SPACEMAN, J. & MATTHEW SHIPP SpaceShipp (Treader) cd 17.98
This match-up had to happen really, even if it was just so they could call the record SpaceShipp. Legendary Jazz pianist Matthew Shipp teams up with Spacemen 3's Jason Spaceman for two extended pieces of modern minimal dronemusic. Apparently the two performed live together at Patty Smith's Meltdown Festival, and this recording is an extension / corollary of that performance. And it's a doozy. Shipp abandons the piano in favor of the Harmonium, while Spaceman wields his trusty Vox Starstreamer, the two conjure up some seriously deep drones. The opener is the 41 minute "Inner", and is a slow moving near static stretch of massive minimalism, the guitar and organ unfurling long tones, creating all sorts of layers and textures, complex overtones, and subtle barely there rhythms, the obvious references are Reich, Niblock and Palestine. The piece occasionally shifts and the tones become fuzzier, a bit more blown out and buzzy, but they quickly revert to their more murky washed out state. Total divine Ur-drone action, mesmerizing, hypnotic, and dreamlike. The second track, "Outer", is only 11 minutes long, and features Shipp on the Celeste, creating delicate crystalline music box like melodies, while Spaceman creates all sorts of scrapes and buzz in the background, which slowly coalesces into a Spacemen 3 sort of looped buzz, the two elements at odds, but strangely complimentary, the combined sound woozy, warped and warbly, but still haunting and strangely lovely. Gorgeously packaged like all Treader releases, this one features a blue matte paper fold over sleeve, with a metallic gold jellyfish embossed on the front.
"Inner" MPEG Stream:
SPARKS, TIM At The Rebbe's Table (Tzadik) cd 16.98
Inoffensive classical guitar jazz in John Zorn's new series of background music for upscale dinner parties, in which the horrors of globalization are discussed without being aware of the irony that all of the guests are sporting clothes from The Gap.
"Returning From The River" RealAudio clip:
"At The Rebbe's Table" RealAudio clip:
SPIDER TRIO Live @ Rendezvous / Jewelbox Theatre (self-released) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We've only got a couple of these; so we won't take too long in expounding upon the virtues of the Seattle heavy free-jazz ensemble The Spider Trio. Two of the members of the trio (Jeffrey Taylor and Dave Abramson) are current members of the ever entertaining / ever perplexing / ever compelling Climax Goldwn Twins, with the final member being saxophonist / painter Wally Shoup. Taylor quips that he may be the sole practitioner of a thing called "avant-garde free hillbilly guitar playing;" and yeah, his pseudo-Appalachian boogie deftly counterpoints Shoup's bleat and skronk while Abramson propels the ensemble with oblique fills and angular explosions of dynamic rhythm. Limited to 50 copies, each graced with a hand painted water color by Mr. Shoup.
"Track 2" MPEG Stream:
SPLINT! Moro (Lampse) cd 17.98
We were a bit thrown for a loop when we first heard this Lampse release by Splint! We've been digging everything Lampse has been putting out (Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Gultskra Artikler) all of which are more on the noisy, murky, crackly and mysterious side of things. Splint! however has a sound way different then any of their labelmates, but we're always happy to when a label mixes things up and shows us they aren't just a one trick pony. Splint! are a quartet who merge electronics with trumpet, synthesizer, guitar and percussion to create a rich and moody sound that is influenced equally by exploratory jazz (think Bill Laswell's reconstruction of Miles Davis) as it is the sonic explorations of Delia Derbyshire and the archives of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. We weren't grabbed at first, but as the record progresses, it builds and expands, unveiling a more engaging and compelling sound that unfolds blossoming-flower-like after the first couple tracks. In fact there are even moments that make us think of what a group on Rune Grammofon covering later Coil might sound like. So while on the surface this is much different sounding then anything else on Lampse, it still shares those intangible qualities of mystery and suspense that has made Lampse one of our favorite new labels.
"Fooj" MPEG Stream:
"Sintjom" MPEG Stream:
SPLINTER GROUP s/t (W.D.T.C.H.C.) cd 13.98
G.E. Stinson and friends!
SPOOKY, DJ Optometry (Thirsty Ear) cd 15.98
An interesting project -- DJ Spooky, resident illbient black boho issuing missives to the masses from NYC (eeuw, I'm starting to talk like him), enlists the talents of excellent avant / free jazzmen: shimmering piano courtesy Matthew Shipp, cakewalkin' groovy bass from William Parker, squeals and cries from Joe McPhee's horns, athletic, careful drumming from Guillermo E. Brown. And of course, Spooky on laptop / turntables / kalimba etc. I was all set for this to suck, but it doesn't suck. It's "jazzy" trip hop that works. It's actually some of the most accessible work I've heard from these jazz virtuosi, so it's a nice introduction to them if you find truly free jazz too abstract to enjoy. Once in a while some sadly predictable breakbeats cheapen the music, but those segments don't occur too often. Augmented with the vocal flow of Carl Hancock Rux, Napoleon, High Priest (Anti-Pop Consortium). Pauline Oliveros even makes an appearance. If you like the clips below, you'll like the album. WARNING: Just for heavens sake *don't* read the liner notes -- Spooky's so frickin' pretentious he ruins the experience. Let others do the critical analysis, no one wants to hear you analyze your own work, man! It's as if he thinks we won't "get it" unless he takes us by the hand and explains. The guy needs an editor: "Check the vibe as jazz for the gene-splicing generation. An echo of the here and now put through the hard drive... It's a voodoo economics of the sound waves rolling across the basilar membrane... It's a post-rational thing... It's a synaethesia [sic] thing...Use your eyes to hear and your ears to see -- check the rhythm reality." Aaargh! Is he stoned or something?
