Armin Büttner, a Swiss Sun Ra collector who provided some historical information for Val Wilmer's article on Marshall Allen's experiences in postwar Paris in The Wire 363, has formed a one off label, Little Rocket, with fellow Swiss Sun Ra fan Hubi Horst to issue a new album by the current director of The Sun Ra Arkestra.
Two Stars In The Universe was recorded in Poschiavo in Switzerland during the 2012 Uncool festival, where The Arkestra performed as part of a music theatre production, Oedipus-Akhenaten. It features the saxophonist, who turns 90 in May, in a series of duets with Arkestra member Kash Killion, who plays cello, sarangi and bolong. It has been produced in an edition of 250 copies pressed on 180 gm vinyl with hand printed silkscreen covers.
The album was recorded in the living room of Cornelia Müller, who runs the Uncool festival, and according to Büttner: "Marshall and Kash played beautiful improvised music for two and a half hours without ever talking about what to play next and visibly having fun doing so. We just sat there in awe not daring to interfere or make any suggestions. Apart from choosing the tracks for release we did not do any editing or much post production. The end product is a surprisingly quiet (for Marshall that is) moody, melancholy, beautiful record of many colours.
"Besides alto saxophone and flute Marshall also plays one of those old cheap Casio keyboards. I always think he is channeling messages from Sun Ra with it. If you listen to his Casio playing on "Cosmic Blues-Life Of Two", hearing the rattling sound of its keys struck by Marshall, you'll notice that he uses the same wobbling up and down hand movements that he uses when producing the freaky alto sounds he is known for."
The album will be launched during The Arkestra's forthcoming concert in Zurich on 22 May, the 100th anniversary of Sun Ra's birth, and is available by mail order direct from the label. Email email@example.com for details. Büttner has posted a promo clip on YouTube filmed during the recording. Watch it below:
Saxophonist Charles Gayle will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award by Arts For Arts in New York, at the 19th edition of Vision festival. Gayle will also play three sets on the evening of 11 June: as a trio with Daniel Carter and Miriam Parker, as the Charles Gayle Quartet with Dave Burrell, William Parker and Michael Wimberly, and with his Vision Artist Orchestra, with a stint in the middle by poet David Henderson.
This year's Vision festival also includes performances by Mary Halvorson, Henry Grimes, Matthew Shipp, a trio of Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, and Hamid Drake, and many others, plus panel discussions on the legacy of Amiri Baraka. The festival runs 11–15 June. More details here.
After a test pressing of the only album Aphex Twin made under his Caustic Window moniker cropped up on Discogs for £13,500 recently, the forum We Are The Music Makers has successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to buy the record and release a professionally converted lossless digital version of the record to all backers.
Originally asking for $9300, the campaign quickly passed its target and at time of writing had raised over $42,000. The asking price for the record will go to the original seller, and all money above this will be split between Rephlex and Richard D James, with a portion going to charity. Everything's above board too, with Rephlex and James giving their approval to the release.
John Coltrane's 1966 Temple University Concert is to be released in September by Impulse! and Resonance. The concert, titled Offering, includes Alice Coltrane on piano and Pharoah Sanders on reeds and flute. Rashied Ali was booked to play drums but couldn't attend, so his brother Muhammad Ali, filled in. Sonny Johnson (probably) played bass, although this isn't sure, because no string bass can be heard on the audio recording. (More documentation on those details here). Some of the audience reportedly walked out at hearing a "spew of untempered and unmetered sounds".
The concert has been remastered, and will be released on 2CD and 2LP, with a 24 page booklet with liner notes, on 23 September.
Matana Roberts has been awarded a Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. The award is in its 20th year, and is aimed at risk-taking mid career musicians. It grants five chosen artists – in the categories of music film, dance, theatre and visual arts – a prize of $75,000 to spend as they see fit.
Matana Roberts appeared on the cover on The Wire 356.
Ahead of its London edition next week Denovali swingfest are giving away a free compilation which includes tracks by Anna von Hausswolff, Ulrich Schnauss, Porter Ricks, The Haxan Cloak, Thomas Köner and more.
Denovali Swingfest takes place 18–19 April at London Village Underground and Cafe Oto. Download the compilation below, and more details on the festival here.
A collection of master tapes and metal masters (called stampers and mothers) which purport to be of Sun Ra material are being auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $20,000 – currently at $26,000. The collection is from Variety Recording Studios which Sun Ra used from the 1960s to 80s. Among this batch of masters is Sun Ra with John Cage.
To repress on vinyl though, you'll need to find the same equipment used in studios between the 60s and 80s.
More details on eBay – the auction ends in eight days…
[Hat tip: Spin]
Sub Rosa is releasing a collection of David Toop's recordings. The 2CD collection, titled Mondo Black Chamber, includes all recordings made by Toop for Sub Rosa, between 1996–2003, including the albums 37th Floor Sunset and Black Chamber.
More details via Sub Rosa.
Peter Zummo's Lateral Pass, which features Arthur Russell on cello and vocals, has been released properly for the first time. The record was originally a score for the Trisha Brown Dance Company, recorded in 1985, and was remastered from the original quarter inch tapes in the summer of 2013.
Lateral Pass is out in May. More info via Foom Music.
House pioneer Frankie Knuckles has died aged 59. Knuckles learned his craft from Larry Levan, and moved to Chicago in the 1970s, pioneering early house music by re-editing soul and R&B records. In 1977 he was resident at The Warehouse, where he began experimenting with his own edits using drum machines and other sound effects. In 1982 he opened the Power Plant in Chicago, and began commercially releasing what became house classics including the legendary "Your Love". Knuckles had struggled with problems relating to bone disease and Type 2 diabetes, which resulted in a foot amputation in 2008. His final show was a set at Ministry Of Sound, two days prior to his death.