Sun Ra
The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol 1



by Phil USER (16 Reviews)
November 15th, 2007 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1965 | Tracklist

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.

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user ratings (36)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 15th 2007


Argh, its short. Hopefully it drives the point.

November 15th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

After reading the review I understand why you dislike this album, but this came off as more of a rant then it did a review. Instead of describing the album as a whole or the separate tracks you just said that the album was "random". While most Sun Ra albums can be extremely grating and inaccessible I find that this has a very magical yet chaotic vibe that captures my attention nearly everytime I put it on.

November 15th 2007


This made me want to hear him even more, don't have a clue where to begin with him though

November 15th 2007


I find that this has a very magical yet chaotic vibe that captures my attention nearly everytime I put it on.

I agree.

don't have a clue where to begin with him though

Try Lanquidity.

November 15th 2007


Sun Ra is a tough listen. I found out that it isn't the best place to begin in Avant Garde Jazz.

November 15th 2007


this is barely even a review

November 15th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Great album.

May 6th 2008


this is definitely one of sun ra's freer albums, and if youre gonna listen to it you gotta hear it as free jazz. youve gotta feel what the disorder and chaos is conveying in particular and resist all logic to embrace them. if youre new to free jazz and the avant-garde, this isnt a great place to start. i thought this was absolute crap when i first heard it. it took me a long time to revisit this album and find some redeeming material in it.

October 15th 2008


mah ears been fuckin raped.

June 25th 2011


the beginning of this is tough to get into for me just because it's so random, but from the latter half of other words and on it's a really good album. the cosmos is amazing

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