"ibid, desmarches, ibid" RealAudio clip:
"Reactive Switching Strategies for the Control of Uninhabited Air" RealAudio clip:
"It's a mad, mad, mad, world"
SPRAWL s/t (Trost) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Noise/jazz/improv/rock unit Sprawl has a lineup that includes saxophone legend Peter Brotzmann, bassist extraordinare William Parker and reedsman Alex Buess (of Swiss jazz-industrialists 16-17 as well as Ice and God). Since any of those names by themselves pretty much insures top quality, we had high expectations for this disc, and it's no disappointment. Also in the band, guitarist Stephan Wittiuer and drummer Michael Wertmuller (Alboth!, Caspar Brotzmann Massaker). Fans of those bands, Last Exit, etc., must take note. Looks like a 1997 release, but we've not come across it until now, due to it being a Austrian import.
SPRING HEEL JACK Amassed (Thirsty Ear) cd 16.98
A follow up to last year's successful "Masses" cd, on which UK electronica duo Spring Heel Jack edited and manipulated the raw improvisations of a host of Downtown NYC (and beyond) jazz musicians, in what was one of the the best and most original entries yet in Thirsty Ear's pretty great "Blue Series" of happenin' now jazz. Like that disc, this one also fortunately eschews the obvious "let's add some techno beats to this trumpet solo" kind of thing you might expect from an electronica remix project, and really approaches the music from within, SHJ using their computers carefully to meld disparate performances together into something that definitely remains jazz -- but with an undercurrent of glitchy crackle and drone. It's kind of like a free jazz version of Radian or Pluramon (to cite two computer-aided post-rock/electronica projects, both faves around here). The SHJ fellows are really listening and reacting, like improvisors do, and there are some great musicians on here for them (and us) to listen to. There's two returnees from the "Masses" line-up: legendary British saxophonist Evan Parker and Blue Series curator Matthew Shipp (on Fender Rhodes). And then there's also the likes of trombonist Paul Rutherford, drummer Han Bennink, violinist Ed Coxon, bassist George Trebar, trumpter Kenny Wheeler, bassist John Edwards, and, the oddball in the bunch, guitarist Jason Pierce of Spiritualized fame (who must be responsible for the distorted guitar noise found on "Maroc" and elsewhere). With that kind of talent on hand, SHJ had a lot to work with, and they did a great job, creating layered compositions that retain the players' voices even as they are juxataposed into unimagined new situations. The results are moody, melodic but abstract, rarely (but sometimes) abrasive, nicely noir-ish...android jazz for some Blade Runner coctail bar. Dark, dense, lovely. Jazz purists might scoff, but actually we'd rather listen to this than a lot of straight improv stuff done by the above musicians -- the combination of the instrumentalists' unfettered expression and SHJ's editing and structuring (and sonic additions) really works well here. Recommended.
"Amassed" RealAudio clip:
"Maroc" RealAudio clip:
SPRING HEEL JACK Live (Thirsty Ear) cd 16.98
Recently, the Spring Heel Jack duo of John Coxon and Ashley Wales took their amazing "Masses" / "Amassed" jazz-meets-electronics project on the road, and we've now got this aptly-titled disc to prove it. Yep, live performances recorded at two shows in England this past January featuring several of the veteran jazz players who appeared on "Masses" and "Amassed" -- Matthew Shipp, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, William Parker -- alongside electric guitarist Jason Pierce of Spiritualized (who contributed to "Amassed") and the Spring Heel Jack guys themselves adding their two cents with electronics and live sampling and so forth. If you're not familiar with the two albums by this project already, basically SHJ recorded a bunch of awesome jazz musicians improvising (not necessarily together), fed that into their computer, edited and manipulated and juxtaposed, and came up with a pretty great jazz/electronics hybrid, that's neither wholly improv nor pre-composed. And it's definitely NOT drum and bass overlaid with jazz samples, fear not. Imagine a jazz version of Radian, if you know that band (another parallel would be to Pluramon). How would it work live, though? A bit differently, but with players of the calibre they've gathered here, it's still gotta be good. SHJ's opportunity for structuring and editing done in post-production is obviously lessened or eliminated, but the duo remain in their role as facilitators, and there's definitely a lot of electricity present, in all senses. The two long tracks here (75 minutes total on the disc) can get really wild and messy with the guitar distortion of "J Spaceman" vying with E. Parker's tenor for supremacy amid a bed of hectic Bennick drumming and SHJ electronic effects. Yet at other times W. Parker's bass and Shipp's Fender Rhodes groove right along with Bennink laying back. The music ebbs and flows, different groupings of players and soloists taking their turns. As a group, everyone seems to be revelling in freedom yet stays responsible to the music the group is making. This would seem a good bet for fans of Sun Ra, Supersilent, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, and Evan Parker's previous experiments with live electronic accompaniment.
