November 22, 2017

Sun Ra - My Brother The Wind (1969)

My Brother The Wind is one of Sun Ra's most intensely progressive showcases and until recently, one of his most obscure sessions. This album was never released as part of Evidence's extensive effort to transfer all of Sonny's material to CD in the 1990s, which limited it to only a handful of vinyl reissues. Thankfully, a new label project called Cosmic Myth Records (built around the more-or-less official Sun Ra archivist/historian Michael Anderson) has begun its own series of reissues. As of now, only My Brother The Wind and The Magic City have been physically reissued by the label, but if you see a copy of either of these, go ahead and grab them because the sound quality is phenomenal, the liner booklet is interesting, and the bonus material is delivered well. This album marks one of Sun Ra's occasional trips to the studio, so the quality is--by default--better than many of his other avant-garde Saturn Research sessions. Still, I can hear that the minimal remastering process is well-done and tasteful compared to much of the over-zealous mastering heard on the 90s Evidence discs.

The date is notorious as Sun Ra's earliest use of a moog synthesizer(s), an instrument that truly takes his music to other futuristic and cosmic lands. In fact, he was called upon by Robert Moog himself to test out the minimoog prototype before its official release in 1970. My Brother The Wind is the result of this request, but I'm not sure if you could really call this a test run for Sun Ra. The music follows a coherent and natural cycle from minimal portions to full-on noise freakouts and proves to be one of the deepest and most wholesome avant-garde jazz sessions in existence. What's funny is that many of Sun Ra's cosmos-inspired album titles are assigned to dates that don't have all that much in common with outer space. Similarly, the title My Brother The Wind doesn't let on just how time-leaping and intergalactic its tracks feel. Despite its futuristic and digital feel, these songs help me find my way to a very comfortable state of mind where my imagination is given a fresh set of lives. I've uploaded the full reissue since it includes a good remaster of a rare and esoteric 17 minute moog piece entitled Space Probe and a freakishly awesome moog single (from this same session) called The Perfect Man. You'll see that I denoted the original album tracks with an asterisk.

Another Sample

My Brother The Wind [reissued as My Brother The Wind, Vol. 1]