Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sun Ra - Of Mythic Worlds [1981]

“Mayan Temples” is a great slow-burner of an opener that sees some beautiful flutework weaving its way through Sun Ra's keyboard melodies and the fantastic percussion work, ending with some well deserved applause. It leads into the extremely jaunty piano-led “Over The Rainbow” sees Sun Ra at perhaps his most whimsical, witH the beautiful piano melody meandering along over the steady drumbeat - Sun Ra’s interpretation of this Wizard of Oz classic is easily my favourite that I’ve heard yet, even outdoing the version on Ra’s “Disco 3000 “Inside the Blues” again sees Sun Ra’s piano as the focal point of the piece and sees some passionate soloing from Ra over the infectious handclap rhythms. However, things take a turn for the weirder with “Intrinsic Energies”, as Ra’s keyboard takes on a far less conventional sound alongside the far looser percussion and odd, low electronic sounds floating around in the background and the cacophonous trill of the Arkestra’s horn section. The titular closer is easily the best piece here, clocking in at almost 13 minutes: It starts off with a groovy percussion jam between Arkestra members before Gilmore’s [?] saxophone kicks in over Ra’s plodding keyboard melodies. As the saxophone soars with spiritual fieriness, Ra’s keyboard stabs into the foreground, running through lines at a crazed pace as the saxophone melody starts to sound even more desperate, almost strangulated, as the percussion players bang on in the background, being drowned out by the frenzied saxophone playing. The saxophone eventually fades out as Sun Ra’s otherworldly keyboard melodies take centre stage, swirling around, spaced-out over the increasingly frenetic drumming, before the saxophone returns in triumphant ecstasy, with the track ending in beautiful cacophony.

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