SUN RA ARKESTRA: Strange Strings (Deluxe CD reissue)
The legendary Arkestra release from 1967 in which, for 32 of its 40+ minutes, the entire band played only acoustic and electrified stringed instruments - collected by Ra or homemade - and percussion, with occasional 'space vocals'. Ra himself plays lightening drum and tympani. With unfamiliar instruments in their hands, according to John Szwed, when the musicians asked what they were supposed to play, Ra told them that he'd point at them when he wanted them to start; he also said it was 'a study in ignorance'. This record stands on the outer fringes of the Arkestra's oeuvre, and more or less anyone else's. Recorded hot, with selective applications of reverb, it is also a study in pure sound. Out of print forever, it was one of the few Saturn releases we could never get from Ra back in the days when Recommended was more or less the sole source of Saturn records in the UK, and probably Europe. Meanwhile it has acquired mythical status...Nicely packaged and with an extra unreleased, track - door squeak, made in NY in 1967 which is a duet for door squeak (played by Ra) and various strings. Altogether a very important record. Excellent close listening and informative notes by Hal Rammel. Indispensible.