Sun Ra

Points on a Space Age

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Points on a Space Age is a rather brief and unsatisfactory overview of the Sun Ra Arkestra as they were functioning after the death of their leader, under the direction of Arkestra member Marshall Allen. Running 32 minutes (not, as stated on the back cover, 60 minutes), it blends footage of the post-founder Arkestra (playing in various unspecified small venues at undetermined times) with interviews with bandmembers and snippets of vintage home movies of the Arkestra when Sun Ra was alive. Linked by voice-over narration (by director Ephraim Asili) from the text of Ra's poetry book The Immeasurable Equation, the musical segments are most notable for the group's strikingly colorful stage wardrobes, augmented in one scene by a low-altitude trapeze artist. The sound quality of the music is OK but not great, and the same goes for the visuals, which are kind of between good home video footage and proper pro film level (occasionally using split screens). The interviews tend to offer aphorisms rather than detail or history, and the individual musical excerpts don't last very long, not allowing any of the discrete performances to build up much steam. This might hold some interest for serious Sun Ra fans, but those looking for more of an informative overview of his band's significance, or even an exciting sampling of its concert music, are likely to be disappointed.