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Bodycode: The Sounds Of 'Blacktronica'

An otherworldly song that rattles the brain while tickling the low-end fancy, Bodycode's "Spacial Harmonics" causes a sensation that's captivating even when it's not immediately pleasurable. With its heavy emphasis on layered rhythms and oscillating loops, the song bears the clear influence of minimalist classical pioneers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Steve Reich. Yet "Spacial Harmonics" brims with African and African-American influences that bend it closer to what British producer Charlie Dark calls "blacktronica."

With its intricate kwaito polyrhythms, elephantine-strength "four-on-the-floor" pulse, jazz-inflected flute melody and funky organ riffs, "Spacial Harmonics" sounds like the result of a jam session between Theo Parrish and Sun Ra. It's no surprise that Bodycode (a.k.a. Alan Abrahams) grew up in South Africa, initially absorbing the sounds of his homeland (including the San tribal rhythms that provide the base for kwaito) before settling in Berlin. In "Spacial Harmonics," he leaves his own Afro-futuristic sonic fingerprints on the world of blacktronica.

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John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.