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May 13, 2009

"Fate in a Pleasant Mood/When Sun Comes Out" - Sun Ra

Originally released as two separate LPs under Sun Ray’s Saturn label, Fate in a Pleasant Mood (1961)/When Sun Comes Out (1963) really allows the Myth Science Arkestra and the Astro-Infinity Arkestra breath and offers listeners a chance to really hear and understand each musician -- whether they are playing within in their own mode, or if Sun Ra is directing them.

The opening track,
The Others in Their World, is a mellow theme to set the course for the album before being followed by Space Mates, offering warm sounds of percussion and bass under a flute arrangement before Sun Ra himself closes the track with a short, yet intrinsic solo. One thing I love about Sun Ra is that his recordings sometimes come off almost like instrumental concept albums, if such things exists. Even though I am unaware of the continuing narrative being conveyed, the songs suggest a visual plot without needed verbal connotations. They contain ups, downs, climaxes, and resolutions. This is especially perceived in the third track Lights of a Satellite.

The climax clearly begins with
We Travel the Spaceways (now on the When Sun Comes Out half of the album). It’s a cosmic struggle between each player of the Arkestra; being the core of the aesthetics of the group. It’s almost like the first two thirds of the record were a build up to this culmination. It is brief, and we are left in a state of uncertainty as the loose, unbound stylings continue with Calling Planet Earth. I particularly enjoy the tenor solo over the eruption of bass and drums.Dancing Shadows is a pretty straight ahead post-bop rendering of sorts. The tonality of the bass is spot on. Not over bearing but noticeably enough to complement the drums and generate the environment for the front line to improvise over.

The plot’s struggle still continues with
The Rainmaker. This is terrific free playing that deserves multiple plays. The group collectively supports each other while knowing when to aid or stray away at the right moments. Dimensions in Time gives you the needed conclusion to allow this story to rest until another moment in the future.
1961/1963 - Saturn.