Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Although Sun Ra has long since departed for space, it seem that there are always new recordings of the prolific avant-jazz master cropping up. That, or he's transmitting from his space pyramid located on one of the moons of Saturn. Anyway, this one appeared to some cultish fanfare about ten years ago. It far from his most experimental works, but it does have a late 70's jazz funk vibe creeping up that is a bit of a departure. There are no improvised, screaming horn sections here, making this somewhat less intimidating than some of his other work from the decade. I will go ahead and note that side two does crank up the avant-garde voltage a touch, but it all makes for a pretty smooth listen.
The opening title track does of fine job of a slow burn funk intro amongst the swirling sounds of the horns and synths so that "Where Pathways Meet" and "That's How I Feel" can be more straight up funky. It's like an abnormal evening in the weird part of the city. The last two tracks launch a little further into the stratosphere. As a basic reference point, you might think of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" period, but in the end Sun Ra rarely sounds like anyone else. These tracks feature some pretty phenomenal, wild electric piano pounding by the sun god.
As Sun Ra dabbled in many styles, there's not a particularly good starting point for his music short of a compilation. This is a fine, accessible album, though, and isn't the worst place to start. Those of you already inducted into the cult of Ra will find this an interesting excursion into electric jazz funk that Ra never really replicated on his other albums (although there are probably five more in the vaults that only 17 people have heard).
Sun Ra - 1978 - Lanquidity