King Britt Presents Moksha Black
featuring Seth Parker Woods & Joy Guidry
The quaint term turntablism needed to be retired at some point because it couldn’t cover the artistic range of King Britt. He first made his mark in the early 90s in Philadelphia spinning a kaleidoscopic array of records at Silk City, developing a broad aesthetic that made space for seemingly incongruous selections. Britt traced out connections between disparate genres and eras that took other artists years to figure out. He went on to become the live DJ for Digable Planets, but ultimately he needed his own platform. He co-founded Ovum Records, commingling house and hip-hop cultures. Britt became a wildly in-demand producer, and while he built a thriving career as an internationally touring DJ, his innate curiosity prevented him from settling into any single approach or sound. From the beginning of his career he has demonstrated an expansive vision for which the 0’s and 1’s were just one weapon in a much larger arsenal.
Indeed, these days Britt collaborates with an ever-expanding world of artists, including plenty of non-musicians. He currently teaches at University of California San Diego, where his offerings include a class called “Blacktronika: Afrofuturism in Electronic Music.” In 2021 he released Tyshawn & King, a stunning duo album with composer and drummer Tyshawn Sorey that vividly situated his exploratory electro-vibe within improvisatory excursions balancing deep groove and meditation. Few artists have assimilated such a broad range of Black expression in their work.
For this special Big Ears performance Britt presents the latest iteration of this new project. “Moksha Black,” he says, “refers to Black Liberation through self-realization and spiritual awareness. Sonic communication with ancestral energy to clear space in the moment.” He’ll join forces with two of the most remarkable and original instrumentalists in contemporary music, cellist Seth Parker Woods and bassoonist Joy Guidry, who both double on electronics, creating richly textured, improvisatory lines that become crucial threads in a dense sonic fabric woven by Britt’s electronic set-up.