One of the key but underappreciated episodes in avant-garde jazz, Sun Ra's Atlantis sounds far out even today. Rather than a full-on assault on the senses, Atlantis is an exercise in build-up, with long, almost forlorn pas... more »sages of Ra on electric keyboards setting a vast echo chamber for his Arkestra to spring forth within. Captured during one of the most adventurous periods for Sun Ra, *Atlantis* features the orchestral perfection of the best big bands of the century-and then proceeds towards mutirhythmic explosions of intensity, all of it couched in Sun Ra's mixture of interglactic mysticism and heaping doses of experiments in tone, tempo, and texture. --Andrew Bartlett« less
One of the key but underappreciated episodes in avant-garde jazz, Sun Ra's Atlantis sounds far out even today. Rather than a full-on assault on the senses, Atlantis is an exercise in build-up, with long, almost forlorn passages of Ra on electric keyboards setting a vast echo chamber for his Arkestra to spring forth within. Captured during one of the most adventurous periods for Sun Ra, *Atlantis* features the orchestral perfection of the best big bands of the century-and then proceeds towards mutirhythmic explosions of intensity, all of it couched in Sun Ra's mixture of interglactic mysticism and heaping doses of experiments in tone, tempo, and texture. --Andrew Bartlett
"The first five tracks are fairly tame, short pieces for organ and percussion, primarily, leaving the listener utterly unprepared for the twenty-minute apocalypse that is the title track, wherein an eerie depth charge (or is it an alarm signal?) leads you on your descent into the Maelstrom. An absolutely manic organ solo grabs your body and smashes it against the ocean floor repeatedly as the world splits apart. The fainter of heart will eject the CD at this point rather than drown; the brave ones will grit their teeth or go limp and ultimately be elevated. You slowly emerge to unearthly (heavenly?) brass tones and finally drift off almost peacefully, agreeing with the voices that chant "Sun Ra/ And his band/ from Outer Space/ Have entertained you here." Too much!"
Scott McFarland | Manassas, VA United States | 10/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Side 1 sounds to me like Thelonious Monk on a clavinet somewhere on a moon of the planet Saturn, jamming with African drummers. It is unique music and very worthwhile in my opinion. Ra is on clavoline (it sounds a bit like an electric guitar) alongside several drummers and minimal bits of jazz horn playing. It foreshadows Ra's "discipline" series of compositions, which required players to work around rigid linear themes, but this particular set of jams is unique in atmosphere and concept.Side 2 is a scarifying live performance (recorded at Olutjuni (sic)'s Culture Center in NYC in 1967) featuring Ra's organ playing as if in accompaniment to a horror movie. It's interesting, but Side 1 is what makes this release especially worthwhile."
This guy *was* from another planet!
Scott McFarland | 06/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album has two halves: the first consists of 5 excellent short pieces involving Sun Ra, horns and percussion. Some of them are almost funky, a foreshadowing of the stuff Miles Davis would be doing within a few years.The second half, and indeed the highlight of the album, is the title suite. Ra goes mad on the his "Solar Sound Organ", providing a highly dissonant solo that builds into an intense climax. (Think Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets" without all the catchy bits) Then some manic big-band playing enters, and the last minute of the suite presents a neat surprise.This album is highly recommended to adventurous music listeners. It will appeal primarily to free jazz types, though some space rock fans will like too. Beware that the sound quality is extremely poor: sound is muffled, and during the title suite you can hear footsteps and voices in the background."
Overated but good
Chet Fakir | DC | 06/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Certainly there is some very good music on this album, but I've always thought this album was overated. The shorter pieces suffer from a lack of cohesiveness and ramble on a bit in a laid back, offhand way. They don't really go anywhere. The long centerpiece composition "Atlantis" is for the most part an organ workout for Ra and is by turns extremely aggressive, spacey and ultimately exhausting. There are some great passages but its just too long. I would recommend "The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Vol. 1", or the truly magical "Magic City" or "Other Planes of There" before Atlantis. Those albums all contain long compositions that are more rewarding. Heliocentric Worlds is comprised of smaller pieces that flow into one another creating in effect one long suite. I'm not saying Atlantis isn't worth having because it is, just that there are better Sun Ra albums out there that you might want to pick up first."
Sun Ra and the Forgotten World
Gary Gomes | 07/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In early 1973 I had the rare and unique privilege of seeing and interviewing Sun Ra before I had a chance to seriously sample his significant recorded output. Both the show and the interview were remarkable spectacles. Sun Ra was one of the most unique and creative individuals of the twentieth century.This CD underscores his creative abilities. The title track, which starts off with a long organ improvisation, is one of Ra's greatest keyboard solos--an exploration into the depths, if you will, and along with the German Free Jazz Donaueshingen sessions, his Montreaux LP on Inner city, and the recent Kahoutek comet concert CD, among his finest works, and a great place to start.I will never forget the joy of a Ra performance. This CD comes very close to capturing that spirit. Gary Gomes GomesCrystalx@aol.com"