Record Label: Strut
Strut follow up their hugely successful Marshall Allen-curated ‘In The Orbit Of Ra’ compilation with a newly curated set from the immense 125 LP back catalogue of jazz maverick, DIY philosopher and self-professed member of an “angel race”, Sun Ra. ‘To Those Of Earth... And Other Worlds’ is a hand-picked selection from BBC 6 Music DJ Gilles Peterson, long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts. Sun Ra was a one-off in the annals of jazz. As author Robert L. Campbell describes, “He claimed to be the last of the swing band leaders, yet dosed classic songs with LSD. He wrote poetry about the “coming space age” and claimed to be a citizen of Saturn. He dressed himself and his band in goldlame and lectured on the Creator ’s message to the cruel and deceitful Earthman. He named himself after an Egyptian God. Was this guy for real? Sun Ra was very much for real.”
For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra’s work. Alongside the familiar tones of ‘Love In Outer Space’, the modal classic ‘Sleeping Beauty ’ and a heavy version of ‘We Travel The Spaceways’, he brings in the off-kilter croon of ‘Dreaming’, a 45 given to him personally by the late John Peel, alongside an unreleased 1987 bossa take on ‘Astro Black’, the experimental dub ambience of ‘Adventure-Equation’ and the defiant anthem, ‘Blackman’.
The 2LP features full length versions of selected tracks from the mix while the digital version features a full unmixed selection with Peterson’s mixavailable within the album bundle. Sleeve notes on physical formats come from Gilles Peterson with a full Ra career biography by author Robert L. Campbell. The album also features previously unseen photos from the archives of Val Wilmer and Jorg Brecker alongside full musician line-ups and session details.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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