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Angels & Demons / Nubians of Plutonia

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 25, 1993
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Tiny Pyramids
  2. Between Two Worlds
  3. Music From The World Tomorrow
  4. Angels And Demons At Play
  5. Urnack
  6. Medicine For A Nightmare
  7. A Call For All Demons
  8. Demon's Lullaby
  9. Plutonian Nights
  10. The Golden Lady
  11. Star Time
  12. Nubia
  13. Africa
  14. Watusa
  15. Aiethopia


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 25, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Evidence
  • ASIN: B0000014KH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,555 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ed Luhrs on March 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great place to start if you're discovering Sun Ra. Another album I'd strongly suggest is "Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth/Interstellar Low Ways."

Sun Ra has made a huge number of recordings with his Arkestra... His albums range from adventurous to downright insane. This particular album and the other one I mentioned contain a very pleasing balance of all the things that make Sun Ra so much fun: the big band, the swing, the rumba, the wild orchestrations and rhythms, the improvisations, and the overall "interplanetary funksmanship" of which George Clinton once sang.

My first Sun Ra album was actually a wild one: "Other Planes of There." I really like it, along with another adventurous title "Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy/Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow." There are a number of these wilder examples of free jazz in his catalogue, and there are also more conventional albums.

My recommendation is to begin with the more conventional albums, because they offer plenty of fun insanity to begin with. "Angels & Demons at Play/The Nubians of Plutonia" is a particular favorite of mine. If you can get a hold of a copy, check it out!
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Format: Audio CD
"Angels and Demons" is a short 8-song collection (more an "EP" than an "LP") that shows Ra's Chicago-era Arkestra doing some of their best work, moving from colorful big-band music (tracks 5-8) to more idiosynchratic music that reflected Ra's belief is cosmology (tracks 1-4).
"Nubians" is a heavily percussive LP that influenced Coltrane among others. The recording quality on it varies from good to so-so. There are some wonderful compositions on it and many lengthy moments of drum-fueled ambience - "global trance" - that sound contemporary today, and were extraordinary for the late 1950's.
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Format: Audio CD
I love albums by performers who are in the midst of transitions. Think about the Beatles albums: Rubber Soul and Revolver. They were in the midst of the transiton that freed up their playing, yet they were still remained connected to their roots. That is what Angels and Nubians is like in the Sun Ra catalogue. It is suspended in the middle of a big change of direction from a tighter big band sound to free jazz. It is very complex in mood and is really groovy to boot. A great intro to Sun Ra.
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Format: Audio CD
Unlike most of the other reviews, this review is written from the perspective of a relative newcomer to Sun Ra's music who is not a newcomer to jazz. About ten years ago when I began getting into jazz, I heard a snippet of Sun Ra's music that was some of the most raucous and chaotic noise I had ever heard. At that point, I basically wrote Sun Ra off as anyone I would ever want to listen to again. Ten years and thousands of jazz albums later, I have finally returned to Ra in search of new and interesting sounds. I was only disturbed to find out what I had been missing all these years!

As, it seems, with many of Sun Ra's cds released by Evidence, this cd combines two LPs. The first, Angels and Demons at Play, combines some really haunting piano by Sun Ra with some incredible saxophone solos by John Gilmore. There are a lot of spots in which the band plays together as a unit or plays a series of alternating lines in response to one another. The harmonies and general playing of the band simultaneously convey an odd sense of spookiness with a feeling of real excitement about the music. Considering the primitive equipment on which this was recorded, the sound is very good.

The Nubians of Plutonia combines, as the title suggests, complex African rhythms with the spacey melodies characterisitc of the Arkestra. Though the recording quality dulls the drumming somewhat (it is better on some tunes than others), the rhythms drive the other players to creative heights that exceed those on Angels and Demons, creating an unexpected combination of earthiness and spaceyness. As a newbie to Ra, this album--which is not nearly as free or dissonant as a lot of his other music--is highly recommended, especially to those who are already jazz fans and in search of new and creative sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
This was one of my favorite albums in high school & I would play it while playing video games, & it would create a soundtrack to them of it's own (it was on vinyl & didn't include "Nubians of Plutonia" so this review deals with "Angels & Demons at Play". This is a very good introduction to the world of Sun Ra, if you are looking for a starting place in his massive & sometimes confusing discography. Side 1 contains material recording in 1960 & while jazz was moving into the avant-garde by this time already, it is rather remarkable to consider how far ahead of the time Sun Ra was in this respect. It would be hard to find another jazz ensemble in 1960 doing anything like "Music For the World Tomorrow", which is dissonant & futuristic, yet not chaotic. "Tiny Pyramids" is a rhythmic Egyptian style tune with a motif that is memorable, sandwiched between some fluent drum & flute improvisations. The other 2 on side 1, "Between Two Worlds" & the title track seem like cousins, in that they are both rhythmic to the point of being hypnotic, but not repetitive or boring.

Side 2 deals with material from 1956 & this also is rather advanced for it's time. It is what would be called "hard bop" for it's time, hinting at the experimental things that were to come. You could think of it almost in a crude way as "Duke Ellington on acid", although Ra likely never indulged in such substances, but the illustration is still apt. Listen to "Urnack" written by trombonist Julian Priester for an example- although the melodies still (somewhat) conform to traditional harmony, their onstruction is rather winding & abstract & the tempos are past what would qualify as 'dance music'.
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