Scientology. Scientology is normally referred for its participant’s loony behaviour. Formed in 1953 by author L. Ron Hubbard. (Interesting fact: L. Ron Hubbard is, according to Guinness World Records, the most publicized author in the world with over 1000 works). It is these loony and controversial ideas which he created that makes Scientology an interesting religion. For example L. R Hubbard wrote about past lives on different planets as other life forms. Could this explain Sun Ra?
Sun Ra or Herman Poole Blount thought he was not born on the planet Earth, instead was from Saturn. He is reportedly known for his ‘cosmic philosophy’. However, he is more widely known for his eccentric and often random jazz pieces. It is said that he has recorded over a hundred albums.
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One was recorded in 1965. It features twelve members including him. The instruments range from tympani, trumpet, baritone, wood blocks, percussion and spiral cymbal. There seems to be no discernable song structure due to the incoherent nature of Sun Ra’s music. ‘Outer nothingness’ has the trombone, trumpet, percussions and other instruments playing in a spasmodic fashion. The flute in the beginning of ‘Other worlds’ plays out of key, however, the piano work of Sun Ra is above exceptional as it demonstrates his amazing talent. The rest of the album follows in the same theme. There are few exceptions such as the trumpet in ‘The Cosmos’ which seems have to some resemblance of a jazz tune. Throughout the album there are small elegant sections but they soon become over-ridden by the chaos.
Sun Ra seems to revel in the fact that it is experimental without boundaries. This is good in theory but his arrangements go into the realm of absurdity most of the time. Although, there are moments of brilliance but it is mainly of Sun Ra’s doing, not the other eleven members. They overlap themselves too frequently which creates a horrid atmosphere.
The lack of song structures and the random keys detracts the replay value. The randomness is grating after a while as it forces squeaky and often annoying playing. As can be heard with the overlapping of the trumpet, percussion and what seems to be a violin on ‘Of the heavenly things’. The comical nature of Sun Ra seems to be lost as it is an irritating record. His beliefs are nearly as dumbfounded as Scientology.