Sun Ra’s Other Worlds

On a rare occasion a couple of nights ago, I took the bus home at a late hour. Sufficently late, taking the bus to my place includes a 20 mins walk from the bus stop. Walking through the night, under a clear sky (a rare occasion it was, indeed) I listened to Sun Ra’s magnificent Lanquidity. I’ve appreciated Lanquidity for a while, particularly the title track. The other night, however, I discovered a couple of new aspects of it.

First, I was struck by the power the contrast between the baritone & alto saxophones generates (uh, I’m no expert by the way, that may well be a tenor sax) on Twin Stars of Thence. I was soon in for more powerful effects.

Second, I could readily imagine someone listening to the last track, There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of), with its driving rythm section, layers of flutes, percussion and pianos which all waves in and out of the sound picture, and the repeated whispering message There are other worlds they have not told you of … wish to speak to you, particularly if under the influence of some substance, to start to communicate with themself (who else, I mean, seriously, who else) on some level, fulfilling the music. Sun Ra conjures an illusion of chaos, and the surprising outro serves as an intro to the ‘other worlds.’ When silence finally settles, a void opens, and an influenced, confused mind may fill it with whatever otherwordly stuff.

Keep an open mind. Go listen.


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