November 9, 2008

Sun Ra Sunday

Sun Ra & His Astro Infinity Arkestra: My Brother the Wind Volume II (Evidence 22040)

Recorded NYC 1969-1970
Originally released as El Saturn LP 523

Tracks one through six consist of what discographer Robert L. Campbell aptly describes as “spaced out barbeque music” with Ra playing the warm and woody Hammond organ and featuring two exquisite vocal performances by June Tyson on “Somebody Else’s World” and “Walking On the Moon.” The remainder of the LP is something of a suite for solo MiniMoog synthesizer, wherein Ra conjures up apocalyptic clouds of cosmic noise. I’m reminded of this enlightening exchange with Sun Ra in Graham Lock's wonderful book, Forces in Motion (Da Capo, p.17):

GRAHAM LOCK: Were there any particular sounds that first attracted you to the synthesizer?

SUN RA: I like all the sounds that upset people, because they’s too complacent. There are some sounds that really upset ‘em and I like to shock them out of their complacency ‘cause it’s a very bad world in a lot of aspects. They need to wake up to know how bad it is, then maybe they’ll do somethin’ about it.

GRAHAM LOCK: You think music can spur people into action?

SUN RA: Of course it can. It’s just…you have a lot of commercial folks on this planet who took the music and used it to make money, but now people have heard so much of that music they’ve been sated with sound. But the spirit, it gets very little food I’d say. And the spirit needs something too. It says, ‘What about me? I need some beautiful music or beautiful poetry.’ I think the people on this planet are starving their spiritual selves. See, music is a spiritual language, ‘n’ that’s what I have to offer, so I’m gonna put it out there and maybe people will do somethin’ right. They may not want to, but they be compelled to (chuckles).

1 comment:

Sam said...

I have always wished Ra had recorded more on organ, in the same vein as this LP. "Somewhere Else" is one of my all-time favorite Ra tunes. Love it when he rides that low chord during the head. The mini-moog stuff is just beautiful, and says so much about Ra: as early in the moog's development as these recordings are, it sounds like the instrument was tailor-made for him.