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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Büttner has posted a promo clip on YouTube filmed during the recording. Watch it below: