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For this album, Sun Ra collected an arsenal of exotic string instruments and handed them out to his Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play or tune these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra framed it "a study in ignorance." The result was primitive, yet sophisticated; brutal, yet highly sensitive. In his essay for this expanded edition of the 1967 Saturn LP, musician-curator David Toop calls Strange Strings "saturated in mystery."Fans of Sun Ra's Space Bop and genre-bending jazz were in for a shock with Strange Strings. Even in the eclectic and sometimes baffling Sun Ra catalog, Strange Strings is an outlier. It's primitive, it's sophisticated, but it's not a gradient of either. It's brutal, yet highly sensitive. Is it music, or just noise? Or noise as music? John Cage could not be reached for comment.Ra had accumulated an arsenal of exotic string instruments from curio shops and music stores. At his makeshift rehearsal/recording space (Sun Studio = Ra's apartment at 48 East 3rd Street), these artifacts were handed out to members of the Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra termed it "a study in ignorance." To this unconventional "string section" he added a few sonic oddities, including a large piece of tempered sheet metal on which was chiseled the letter "X." The band's "space vocalist" Art Jenkins rounded out the ensemble.The original 1967 Saturn LP version of Strange Strings was monophonic, contained three tracks, and suffered distortion in the mastering (perhaps due to the high-decibel studio performance and excessive reverb). Yet some sessions were captured in stereo. A dozen strange-string works have been located, five of which are included on this remastered edition. (The others have been released on other labels; see discography inside gatefold.) No track titles appeared on the original Saturn LP verso, but the three works issued were later identified as "World's Approaching," the LP title track, and an inversion of the title, "Strings Strange." A belatedly discovered tape box listed the third recording as "Strange Strange," a title which has been used in this edition.
For this album, Sun Ra collected an arsenal of exotic string instruments and handed them out to his Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play or tune these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra framed it "a study in ignorance." The result was primitive, yet sophisticated; brutal, yet highly sensitive. In his essay for this expanded edition of the 1967 Saturn LP, musician-curator David Toop calls Strange Strings "saturated in mystery."Fans of Sun Ra's Space Bop and genre-bending jazz were in for a shock with Strange Strings. Even in the eclectic and sometimes baffling Sun Ra catalog, Strange Strings is an outlier. It's primitive, it's sophisticated, but it's not a gradient of either. It's brutal, yet highly sensitive. Is it music, or just noise? Or noise as music? John Cage could not be reached for comment.Ra had accumulated an arsenal of exotic string instruments from curio shops and music stores. At his makeshift rehearsal/recording space (Sun Studio = Ra's apartment at 48 East 3rd Street), these artifacts were handed out to members of the Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra termed it "a study in ignorance." To this unconventional "string section" he added a few sonic oddities, including a large piece of tempered sheet metal on which was chiseled the letter "X." The band's "space vocalist" Art Jenkins rounded out the ensemble.The original 1967 Saturn LP version of Strange Strings was monophonic, contained three tracks, and suffered distortion in the mastering (perhaps due to the high-decibel studio performance and excessive reverb). Yet some sessions were captured in stereo. A dozen strange-string works have been located, five of which are included on this remastered edition. (The others have been released on other labels; see discography inside gatefold.) No track titles appeared on the original Saturn LP verso, but the three works issued were later identified as "World's Approaching," the LP title track, and an inversion of the title, "Strings Strange." A belatedly discovered tape box listed the third recording as "Strange Strange," a title which has been used in this edition.
881626806722
Strange Strings (Expanded Edition)
Artist: Sun Ra / Astro Infinity Arkestra
Format: CD
New: Available $13.98
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Formats and Editions

DISC: 1

1. World's Approaching (Stereo)
2. Strange Strings (Mono)
3. Strange Strange (Mono)
4. Crystal Spheres (Between Worlds) (Stereo)
5. Cosmos Miraculous (Mono)
6. Untitled St. Peter's (Stereo)
7. Ra Explains the Bandura (Mono)

More Info:

For this album, Sun Ra collected an arsenal of exotic string instruments and handed them out to his Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play or tune these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra framed it "a study in ignorance." The result was primitive, yet sophisticated; brutal, yet highly sensitive. In his essay for this expanded edition of the 1967 Saturn LP, musician-curator David Toop calls Strange Strings "saturated in mystery."Fans of Sun Ra's Space Bop and genre-bending jazz were in for a shock with Strange Strings. Even in the eclectic and sometimes baffling Sun Ra catalog, Strange Strings is an outlier. It's primitive, it's sophisticated, but it's not a gradient of either. It's brutal, yet highly sensitive. Is it music, or just noise? Or noise as music? John Cage could not be reached for comment.Ra had accumulated an arsenal of exotic string instruments from curio shops and music stores. At his makeshift rehearsal/recording space (Sun Studio = Ra's apartment at 48 East 3rd Street), these artifacts were handed out to members of the Arkestra on the precept that "strings could touch people in a special way." That the Arkestrans didn't know how to play these instruments was not beside the point-it was the point. Ra termed it "a study in ignorance." To this unconventional "string section" he added a few sonic oddities, including a large piece of tempered sheet metal on which was chiseled the letter "X." The band's "space vocalist" Art Jenkins rounded out the ensemble.The original 1967 Saturn LP version of Strange Strings was monophonic, contained three tracks, and suffered distortion in the mastering (perhaps due to the high-decibel studio performance and excessive reverb). Yet some sessions were captured in stereo. A dozen strange-string works have been located, five of which are included on this remastered edition. (The others have been released on other labels; see discography inside gatefold.) No track titles appeared on the original Saturn LP verso, but the three works issued were later identified as "World's Approaching," the LP title track, and an inversion of the title, "Strings Strange." A belatedly discovered tape box listed the third recording as "Strange Strange," a title which has been used in this edition.
        
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