SPRING HEEL JACK Songs & Themes (Thirsty Ear) cd 16.98
"With Out Words" MPEG Stream:
SPRING HEEL JACK The Sweetness Of The Water (Thirsty Ear) cd 16.98
John Coxon and Ashley Wales (aka Spring Heel Jack) have really got a good thing going with the several electronics-abetted jazz experiments they've been brewing up for the Thirsty Ear label's Blue Series: Masses, Amassed, Live, and now this one, The Sweetness Of The Water. Their usual procedure is to get a bunch of A-list avant improvisers together in various combinations, record, and then create via their deft editing and processing something more constructed and composed, using the computer to do so without obscuring the original spark and feel of the live improviations. In fact it's quite unclear at what point in the recording/mixing process the entirely respectful, subtle electronic elements have been introduced. On this album we hear the talents of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, sax man Evan Parker, drummer Mark Sanders, and bassist John Edwards, alongside the contributions of the Spring Heel Jack duo. There's some scritchy sonic scribbling, and spacious note-lush drone, and lyrical melodicism (often accompanied by that lovely electronic crackle of which we here at AQ just can't get enough) and all kinds of gorgeous playing to be found here, on what's definitely a 21st century jazz album, in a vein sorta similiar to Supersilent or Trapist. As with the others from Spring Heel Jack and their heavy jazz friends so far, recommended!
"Track Four" MPEG Stream:
SPUNK En Aldeles Forferdelig Sykdom (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
The four ladies of the Norwegian group Spunk know about the possibilities of playful improvisation done right. Since their formation in 1999 they have been experimenting with the combination of the instruments they are well trained on like cello, trumpet, french horn ands mixing those with toys, electronics, percussion and the distinct voice as instrument that Maje Ratke provides. This album finds them in top form. Going from manic outbursts to dreamlike elegance at the drop of a hat. While so much of what bills itself as "free jazz" is actually so far away from actually being free or original, Spunk tap into the right kind of improvisational spirit. You could imagine playing this after early Matmos, Don Cherry's "Mu" and then Bjork's most experimental instrumentation. For seekers of adventurous spirit, once again Spunk have got your fix.
"" MPEG Stream:
SSSD Home (Grob) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The always-intriguing European experimental label Grob presents a disc of low-key guitar improvisation from a group consisting of four names well-known in international abstract avant improv circles: Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Werner Dafeldecker, and Taku Sugimoto (we *love* Taku Sugimoto). Three of 'em on guitar, one on bass, to be accurate. A pluck here, a drone there, mellow tones and quiet crackle. Liquid, minimal, gentle, careful. Patient music, giving respect to silence. No FMP-ish skree here -- at its loudest a swell of buzzing builds that's more soothing than threatening. Recorded live, perhaps processed and perfected in post-production.
"Hard" RealAudio clip:
ST. GERMAIN Tourist (Blue Note) cd 16.98
I hate to admit it, but I like this record. St Germain is jazz for people who don't listen to jazz, but listen to Kruder and Dorfmeister or Kid Loco and wouldn't mind if it was, well, a little jazzier. And damn if it isn't. The first track is a Mo Wax style slow burner made from a looped old Blue Note record making for some awesome smoky late night cruising music. There's some crazy breathy hiccupping flute ala Herbie Mann or Roland Kirk and some really nice grooves. The only downside, is St. Germain's propensity for house music. A lot of the tracks start off really wicked, but then are watered down by a generic house 4/4 beat. That aside, this is a pretty cool record (and I do listen to jazz!).
"La Goutte D'or"
STARK REALITY Now (Stones Throw / Now-Again) cd 16.98
Here's a weird one. Imagine a late-sixties jazz-funk combo playing fucked up versions of children's songs written in the 40s and 50s by Hoagy Carmichael. Actually, you don't have to imagine that, if you just listen to this disc. 'Cause that's what's happening here. The first eight tracks on this cd were orginally released in 1970 as "The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop" LP. Dunno what kids thought of it, but the heads must have loved it, unless it tripped 'em out too much. The idea (hatched by Hoagy's son Bix, who worked at Boston's WGBH public TV station with musican Monty Stark, the leader of The Stark Reality) was to psychedelize ol' Hoagy's music for hippie youngsters. The result were these awkwardly funky, severely distorted (in every possible way), jazzed-out cuts, featuring Stark's crazily atonal fuzz-equipped vibes and bizarrely straight singing/rhyming. The music appeared in a WGBH kid's show, then was released on LP. That LP is apparently quite an expensive rarity these days, with those that have heard it either thinking it brilliant or insane or both. The LP track "Rocket Ship" was one of Windy's favorite cuts on Peanut Butter Wolf's recent "Jukebox 45" mix cd, and he has now reissued the whole album on his Stones Throw label, so we all can judge its merits, along with several non-Hoagy bonus cuts. The thorough liner notes do their best to explain the whole deal, and indicate that more than one lucky beat-diggin' hip hop DJ has made this their secret weapon. It's utterly ridiculous yet oddly compelling. You'll either have to turn it off after two minutes or it'll become an all-time fave, that's the sort of record this is! Easily the most warped, heaviest jams ever on subjects like basic musical notation, remembering the number of days in each month, and recipes for cooking stew. I mean, some of this makes Sun Ra's wiggiest solos sound normal.
