By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel“Enlightenment” (originally on Jazz in Silhouette) has a gorgeous melody, with Milesesque cool boppishness. Evidence vice president Jerry Gordon’s idea of a nice, accessible Sun Ra compilation includes a wide range of tracks from 15 different Saturn albums recorded between ’56 and ’73. There’s also a piece from the soundtrack to the must-see Sun Ra movie Space Is the Place and a couple of singles from the essential Evidence double CD The Singles.
When Angels Speak of LoveRecorded at the Choreographer’s Workshop in New York City in 1963 during a period when the band recorded all of their rehearsals on reel-to-reel Ampex (engineered by drummer Tommy “Bugs” Hunter, holding sticks in one hand and tweaking knobs with the other; Hunter accidentally put the output in the input and created amazing delay and reverb effects, which Sun Ra loved). Tortured, dense, and a demanding time for the novice.
LanquidityThis is the real sleeper of the bunch. Recorded by Bob Blank and Joe Arlotta at Blank Tapes Studio, NYC, circa ’78. Gasp with astonishment while this pup slides into slo-mo dubby bass with buggy slapped-out drums, making Lanquidity the Great Lost Sun Ra Dub Album. One track gets bogged down with warmed-over funk and McLaughlinesque electric guitar threatening to kill the buzz, but be patient: A coupla spins more and it all starts to sink in. Then there’s the vocal ensemble–enhanced “There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of),” which closes this one as the party-track must-have, reminding you why you’re still a Sun Ra freak.
The Sun Ra Arkestra, now under the direction of Marshall Allen (the alto saxist who can play the highest microtones in the history of the instrument), performs at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday, September 12.