Earlier this year NASA released declassified files debunking a conspiracy theory which had grown up around the 1969 Apollo 10 mission. According to the legends, astronauts had reported hearing inexplicable sounds as they orbited the dark side of the moon. However, the NASA info revealed a more down to Earth explanation- hearing static from their radio statements, the astronauts joked that it sounded like ‘outer-space-type music’.
An entire library could be written on how the vastness of space, from our local system to the infinite cosmos beyond has inspired musicians. In the same year as Apollo 10, David Bowie had his breakthrough with Space Oddity, and shortly after Pink Floyd sold millions with Dark Side of The Moon. More recently, space themes have permeated hip hop. Outkast announced they were Atliens and Lil Wayne claims to be a Martian. DJ Esco and Future’s latest Esco Terrestrial seems obsessed with the search for life beyond Earth. And with his remarkable 2015 mixtape Gemini, The Good Dokta looked from South Africa to the stars above.
This unfairly slept on project is the work of Durban born Dokta Spizee, who first came to prominence as one half of Dirty Paraffin. With Gemini he takes a giant leap beyond his earlier work, showing his strength and substance as a solo instrumental composer. The song titles reference emerging stars and black holes, red suns and exploding supernovas. And the music lives up to this grandeur. It is stirring and emotive and leaves you with a sense of glowing positivity. Dust (Nebula Theme Explodes) begins with a driving instrumental, before exploding into an anthemic vocal hook. The eerie Gravity replicates the sense of seeing the Earth from orbit from the first time. The End is the sound of watching the sunrise on a distant planet.
Awe, anxiety and majesty all together. This powerfully cinematic music owes as much to the soundtracks of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and Interstellar as it does to hip hop.
The Good Dokta will be teaming with Chanje Kunda for this weekend’s TABOO event, an immersive performance experience held at Bubblegumclub’s Newton Junction headquarters. Running from 3 to 7pm on July 2, it is a must if you are looking to expand your mind beyond the bounds of Earth.