"Junkman's Song" MPEG Stream:
"All You Need To Make Music"
STARK REALITY Now (Stones Throw / Now-Again) 2lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Also, now available on vinyl! Reviewed last time here on cd, as follows: Here's a weird one. Imagine a late-sixties jazz-funk combo playing fucked up versions of children's songs written in the 40s and 50s by Hoagy Carmichael. Actually, you don't have to imagine that, if you just listen to this disc. 'Cause that's what's happening here. The first eight tracks on this cd were orginally released in 1970 as "The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop" LP. Dunno what kids thought of it, but the heads must have loved it, unless it tripped 'em out too much. The idea (hatched by Hoagy's son Bix, who worked at Boston's WGBH public TV station with musican Monty Stark, the leader of The Stark Reality) was to psychedelize ol' Hoagy's music for hippie youngsters. The result were these awkwardly funky, severely distorted (in every possible way), jazzed-out cuts, featuring Stark's crazily atonal fuzz-equipped vibes and bizarrely straight singing/rhyming. The music appeared in a WGBH kid's show, then was released on LP. That LP is apparently quite an expensive rarity these days, with those that have heard it either thinking it brilliant or insane or both. The LP track "Rocket Ship" was one of Windy's favorite cuts on Peanut Butter Wolf's recent "Jukebox 45" mix cd, and he has now reissued the whole album on his Stones Throw label, so we all can judge its merits, along with several non-Hoagy bonus cuts. The thorough liner notes do their best to explain the whole deal, and indicate that more than one lucky beat-diggin' hip hop DJ has made this their secret weapon. It's utterly ridiculous yet oddly compelling. You'll either have to turn it off after two minutes or it'll become an all-time fave, that's the sort of record this is! Easily the most warped, heaviest jams ever on subjects like basic musical notation, remembering the number of days in each month, and recipes for cooking stew. I mean, some of this makes Sun Ra's wiggiest solos sound normal.
"Junkman's Song" MPEG Stream:
"All You Need To Make Music"
STARSHIP BEER Nut Music: As Free as the Squirrels (Atavistic / Unheard Music Series) cd 14.98
Reissue of this long out-of-print LP, originally released on Land Mammal in 1979. Formed in the early '70's in upstate New York, Starship Beer obviously share a love for Captain Beefheart and free jazz, the group is augmented by the talents of Pat O'Brian and Kevin Whitehead. Although the music itself presents a lot of enthusiasm and spirit, the results seem less successful than the future work of Thinking Fellers or Sun City Girls. Remastered from the original master tapes with several previously unreleased bonus cuts and detailed liner notes.
STEAMBOAT SWITZERLAND AC/DB [Hayden] (Grob) cd 15.98
Dark, sometimes droning improv from this Swiss post-jazz trio (drums, electric bass, Hammond organ/electronics). Maybe not as crazed as their countrymen Alboth! or 16/17, but still full of appeal to folks with John Zorn records in their collections. On this disc, one of two simultaneously released new Grob-label cds by the band, they take two different compositions ("DB", written for them by British composer Sam Hayden, and "AC" by the Steamboat Switzerland guys themselves) and alternate segments throughout the disc, not that you'd necessarily notice...maybe the DB parts are more hyper and chaotic (and jazzy?) and the AC parts the dronier? They work well together at any rate, and it's a satisfying listen for those open to the avant-garde hardcore sound of Switzerland!
