Sun Ra

The Solar-Myth Approach, Vol. 1

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One of Sun Ra's more experimental sets (and that's saying something), 1970's The Solar-Myth Approach, Vol. 1 is an eclectic set of tapes from sessions that date back to 1967 and include some of Sun Ra's earliest experiments with Moog synthesizers (the clatteringly primitive solo "Scene III, Took 4" sounds like it could have come from the very first time he experimented with the machine) and evidence of his increasing interest in dissonance and repetition. For example, the opening "Spectrum" sets various horn and reed players against each other in such a fashion that they sound woozily out of tune, even though they're playing in the same key; like most of the rest of the album, this piece is built on the most minimal compositional skeleton, with little in the way of melodic development or counterpoint. The pieces are also recorded with typically eccentric instrument groupings; most of the ten-minute "Legend" is an extended duet for trombones, and only the rollicking "They'll Come Back" has a typical small-combo lineup. Those who are into Sun Ra's most non-traditional musical ideas should look no further.

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