“Black E.T.” is a sonic homage to the 1984 American sci-fi film “The Brother From Another Planet”, directed by John Sayles and now a cult classic.
Maquinistas have condensed and contemporised the original score and incorporated dialogue from key scenes. The album, comprised of 12 short tracks, some less than a minute long, retains the feeling of a sound track and is best listened to in its entirety. The music reflects the solidarity and empathy shown towards the film’s subject, the Alien Brother who has found himself dislocated in Harlem. At the same time, there is a focussed militancy. Prolific producers Cinturón Negro and Polar are the masters of sampling and editing with an uncanny ability to loop ambient and atmospheric sound to expose its musicality. They fearlessly push the outer limits of instrumental Hip Hop towards a fresh interpretation of “music concrète”. This is best demonstrated when the space-warped abstraction of “Language Code” gives way to the rhythmic weight of “Sex Between Interspecies”. The steel pan motif heard here, lifted from the film’s original theme, is shared with the monster dub groove of the opening track “The Arrival”. The twisted, off-grid syncopation of “Everybody Needs Tools” reiterates Maquinistas Hip Hop credentials. This is a compact and compelling release for lovers of leftfield rhythm and sound and its ability to illustrate narratives.
Aniruddha Das aka Dr. Das
Asian Dub Foundation bassist.
(London, UK. September 2022)