Nicole Mitchell flute, composition
Mankwe Ndosi vocals
David Boykin tenor sax, bass clarinet
David Young trumpet
Renee Baker violin
Tomeka Reid cello
Jeff Parker electric guitar
Joshua Abrams bass
Avreeayl Ra percussion
Marcus Evans drumset
Award winning African-American writer Octavia Butler ingeniously used science fiction as a tool to experiment with new social realities and to comment on current problems in society. Her Xenogenesis Trilogy focuses on a surprising outcome to nuclear war—rescue and extraction of humans by extraterrestrials. In a new and horrifying environment, with no control over one’s life and future, how does one isolated woman survive? How does this woman (chosen and altered by aliens) later convince the other survivors that their only hope to return to earth is to breed with horrific creatures and transform from human to something else? Octavia Butler, defined by many as an Afrofuturist, shows us that literature can invite us to question, think differently and possibly experience transformation. With the premise that music also carries the power to be transformative and provocative, I created Intergalactic Beings (IB), inspired by Butler’s Dawn and Adulthood Rites, my second project of creative music inspired by Octavia Butler.
Intergalactic Beings is a rebellion from the idea that jazz is solely a “finger poppin’ feel good music.” I believe that art (whether based in visual, sonic, or movement), can reflect and incite a wide range of complex emotions in the human experience. In the same way that audiences can enjoy going to a scary movie or taking a roller-coaster ride into the unknown, Intergalactic Beings intends on taking the audience on a ride. When we come off the ride, perhaps we can more fully appreciate the beautiful simplicity in our lives. I’m excited to discover that connecting music to science fiction can provide entry for audiences to understand experimental music in a new context.
In Intergalactic Beings I conjure up the disturbing and revelatory nature of Octavia Butler’s work. Octavia Butler raises questions on how the concepts of “alien”....... more