SUN RA & HIS ASTRO-INFINITY ARKESTRA
Strange Strings

SUN RA & HIS INTERGALACTIC-INFINITY ARKESTRA
The Night of the Purple Moon

[Atavistic, www.atavistic.com]

"Strange Strings" marks Sun Ra at his most uncanny fashion. This is Arkestra making sounds based solely on string instruments. Sometime in 1966, Sun Ra had an idea to record an entire album on string instruments alone. Whether these were picked up at garage sales, second-hand stores or borrowed from friends is anyone's guess. What is dazzling is the end effect. Sun Ra is reported as playing electric piano, lighting drum, tympani and squeaky door. The sounds are spaced to infinity. Best thing is one is never absolutely sure as to the source of the sounds. Was that a mandolin, ukulele, sheet of metal, pipa, or a modified viola that was just heard? The leader pronounced this as "a study in ignorance - that the experience of playing instruments with which they had no familiarity would open doors deeper into unknown musical worlds." Sure enough, much of "Worlds Approaching" resembles Arkestra's "Nothing Is" date, which was recorded earlier on prior to this date. Marshall Allen's oboe and alto work along with John Gilmore's tenor outbursts are still as valid and bursting as on the earlier date. Clifford Jarvis has at least a couple of breezy moments on tympani, where percussion is heavy handed and adds a certain context to the string instruments. Many times, you hear Arkestra making strange sounds and weird effects and at odd times, they even resemble a faulty high school band, though this is to their credit. I somehow doubt there was much practice put into place prior to the recording. Sun Ra wanted to start from scratch, from a clean slate. The palette was filled with plucking, alternating shifts of obtuse and disturbing sounds. Everyone of Arkestra members was in for a wild ride. Even the previously unreleased "Door Squeak" [where Sun Ra plays a squeaky door and others follow along on the string section] is a hoot. To be fair, there is less chaos on the record than one would imagine. Every player finds their own unique niche and the master conductor as if by magic, brings these voices into singular mode of understanding. I can only imagine the baffled audience reaction from Arkestra's live shows around this time. For years, this record was being auctioned off for crazy sums of money on web auction sites. It's high time the not so wealthy Sun Ra admirers also heard this masterpiece.
Fast forward 4 years to 1970 and witness the evolution of Sun Ra as he goes nuts on Roksichord and Wurlitzer electric piano. "The Night of the Purple Moon" remained one of the great lost Ra albums, also fetching hefty amounts of dough on various auction houses. The band is small, made up only of Danny Davis on alto sax, clarinet, drums, bongos and flute, John Gilmore on tenor and percussion, Stafford James on electric bass and of course Sun Ra on Roksichord, Moog and mini-Moog and celeste. The recordings as heard in this form were supposed to be issued as part of the great Impulse Sun Ra record contract in the early 70's, but sadly enough, never saw the light of day [other then to see some of these records see the light of day on Saturn Records]. If anything, the record is full of intimate blues. The music sounds and feels highly introspective and warm. The clinkety-clank of Ra's Roksichord makes the other players move in a groove-oriented direction. The music swings and it swings wildly. If this was disco era, Sun Ra would be worshipped in every club. Gilmore's playing is melodic and as warm as anything he's ever played on, while the rhythm section swings in an off-key. Four bonus tracks are added, which are home recordings from NYC circa 1964. Sun Ra plays Wurlitzer on three, while he switches over to celeste on one. Highly accessible session, one that all jazz fans should be ecstatic about. If only this was released to a wider audience, the more conservative crowd would be easily swayed to Sun Ra's other-worldly travels.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Quio - Phiu
+ Vs_Price - Song06.txt.
+ Gebrüder Teichmann - The Number Of The Beat
+ Swod - Sekunden
+ Rework - Pleasure Is Pretty
+ Various Punks Vol_A
+ Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!
+ Genaro La Fosse - Focus Factor
+ Bunny Lake - The Church Of Bunny Lake
+ bpmf - Parousia Fallacy
+ Basteroid - Upsets Ducks
+ Louie Austen - Summer Love EP
+ Anthill - Love

- - - - - - - - -

+ EDDY MEETS YANNAH - Once in a While
+ DON CHERRY QUINTET - Live at Café Montmartre 1966
+ F.S. BLUMM MEETS LUCA FADDA - F.S. Blumm meets Luca Fadda
+ GOSTA RUNDQVIST / ANDREAZ HEDEN - If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Motel Lovers
+ GRAND NATIONAL - A Drink & A Quick Decision
+ DIMENSION X - Dimension X
+ FOR BARRY RAY - New Days
+ EYES LIKE SAUCERS - Still Living in the Desert (and mostly inside my own head)
+ WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS - Heartcore
+ COLD BLEAK HEAT - Simitu
+ THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC - Musicamorosa
+ WILLIAM BASINSKI - El Camino Real
+ HANS KENNEL MYTHA - How It All Started
+ SIX TWILIGHTS - Six Twilights CD/DVD
+ PAOLO ANGELI - Tessuti
+ NELS CLINE, ANDREA PARKINS, TOM RAINEY - Downpour
+ BLOSSOM TOES - We Are Ever So Clean - If Only for a Moment
+ SINEAD O'CONNOR - Theology
+ CHICAGO UNDERGROUND TRIO - Chronicle CD/DVD / TIGERSMILK - Android Love Cry
>> SUN RA & HIS ASTRO-INFINITY ARKESTRA - Strange Strings / SUN RA & HIS INTERGALACTIC-INFINITY ARKESTRA - The Night of the Purple Moon
+ PJUSK - Sart / JODI CAVE - For Myria
+ MARCUS SCHMICKLER / HAYDEN CHISHOLM - Amazing Daze / ASMUS TIETCHENS / RICHARD CHARTIER - Fabrication / RAFAEL TORAL - Space Solo 1 / BRION GYSIN - Live in London 1982 / SUPERMAYER - Supermayer Save the World / VALGEIR SIGURDSSON - Ekvilibrium
+ WOLFMANGLER - Cooking with Wolves
+ BORBETOMAGUS & HIJOKAIDAN - Both Noises End Burning / PETER BROTZMANN OCTET - The Complete Machine Gun Sessions / KEVIN DRUMM & DANIEL MENCHE - Gauntlet
+ TIMELESS PULSE - Quintet
+ SKALLANDER - Skallander
+ THE OSCILLATION - Out of Phase
+ MATT McCORMICK - Very Stereo
+ PUMICE - Pebbles
+ MICHIO KURIHARA - Sunset Notes
+ BLAINE L. REININGER - Glossolalia
+ VOLUME - Aeter

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ A source of energy - rozmowa z duo Modeselektor
+ A mixture of things - rozmowa z Quio