Release Date: Aug 6, 2013
Record label: Brainfeeder
Genre(s): Electronic, Rap, Reggae, Left-Field Hip-Hop
Ras G's evolution from avant-beat tape maker to intergalactic waveform manipulator has been guided by the cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra. Previous releases like Views of Saturn #1 EP and Space Base Is the Place referenced the legendary jazz man with their titles, artwork, and utterly "out there" sounds, some of it coming right off Ra's original recordings but run through Ras G's funky space tumbler. Think space age bachelor pad music from an alternate universe and you are in the vicinity of these esoteric but awesome releases.
L.A.’s avant-garde beats scene boasts a high concentration of giddy eccentricity. There are such characters as its poster boy Flying Lotus, the dispensary-fueled scion of a radically progressive musical family, and the bassist Thundercat, who’s singlehandedly propping up the few remaining pieces of jazz funk’s credibility. And then there’s Gregory Shorter, Jr., aka Ras G, who might be the furthest out of all of them.
Jazz composer Sun-Ra used his music to connect spiritually with outer space. He once called it the place, that vast unknown from where he claimed to derive and wanted to return. That made Sun-Ra difficult to grasp. He was called bizarre. Long before Miles Davis blended funk, rock and jazz, Sun-Ra ….
For his first release on Brainfeeder in over four years, Ras G charges into battle on a saddle-less horse, sporting a multi-function laser canon. Paradoxically fusing ancient, grinding rhythms and ultra-modern, plush beats, Back on the Planet skips between two distant eras while actively laughing at everything in the middle. At times, the blend is less than palatable and, frankly, too busy, as on the title track.
Though hardly the first of his kind, Steven “Flying Lotus” Ellison makes weirdness somehow cool. His records are critically acclaimed, his visually intense concerts frequently jam-packed, his reliable Brainfeeder imprint formidably curated. Through that latter effort comes the artist known as Ras G. Like his peers in the thriving beat scene, the Los Angeles producer makes brainy, unconventional sounds with tenuous, tentative ties to hip-hop.