Published Jul 21, 2015DJ Spooky was commissioned to remix and reimagine the racist 1915 film The Birth of a Nation way back in 2004. Now, more than a decade later, the resulting music is finally set to come out. Entitled Rebirth of a Nation, it's due out on August 28 through Cantaloupe Music.
Spooky's score was performed by chamber outfit Kronos Quartet and recorded way back in 2007 in San Francisco. Its release in 2015 is significant: it's the centennial of the D.W. Griffith-directed film's original release, and the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War (which is portrayed in the movie).
Furthermore, this comes in the wake of race-related violence and upheavals in the U.S. in the last couple of years. "We need now more than ever to see the context that early cinema offers us," said Spooky (a.k.a. Paul D. Miller) in a statement. "As my old friend Saul Williams likes to say: Another World Is Possible. A remix of a film as deeply important and problematic as The Birth of a Nation reminds us that these issues still linger with us at every level."
Rebirth of a Nation will be released digitally or physically on CD/DVD. The DVD comes with a new print of the film that Spooky has used for live performances from this project; this includes added visual effects.
Scroll past the tracklist below to watch an extract from Rebirth of a Nation that Spooky shared way back in 2008.
Rebirth of a Nation:
1. The Broken Compass (Intro Theme)
2. A Nation Divided
3. North Isn't South
4. The Most Dangerous Woman in America
7. The Parallax Waltz
8. Gettysburg Requiem
9. What Would Moses Say?
10. Lincoln and Booth Get Acquainted
11. Dixie As Anti-Utopia
12. Blackface (We Are All Sharecroppers Now)
13. Getting Biblical
14. The Election and Results: The New Montage
15. Gus, Elsie, Silas and the Klan
16. Black Militia
17. Ride of the Klansmen
18. The Next Election
19. Ghost of a Smile