"DBIII" RealAudio clip:
STINKING LIZAVETA III (Tolotta) cd 13.98
We've been waiting for this for a loooong time, the new, third (duh) album from one of our favorite bands, the amazing Philadelphian power trio Stinking Lizaveta. The first thing to say is that we like how the front cover shows band members seated in their barren inner-city Philly back yard, while the back cover has a slight variation on the same shot with each band member's pet dog perched on their respective laps...the dogs are indentified by name (Davis, Kira, and Shu Shu), and tracks 7-9 on the cd are named after the dogs! Very nice. They love their dogs. For those who need to know more, let's give you the basics: This is ROCK. Goddamn. An instrumental trio of godly Les Paul guitar, hard-hitting mathrock drums, and virtuoso upright electric bass. It's not exactly metal, it's not jazz, but it's heavy and tight and blows away most other rock outfits on the planet, live especially. And "III", with somewhat fuller production than past efforts, reminds us that Stinking Liz kick ass in the studio too. Imagine Black Flag/Gone mixed with King Crimson, or AC/DC playing Mahavishnu instrumentals, or The Champs falling in love with each other, moving to the country, and practicing yoga. Those are woefully inadequate comparisons, of course, but that's cause this band is its own incredible thing. With "III", they've added some synth and violin to the mix -- and even some half-buried vocals on the very first song -- but primarily what you're going to hear is the basic guitar/bass/drums trio, simply cookin'. With gas. Fuckin' huge propane tanks of it, exploding left and right. Whoops, but then let's not forget the moments of delicate, Eastern-tinged post-rock bliss to be found here as well. Lizaveta's multi-genre rock synthesis results in a unique and varied album, from the tension-buildup of a slowburning track like "Tenuous" to the Frippian ambience of "Diana" to the psychedelic soulshiver of "Naked And Alone" with its doomy Black Sabbath bassline and Yanni's lengthy Fushitsusha style blues-psych guitar blowout. The brothers Papadopoulos (Yanni, guitar and Alexi, bass) and drummer Cheshire Agusta do all this and more, with sincerity, passion and might. Joe Lally (Fugazi) released this on his label Tolotta, best known as the home of stoner rock heroes Spirit Caravan. I'd really like to see both SC and SL go on tour together, that would be something...
"The Sentence" RealAudio clip:
"Revelationary" RealAudio clip:
"The Hanged Man" RealAudio clip:
"Naked and Alone"
STINSON, G.E. Vapor (Ecstatic Peace/Smells Like) cd 14.98
Guitarist Stinson and improvising pals (including object of much AQ-admiration Nels Cline, Stuart Liebig and Gregg Bendian) create a bunch of fine jazzrock skree. Nels Clines' liner notes, written in the the form of "the top ten things you should know about G.E. Stinson", includes the useful fact that he's NOT and never has been that guy from the Saturday Night Live Band.
STRING TRIO OF NEW YORK Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective (Black Saint) cd 17.98
STRONEN / STORLOKKEN Humcrush (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
Members of Norwegian jazz/electronic outfits Supersilent (keyboardist Stale Storlokken) and Food (percussionist Thomas Stronen) collaborate in this duo, making their Rune Grammofon debut with Humcrush. Being fans of both Food and Supersilent (especially!) we were interested to hear this...also most Rune Grammofon stuff is pretty good. And this is! Improvised live in the recording studio but well and truly sounding like weird, tuneful 'songs', this album reminds us a bit of the Shaking Ray Levis, or maybe even a free improv version of Sagor and Swing, if you know either of them. The ramshackle rhythmic clatter of drums, the glitchy hiss and buzz of electronics, and the quirky synth tones combine quite temptingly to our ears. Not to many other 'improv' records boast cuts like "Marked East" that we want to hit repeat on right after they're over. From bright and bouncy (like that track) to moody and mysterious, Humcrush is an enjoyable ride.
"Acrobat" MPEG Stream:
STRONEN, THOMAS Pohlitz (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
Squiggles of electronics and wine-glass clinks bubble up to tickle your ears on Pohlitz, a solo project from Norwegian fusion band Food's drummer Thomas Stronen, whom you may also know from the Humcrush disc he recorded (also for Rune Grammofon) as a duo with Supersilent's Stale Storlokken. But here it really is Stronen strictly solo, a minimalist rhythmic instrumental soundscape of percussion and electronics. Few details are given in the typically handsome and colourful Kim Hiorthoy designed digipackaging, though we are relieved to read that Stronen plays only "beatable items" and thus no NON-beatable items were so abused! From the quiet and restrained sound of most of this there probably wasn't much danger to non-beatable items, anyway. Relaxing, moody, hypnotic pinks and plonks and pulses populate Pohlitz's eight tracks, all recorded live with no overdubs or pre-programming. You have to really listen, but it's impressive, moreso than similar stuff conjured up by laptop jockeys. Very pretty, and chimingly charming.
"Heterogeneous Substances" MPEG Stream:
SUMAC, YMA Recital (ESP) cd 14.98
SUN RA Atlantis (Evidence) cd 15.98
SUN RA Atlantis (Saturn Research) lp 14.98
SUN RA Concert for the Comet Kahoutek (Get Back) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Several ESP-Disc classics have been re-pressed onto 180-gram vinyl by some nice Italians, whoo-ooo! A great early 70's Sun Ra cosmic keyboard/spacefunk concert, *the* essential Patty Waters avant-jazz-vocal platter (with "Black Is the Color Of My True Loves Hair"), a freaky underground scene sound collage document (with the likes of the VU and Allen Ginsberg), and an all-star free jazz soundtrack from '65 with Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai, Gary Peacock, and Sunny Murray! And, as the now-deleted cd reissues of these are becoming harder and harder to come by, just in time.
