Artist: Sun Ra & His Arkestra
Label: Modern Harmonics
Year Of Release: 2022
Format: FLAC (tracks)
1. Prophet (16:30)
2. Infinity Excursion (1:55)
3. The Prophet At Play (6:34)
4. The Prophet Returns (12:06)
5. They Plan To Leave (8:37)
6. They’ll Come Back (5:03)
Featuring what may be his only recordings on the Prophet keyboard, these once lost performances expand the omniverse of Ra across a stellar set of lengthy cuts! All recorded in a single day and finally making their terrestrial debut!
What happens when a Prophet meets a Prophet? The answer lies within these grooves.
Amongst the hundreds of recordings issued by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, under their various guises, the majority were recorded in concert or in makeshift studios such as their early 1960s set-up at NYC’s Choreographer’s Workshop. Beyond those, roughly 22 albums were recorded at Variety Recording Studio in New York’s Times Square. However, on August 25, 1986, Sun Ra and cohorts entered Mission Control, a state-of-the-art 24-track studio north of Boston, which was teeming with electronic keyboards and otherworldly sound generators. Nestled within that arsenal was a brand-new digital ultra keyboard — the Prophet VS (“Vector Synthesizer”).
Of all the keyboards Ra played throughout his half-century career, the Prophet was one of the most sophisticated. There’s no evidence that he had played either of the instrument’s earlier incarnations, the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 and Prophet-10. Created using microprocessors, a then-new technological advance, under the auspices of engineer Dave Smith in 1978, the Prophet-5 revolutionized electronic music as the first polyphonic and, most importantly, programmable synthesizer.
Ra was intrigued by the Prophet (surely by the instrument as well as by the name). Recorded during a single day, it’s about time that these once lost performances have now been found.
It was a joy and a thrill to be sitting at the console hearing this music for the first time, especially with my fingers on the faders and knobs of the mixing desk. We watched the oxide fly off the 2″ tapes during playback, making this our one chance to digitize before they metamorphosed into dust. Welcome to the new Sun Ra album….35+ years after it was recorded. The Omniverse has expanded once again.
— Brother Cleve (1955 – 2022)