartz "Celestial Blues"
TV on the Radio "Staring at the Sun" (intro)
El-P "Constellation (Heavenly Bodies)"
Beach Boys "Gettin' Hungry"
David Bowie "Starman"
X-Clan "Cosmic Ark"
Beatles "Flying"
William Shatner "Rocket Man"
(rounding Pluto and setting sights Earth-bound)
Dexter Wansel "Theme From the Planets"
Mandrill "Universal Rhythms"/"The Children of the Sun"
Capleton "Wings of the Morning"
Mystic Moods "Cosmic Sea"
Cut Chemist "Storm" (w/ Edan and Mr. Lif)
Funkadelic "Cosmic Slop"
Sun Ra "We Travel the Spaceways"/"Celestial Road"
Shapeshifters "Who Gots Presence?"
Jack Nitzsche "Starman Main Theme"
Felt "My Alien Girlfriend"
Black Sabbath "Planet Caravan"
Outkast "Extra-terrestial"
David Matthews "Star Wars"
DJ Spooky "Object Unknown" (w/ Kool Keith and Sir Menelik)
Kid Koala "Space Cadet 2"
Digable Planets "Time and Space"
X-Clan "Earth Bound"

Man's obsession with space travel has been well-documented. Music's obsession with the universe probably lesser, but here's your crash course. If you ever win your trip to space in the year 2030 when they're giving them out like Carnival cruises, make sure you load this little mix into the chip that you put into your head and surrounds you with sounds that aliens could never even recognize as music. Click here to get in touch with your intergalaxy. Or just the cover art above.

1 comment:

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