SUN RA Concert For The Comet Kohoutek (Get Back/ESP-Disk) cd 16.98
We thought that the Dutch label Calibre had taken over the task of reissuing ESP-Disk classics, but for some reason they've licensed some of the titles to the Italian label Get Back, who like to release cds in little cardboard lp-styled sleeves. Anyway, either way, we're glad that this album is back in the racks. One of our favorite of the many Sun Ra documents, this recording dates from December 1973, showcasing Sun Ra's amazing early '70s synth-madness and the Arkestra's jazz-funk spaced-out-chants (like the version found here of the classic "Space Is The Place"). The turbulent cosmic journey of the Comet Kohutek is rendered in sound with Sun Ra's arsenal of keyboard electronics, and celebrated with the space-positive grooves of the rest of the band. Great stuff!
SUN RA Cosmos (Inner City) lp 14.98
SUN RA Disco 3000 (Art Yard) 2cd 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Hard to resist a Sun Ra record with a title like that, eh? And drum machine, too! The late, great, interplanetary legend of Afro-cosmic jazz and his band recorded this newly reissued album live on planet Earth (precise location: Milan, Italy) back in 1978, at the height of disco fever. But of course it ain't really disco!! Instead it's far out free jazz grooviness, full of futuristic synth freakouts and even tinny, metronomic drum machine shuffle. All of which you'll find on the worth the price of admission alone 26 minute title track, which also incorporates the Arkestra's signature "Space Is The Place" chant at one point. Nor does this set stint on screaming horns and energetic battery. Or for that matter mellow, melodic moodiness. Highlights are many, among them the gurgling chaos and solar sax blurt of "Sun Of The Cosmos", and the eerie, glistening, jittering "Dance Of The Cosmo Aliens". Featuring the lineup of John Gilmore (tenor sax, drums, vocals), June Tyson (vocals), Michael Ray (trumpet, vocals), Luqman Ali (drums, vocals) and last but not least Sun Ra himself (piano, organ, Moog synth, rhythm machine, vocals), this expanded double cd reissue of Disco 3000 is definitely cause for rejoicing amongst Sun Ra (and cosmo alien) fans. Over two hours total, this includes the original three tracks from the '78 vinyl release along with NINE more bonus tracks taken from the thankfully well-preserved tapes of the same performance, is packaged in a handsome trifold digpack, and comes with a cd booklet with photos, graphics, and liner notes by trumpeter Michael Ray, who had just hooked up with Sun Ra not long before this recording took place. His mind is still blown! Share something of his experience here...
"Disco 3000" MPEG Stream:
"Sun Of The Cosmos" MPEG Stream:
"Dance Of The Cosmo Aliens"
SUN RA Disco 3000 (Kindred Spirits) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now available on vinyl! Hard to resist a Sun Ra record with a title like that, eh? And drum machine, too! The late, great, interplanetary legend of Afro-cosmic jazz and his band recorded this newly reissued album live on planet Earth (precise location: Milan, Italy) back in 1978, at the height of disco fever. But of course it ain't really disco!! Instead it's far out free jazz grooviness, full of futuristic synth freakouts and even tinny, metronomic drum machine shuffle. All of which you'll find on the worth the price of admission alone 26 minute title track, which also incorporates the Arkestra's signature "Space Is The Place" chant at one point. Nor does this set stint on screaming horns and energetic battery. Or for that matter mellow, melodic moodiness. Highlights are many, among them the gurgling chaos and solar sax blurt of "Sun Of The Cosmos", and the eerie, glistening, jittering "Dance Of The Cosmo Aliens". Featuring the lineup of John Gilmore (tenor sax, drums, vocals), June Tyson (vocals), Michael Ray (trumpet, vocals), Luqman Ali (drums, vocals) and last but not least Sun Ra himself (piano, organ, Moog synth, rhythm machine, vocals), this vinyl reissue of Disco 3000 is definitely cause for rejoicing amongst Sun Ra (and cosmo alien) fans.
"Disco 3000" MPEG Stream:
"Dance Of The Cosmo Aliens"
SUN RA Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold (ESP-Disk) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"The Other World" MPEG Stream:
"Discipline 9" MPEG Stream:
"Dawn Over Israel"
SUN RA Great Lost Sun Ra Albums: Cymbals & Crystal Spears (Evidence) 2cd 31.00
Originally intended for release on the Impulse jazz label 27 years ago, but not available until now! The liner notes explain the story of Sun Ra's brief major label experience (so brief that it resulted in the burial of these recordings). But now, like lost treasures excavated from an ancient tomb (or in this case, the El Saturn vaults), they have returned to our world, and jazz/Sun Ra fans should be thankful. Some song titles, some quite appropriate to the preceeding archeological analogy (heck, they sound like titles from a Nile record!): "The Order Of The Pharaonic Jesters", "The Embassy Of the Living God", "The Eternal Sphynx", "Thoughts Under A Dark Blue Light"... The material on these two discs ranges from the quite lovely to the exceedingly "out". Just expose your ears the opening electronic keyboard attack of "Crystal Spears". Heavy duty Sun Ra, lost treasure indeed!
