Sun Ra

Outer Space Employment Agency

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    6
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Recorded on September 9, 1973 at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, this is a fair-fidelity live document; the sound is listenable, but not exceptional. Of the three tracks, "Discipline 99" and "Love in Outer Space" are by far the more cacophonous, with Sun Ra's spooky farfisa organ and mini-moog being by far the most interesting elements in the inscrutable brew. The 20-minute medley "At First There Was Nothing/The Universe Has More to Offer You/Wake Up Angels/Outer Space Employment Agency" -- yes, that's the full title -- is more ingratiating. Anchored on a lilting swing groove, much of it is devoted to the inimitable, and uplifting if not purely sensical, cosmic rap-philosophizing of the Arkestra, joined by vocalist June Tyson. If this were the only aural evidence of the Arkestra in this era, you could still get a sense of their more enduring qualities. But there are better-sounding albums of this phase of their development; this should be investigated by those hungry to hear Sun Ra in quantity.

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