Album Review

Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Strange Strings (2006)

humana   8/3/2007   A Library

Free improvisation jazz recorded in New York circa 1966 and 1967. Apparently Sun Ra’s only directions to his Arkestra were when to start playing and when to stop. “Lost in Space” best describes this music, thanks to close proximity of a microphone that amplifies horns and strings through reverb and distortion.
1 (10:17) Full of energy, loudness, chaos. Not calm at all, but persistent in its noise. Pauses at 0:44, then the metal percussion serenades us until the song ends at 0:07. Horns dominate.
*2 (12:47) Percussion dominates. A piece of sheet metal is used to accompany other-worldly, wordless vocals described as “gargling” in the liner notes. A plucked string signals the end at 0:11.
3 (20:23) First half of song features a ukelin, which is a bowed and strummed zither from the early 1900s. Dutar and bandura are the strings featured in the second half of this song. Ends at 0:10.
4 (10:29) Sun Ra plays squeaking door (with Mini-Moog) as accompaniment to strings and percussion. Gives new meaning to what liner notes calls “musical uncanny”.

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