"The Order Of The Pharaonic Jesters" RealAudio clip:
SUN RA Greatest Hits (Evidence) cd 16.98
Subtitled: "Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel". Ok, so Sun Ra never really had any "hits" by any commerical standards but these are some fan favorites from Ra's classic El Saturn records, circa 1956-1973 (tracks from 15 lps, actually, plus a song from the Space Is The Place movie soundtrack and two singles cuts). Definitely good place to start for Sun Ra novices, particularily those of a more trad jazz bent. Although these tracks are, as the subtitle indicates, perhaps some of his most "easy listening" (including Monk and Gershwin covers), they are still prime Sun Ra and thus weird and wonderful.
SUN RA Heliocentric Worlds Vol. 3 - The Lost Tapes (ESP-Disk) cd 14.98
Sun Ra's Heliocentric Worlds Vol. 3 is a continuation of Vol. 2, the original tape of which were just recently found, transferred, mastered and released NOW for the first time! These two volumes were recorded in New York City at the RLA Studios on November 16, 1965. Just this collection alone is an incredible piece of music (and I didn't miss the one minute of tape that was destroyed in storage). This recording is from a time when Sun Ra and some of his Solar Arkestra were stranded in New York following a tour of Canada. Removed from their familiar environment in Chicago, they were able to push into groundbreaking musical territory. They combined their empassioned views of the socio-political symptoms of the time with a pushing of their own boundaries within jazz to create not simply music to absorb, but quite nearly a mystical soundtrack to a spirituality-driven social revolution. Sun Ra's involvement with The White Panther Party (an artists' collective from Detroit formed by John and Leni Sinclair after The Black Panther Party) led to this manifestation of their ideas, ideals and demands we hear in the Heliocentric Worlds albums and see in the WPP art work from the time. Together they sought a "total assault on culture". A non-violent social revolution with its terms spoken through music. Incredible. Incredible. Incredible. Where is our Sun Ra of today?
"Heliocentric Worlds" MPEG Stream:
SUN RA Interstellar Low Ways (El Saturn) lp 14.98
SUN RA It is Forbidden (Total Energy) cd 14.98
Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Arkestra return to the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival in Exile 1974, as documented on this live archival release. Eleven rambunctious and festive songs are presented (annoyingly programmed as one single track), and even without songtitles like "Second Stop Jupiter" and "Love In Outer Space" you'd be convinced that they're something just a little spaced-out about them. The title track, we're told, may be making its first recorded appearance here.
SUN RA It's After The End Of The World (Universe) cd 16.98
SUN RA Lanquidity (Evidence) cd 17.98
An exceedingly rare 1978 Sun Ra lp, now lovingly reissued on cd by Evidence as part of a mindboggling new slew of Ra releases. Apparently a fave with acid jazz djs, if they could find a copy of the original lp on the Philly Jazz "micro-label". Five spacey, gorgeous tracks. From the slow, achingly beautiful opening title track, to the space-funk of "Where The Pathways Meet", to the cosmic coctail jazz of "Twin Stars of Thence", and to the final, magnificent, eerie "There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)", with the whispered and chanted voices of Ra, June Tyson, and others imparting unintelligible ancient wisdom, this is a fantastic disc. Don't fear the presence of one "Disco Kid" on guitar, this is far from being cheesy or dated disco dancefloor material. A true "kosmigroove" find, one that of course Sun Ra fans, but also '70s Miles Davis fans, will absolutely love.
SUN RA Lanquidity (Philly Jazz) lp 14.98
Now (again) available on vinyl! Here's what we wrote about the cd reissue that came out three years ago: an exceedingly rare 1978 Sun Ra LP, apparently a fave with acid jazz djs, if they could find a copy of the original lp on the Philly Jazz "micro-label". Five spacey, gorgeous tracks. From the slow, achingly beautiful opening title track, to the space-funk of "Where The Pathways Meet", to the cosmic coctail jazz of "Twin Stars of Thence", and to the final, magnificent, eerie "There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)", with the whispered and chanted voices of Ra, June Tyson, and others imparting unintelligible ancient wisdom, this is a fantastic disc. Don't fear the presence of one "Disco Kid" on guitar, this is far from being cheesy or dated disco dancefloor material. A true "kosmigroove" find, one that of course Sun Ra fans, but also '70s Miles Davis fans, will absolutely love.
SUN RA Life Is Splendid (Total Energy) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A previously unreleased, legendary live recording by Sun Ra & his Solar Myth Orchestra, from 1972's Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival! Space IS the place!
