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July 30, 2009

"Energy Control Center" - The Lightmen Plus One

I was so happy to see Energy Control Center make it to digital reissue. Thanks to Now-Again Records we can grab this album from iTunes or Amazon. I've been searching for an out of print copy since 2007, but having it in iTunes does a perfect job.

I don't know too much about these guys. The album was original issued in 1972 and has been available as a Japanese import for a quite awhile now. They do an amazing job of meshing sounds that remind us of CTI recordings with the cosmic, funky and free qualities of Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders. I guess it would be like taking the best stuff from CTI and the best stuff from Impulse and you have Energy Control Center. You can also hear how this stuff could fit in well with hip-hop or acid jazz samples

The first few cuts have more of the repetitive funk and rehearsed qualities. The best of the album is the title track. An out in space, free for all that's bold and fresh, requiring multiple re-listens. I also wonder if Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction album influenced these guys.

Leo has a huge McCoy Tyner styling. You can definitely hear Tyner's Passion Dance from his Blue Note album The Real McCoy as the base of this tune. It's an energetic blast that keeps the album just as exciting through to the final cuts. Jupiter is another cosmic-like tune containing a collective free improvisation. Providing us with heavy percussion and ambient tones before breaking into a swinging funk rhythm and melody.

Besides Bubbha Thomas as the front man, I'm having trouble finding a personnel -- and even the original label that issued this. This is the downside of digital downloads, no liner notes. If anyone has any info to share about these guys please contact me!
1972/2009 - Now-Again Records.