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Jun 13, 2009 Keith Seekwhence rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone that actively enjoys music
The title of the book refers to the hook of a 1992 UK breakbeat record entitled "Valley of the Shadows" or "31 seconds". Like the title, much of what Eshun does here is bring us back to those intimate moments in recent and distant past and highlight the unforeseen outcomes and influences in the bodies of work of those that came before, via interpretation, stimulation or simply to just snap into the world around us. This is a fiercely intellectual take on African diaspora through music and visual ...more
From what I can tell, Eshun is doing with language exactly what Attali suggests can be done with music to foster creative and social freedom. 'More Brilliant Than the Sun" is really a musical voyage crisscrossing the black Atlantic and suggestive of the outer realms that Sun Ra proffers. It's also a great resource for finding out more about 90s jungle, out-of-this-world out jazz, and early hardcore hip-hop.
Post-humanist hiphop, etc. criticism, part of the Afrofuturist reading list (though I wonder if Eshun would necessarily agree with descriptor applied to his own work.) Geto Boys, Norbert Wiener, Public Enemy, Dr. Octagon, Donna Harraway, Marvel Comics, Detroit techno, Kraftwerk, Alice Coltrane. There's some great inversions here of accepted truths, which I guess what makes Eshun a good theorist. Written 95-97, there's a way it feels "dated" but I actually found this to be one of the most interes ...more
"No somos censores, sino sensores. No estetas, sino kinestetas. Somos sensacionalistas. Los últimos mutantes incubados en parlantes-útero. Tu madre, tu primer sonido. El dormitorio, la fiesta, la pista de baile, la rave: esos son los laboratorios donde se ensamblan a sí mismos los sistemas nerviosos del siglo xxi, las matrices del discontinuum de las Futurritmáquinas. El futuro es mejor guía para el presente que el pasado. Prepárate, estate listo para cambiar todo lo que sabes sobre la historia ...more
The style of it was hardly bearable. There are some great ideas, but I disagree with the overall argument of the book. To me, machine music is not liberation, but a process analogous to the effect of capitalism in society - a radical alienation of human labor and a loss of individuality. Most of the music described does not live up to the lavishness of Eshun's descriptions. I'm not really sure that what makes a piece of music Afrofuturist is the sheer fact that it was recorded by an African Amer ...more
Masterpiece. One of the most eloquent books on music that I have read, the book takes music as its territory and goes even further, sending probes that travel at the speed of 33 1/3 (and faster) and the prosthesis of the arm. Language is part of the dance, the human is in the background and the new sounds emerging continually complicate, and that is really "more brilliant than the sun".
El libro te transporta al paisaje musical que describe el autor,una forma de ver y sentir la música, donde te das cuenta que el futuro empezó desde los 50 pero la gente se dió cuenta de ello hasta 40 años después .De Sun Ra hasta Tricky pasando por Kraftwerk y Public Enemy.
I like the general concept and subject matter but had some trouble getting into sections on music I had not listened to and those that tended more toward the descriptive than the analytic. I think a lot of what I disliked about this book is rooted in my dislike of breakbeat-- his descriptions of how it is so awesome simply did not reach me.
Kodwo Eshun is a British-Ghanaian writer, theorist and filmmaker. He studied University College, Oxford University and Southampton University. He currently teaches on the MA in Contemporary Art Theory in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London.