"This is my first Sun Ra record, not to mention of the few jazz records I have ever bought, so I'm hardly an afficionado. But I must say that the grooves and melodies contained within this record are surprisingly modern-sounding, and remind me at times of bands such as Stereolab. What's also surprising is that most of these songs are less than 5 minutes, but are all the more memorable for it."Bassism" is a great opener. It starts out in a very "traditional" vein, with a jumpy horn line that is then interrupted by a short flute burst, and then the song breaks down into a funkier groove, reminding me very much of the music that would do well in a "Swingers" type movie. And it all feels like it was written for today, not 40 years ago.From there, the album continues along the same road until "The Beginning," which is sparse and experimental-sounding. I can only assume that people might have been taken aback by this in 1961. "New Day" is very sparse and percussion-focused, and features an otherworldly flute solo. "Tapestry from an Asteroid" is a very moving piece, and one can see the significance of its title. It has a real slow groove and melody, which sounds like music you might hear in a Humphrey Bogart movie, only there is something strangely subversive about it. That really sums up this album: it's traditional elements are used successfully as a springboard to create a very futuristic atmosphere -- a good blend of the familiar and the unfamiliar."
The amazing Sun Ra
aema leunitik | Seattle, WA USA | 04/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sun Ra is an amazing artist with a lot of material. This album was the first I ever heard from Ra. He is amazing. The harmonies and rhythms played by Ra are magnificent. I don't have a lot of Ra's album and therefore cannot make a comparison between this and his other work, but this album is awesome and that is all I have to say...."
Mark D. Shook | 07/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I've admittedly only heard a handful of Sun Ra's records (and it is quite a discography to sink your teeth into), this is by far my favorite, and probably would be one of my top-10 desert island picks.
Stylistically there's so much going on in this record. Obviously swing, bop, and free-jazz elements are ever present, but there are also hints of Latin, World, and even 20th century chamber music heard here. There's even a close to traditional-sounding ballad, "Tapestry From An Asteroid", and a standard (of sorts), "China Gates," as made famous by Nat King Cole from the movie of the same name.
I think the music perfectly matches the outerspace/mythological imagery that Sun's band was projecting. At certain points, you can't imagine that the sounds you're hearing could be made by earthlings.
I would definitely recommend "Futuristic Sounds Of Sun Ra" as a starting point for someone wanting to get into his music. I can't say enough good things about it."
The best intro to Sun Ra I can think of.
Matthew Norman | seattle wa usa | 11/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"like the reviewer before, this was was my first Sun Ra encounter, man was I blown away, and it was also probably the perfect intro album to get me started with my love affair for Sun Ra..... This tasty album is so becoming of that classic Ra ability to put you in that other space and breath in those rare particles.
The Arkestra is in full tilt and swinging beautifully through these pieces. the first cut "Bassism" is my fav on the album, sticky soul groove and 3rd stream strut, the Eire and haunting "China Gates" sung by Rick Murray is like something out of an exotic 1920's silent movie with those fake Hollywood palm trees, you get a real sense of where the Arkestra is going to be headed in the years to come but this album and at this time some of Sun Ra's more "out" ideas hadn't been fully conceptualized. over all this is a brilliant show case of Sun Ra and the Arkestra's early repertoire. a perfect fit to introduce anyone unfamiliar into the awesome sound world of Sun Ra."