SUN RA Media Dreams (Art Yard) 2cd 31.00
Just the Sun Ra album to make your friends go, "what the bleep bloop is that? (bleep bloop)". That's 'cause the cosmic-Afro-jazz maestro's space age synthesizer extemporaneity is fully one-fourth (or much more!) of the soundfield, this being the product of an unusual quartet lineup (Sun Ra: piano, organ, Moog synth, rhythm machine, vocals, John Gilmore: tenor sax, drums, vocals, Luqman Ali: drums, vocals, Michael Ray: trumpet, vocals), So, want some way-out Sun Ra action? Check this out! The groaning low-end synth that starts disc one, track one ("Saturn Research") should immediately get your attention. And by track two, "Constellation", Ra & Co. have gotten into a groove worthy of the Star Wars cantina... Throughout, all sorts of warped electronic sounds are conjured by Ra's keyboards, with his primitive drum machine occasionally also augmenting the beats of the live drummer in the mix. This is the follow up Disco 3000, highlighted here a few weeks ago, and if you liked that, you'll like this too. If anything it's possessed of even more mystery and otherworldliness (as only Sun Ra can deliver, in the realm of jazz or elsewhere). Again, as with Art Yard's Disco 3000 reissue, this is an expanded double cd edition (13 tracks, 96 minutes), restoring much previously unreleased music from the original performance tapes recorded on tour in Italy in 1978, with this unique four-piece mini-Arkestra. Like we said, this is laced with lots of spooky electronic drone and bleepage, but of course as "out" as it gets, being a Sun Ra record there's a lot of jazz tradition to it too, with Ra getting melodic on the piano, and featuring plenty of gorgeous sax soloing from Gilmore, though he gets freaky with it too. Plus there's scaled-down versions of some of the Arkestra's famous space-positive chants -- and a rather more negative chant as well: "The Truth About Planet Earth... Is A Bad Truth!" They sound inexplicably happy chanting that one, maybe 'cause they have travel plans to other planets anyway -- the next track after it is "Space Is The Place".
"Saturn Research" MPEG Stream:
"Media Dreams" MPEG Stream:
"Twigs At Twilight"
SUN RA Music From Tomorrow's World (Atavistic / Unheard Music Series) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. These never-before issued recordings are of live performances in 1960 at the Wonder Inn and Majestic Hall, before Sun Ra moved his Arkestra out of Chicago to New York. Arkestra sessions at the Wonder Inn drew many emerging avant-jazz players who would later define the new sound, and these dates include Philip Cohran (who would go onto the AACM and his own Ethnic Heritage Ensemble), Ronnie Boykins, John Gilmore, and Marshal Allen. At the Wonder Inn, Gershwin standards, complete with vocals, are given time alongside Sun Ra originals; at Majestic Hall, inventive percussive improvs share space with almost romantic melodicism and space-age big band riffs. "Music From Tomorrow's World" is an illuminating insight into an idea in development: the Arkestra ranks are relatively small compared to later incarnations, the extra-terrestrial costumes are just beginning, and the sound is in transition from post-bop to more experimental approaches.
"Space Aura" RealAudio clip:
SUN RA Newport Jazz Festival / The Electric Circus (Transparency) 2cd 16.98
SUN RA Nidhamu & Dark Myth Equation Visitation (Art Yard) cd 22.00
SUN RA Of Mythic Worlds (Philly Jazz) lp 14.98
SUN RA On Jupiter (Art Yard) cd 17.98
Recorded just one year after the classic Lanquidity, our all time AQ Sun Ra favorite, our ears are finally getting to groove on the spaced out soulful and funk fueled sounds of On Jupiter. As always Sun Ra was in his own galaxy, and the orbit he was inhabiting here was sort of in a great Funkadelic gone cosmic jazz sensation armed with tripped out ensemble vocals as well as the voice of June Tyson on the title track. With just three perfectly titled tracks "On Jupiter", "UFO", and "Seductive Fantasy" you really can judge the record based on those song titles and its intergalactic spacefreefunk cover art. We got a feeling that this Sun Ra album gets heavy rotation in the living rooms of Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley) as well as in the homes of all the Beastie Boys who have tried to channel Sun Ra's intergalactic and genre defying freewheeling spirit into their own sounds. On Jupiter really does pack a bit of everything into its half hour, from beautifully played forward thinking jazz (Sun Ra's piano playing on the closing track is so pretty!) to its more cosmic-funk freakouts filled with dirty bass and guitar, and somehow it maintains a total cohesion that many Sun Ra recordings, in all their genius, seem to lack. We're loving this!
"On Jupiter" MPEG Stream:
"UFO" MPEG Stream:
SUN RA Outer Space Employment Agency (Total Energy) cd 13.98
Live at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival 1973! Starts off with some almost Merzbowian keyboard noise. Good sound, & liner notes by John Sinclair.
SUN RA Pathways to Unknown Worlds / Friendly Love (Evidence) cd 15.98
One rare, and one unreleased Sun Ra lp combined on single disc. Dating from the early-mid '70s, these lps seem like classic Ra of the period, featuring most desired Sun Ra motifs from stately spaciness, to keyboard exoticism, to screaming horn soloing. Both lps were intended for Impulse records, but only "Pathways" actually made it out at the time (and is now presented in remixed form with a bonus track previously omitted for technical reasons, now corrected). Beauty, noise, genius, another treat for Sun Ra fans.
SUN RA Shadows Took Shape (Transparency) 2cd 15.98