Magazine article World Literature Today

Dreams of a Plastic Future

Magazine article World Literature Today

Dreams of a Plastic Future

Article excerpt

OY

Space Diaspora

Crammed Discs

This issue's special section on climate dystopias set me wondering what kind of responses to an uncertain future dwell in the world music community. One such global movement, now decades in development and spanning a number of media including music, is Afrofuturism-a genre that often embraces aspects of science fiction as a means of imagining a time and place either beyond the racial inequities of the present or never tainted by the corrosive effects of colonialism.

Notoriously difficult to define in any way that is wholly inclusive of its many expressions, Afrofuturism has nonetheless gained more than a foothold in the American mainstream with elements of its expansive vision cropping up in the work of Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, and Rihanna, among others. Not surprisingly, these themes have taken root in the electronic music scenes all over Africa, which in turn have reverberated in European cities responsive to these new sounds. It is by this route that we arrive at the Berlin-based experimental duo OY's 2016 release Space Diaspora. A collaboration between Ghanaian-born singer Joy Frempong and Swiss composer Marcel Blatti (performing under the pseudonym Lleluja-Ha), the album is a marvel in both its conceptual vision and musical scope.

The chunkier narrative pieces deliver a storyline that goes something like this: beings from current-day Earth are forced by catastrophe into a parallel dimension that returns them, transformed, into the future, where they join the current residents of a planet renamed Space Diaspora. …

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