August 10, 2022  

Arthur Baker Shows How He Produced Afrika Bambaataa’s Iconic Planet Rock

We teamed up with Arthur Baker, the legendary artist behind the production of Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force’s iconic track, ‘Planet Rock’, for an exclusive breakdown of how the song was created.

‘Planet Rock’ was released via Tommy Boy Records in 1982, eventually becoming so popular it earned a Gold record certification in the United States. The track came to fruition when Baker, Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force channelled their love for the band Kraftwerk’s music into an electronic reimagining of their previous collaboration, ‘Jazzy Section’. Described by Robert Palmer of The New York Times as “perhaps the most influential black pop record of 1982”, ‘Planet Rock’ is best known for its spacey vocal work, cinematic stabs, techy drum production and changing the face of electro forever.

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During the video, Baker delves into the history behind the track, including what initially inspired him to create such a forward-thinking record. He then runs through some of the iconic tools and tech he used to create that futuristic sound, such as the Fairlight for the orchestral hits, the Prophet 5 for the strings, the Micromoog for the bass, the Lexicon PCM 41 Digital Delay Processor for the vocals and a Roland TR-808 for the drums. As the legendary producer still has the stems for the project, he even loads them up in Ableton Live and performs a mini track breakdown during the masterclass. This video features a section from the forthcoming Rockers Revenge documentary, On A Mission (working title), which is due to be released in 2023. Be sure to watch until the end of the video, where Arthur Baker answers some long-standing questions about ‘Planet Rock’.

This masterclass was filmed during this year’s IMS Ibiza, where Point Blank joined forces with Microsoft Surface and Beatport to host 3 days of programming. Check out what else we got up to at IMS Ibiza here.


This post is included in Masterclasses, News