Album Review

John Cage Meets Sun Ra

Number 6   5/22/2021   A Library

Coney Island, live 1986

there is a lot going on and not a lot going on here.  to get it all in perspective it’s best to listen to all four sides and memorize the liner details.  to summarize:  it features prominent solo synth, solo silence, and solo vocal as well as some of the aforementioned qualities even when both titans play together.  the emphasis continues to explore improvisation over composition. Ra’s solo vocal tracks are not silent nothing or wordless like all of Cage’s solo hummed and mumbling vocals or in his case, actual silence.  Ra’s vocal poetry is just difficult to hear.  you will need to raise the volume to the loudest setting.  Ra’s reputation using multiple synths was established and well-known especially his passion for Moog, Minimoog, Arp and Buchla synths, but Ra got to play with the new DX7 (introduced in 1983), which will likely be the highlight for most Sun Ra fanatics and synth freaks as well.  as for Cage and Ra duets?  they seem to not even be present on the record.  and what does Cage actually contribute to this release? and with the way the titles present this as a collection, who knows, were both legends in on the prank?   

Grade:  John Cage – F; Sun Ra – A

extra credit – transparent vinyl

notes:  other synth track by someone other than Sun Ra – Marshall Allan’s Untitled Wind Synthesizer; Enlightenment is the only song on the album and the one with the only singing by June Tyson. it perfectly doesn’t belong. is it a so bad it’s good KFJC standard? you bet

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