Other Planes of There (1964) presents Sun Ra (piano) and his Solar Arkestra once again pushing the boundaries on five Ra originals. The exceedingly experimental works are marked by the performers as much as they are by the compositions. The opening title track is an expansive suite of sounds adhering only to the boundless limits of the combo's sonic canvas. Each soloist is given ample room to propel the piece between the inspired Arkestra interjections, which in turn clears the way for the next one. This isn't exactly call-and-response, however there are correlations between the respective and (at times) disparate juxtapositions. John Gilmore's (tenor sax) maniacal wails are matched by Marshall Allen (oboe) and Danny Davis (alto sax) -- the latter of whom quickly establishes the cut's moody and schizophrenic nature. By contrast, "Sound Spectra/Spec Sket" commences with the percussive pairing of Roger Blank (drums) and Lex Humphries (drums) asserting unified rhythmic patterns that are countered by a compact melody from Walter Miller (trumpet). His regal nuances are tentatively met by Ronnie Boykins (bass) and then Ra, who weave their lines considerately, rather than in a flurry of impassioned abandon. "Sketch" bops freely as Gilmore forges a seemingly straight-ahead tune, until Ra's frenzied and ardent runs overpoweringly steer the number further out. Pat Patrick's (baritone sax) sublime contributions are at the center of "Pleasure," smouldering with a measured and dreamy sense of portents. The long player concludes in much the same way that it began, sporting a full ensemble blowout on "Spiral Galaxy." Granted, the selection is certainly not as abrasive and demanding as later efforts, although there is strident involvement from everyone within the dense arrangement. The brass and reed sections provide emphasis behind an off-kilter and loping waltz backdrop. All the more impressive is how well the material has held up over the decades. Even to seasoned ears, the music is pungent and uninhibited, making Other Planes of There a highly recommended collection.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer