Wish I can say I was relaxing at home when I heard this piece of music on the radio. Perhaps, simultaneously enjoying a single malt or pipe in front of a crackling fireplace on a cold winter night. But I wasn’t. I was at the office trying to finish 2 dozen things at once and, to top top it off, I ran out of coffee beans.
Things were not looking up, until I clicked on my Fisher 101-R Mono Tube Tuner from 1959. I was casually spinning through the stations, eyeing the fluttering strength meter emit its welcoming glow. Fisher marketed it as ‘Micro Ray Tuning’. Perhaps Avery Fisher was inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still which was in the theaters, just 8 years prior to this tuner being produced. It’s really just a tube based signal strength indicator. Whatever you call it, it’s cool. More green, better sound.
Then it happened. I locked onto a station at the moment the DJ dropped down the stylus onto the vinyl record in the lead in groove. This, admittedly, doesn’t happen much now a days at radio stations. Listening to a seemingly uncompressed FM broadcast, received on a vintage tube tuner, was the icing on the cake. It was a local college station that was all the way left of the dial. Unfortunately, I am forgetting the station and I will have to amend this once I remember.
In any event, I live for serendipitous moments such as this and was stopped dead in my tracks by the inspiring track I was experiencing. Sitting transfixed on the arm of my listening chair I was, ironically, awaiting the end of the song to hear the station announce the artist and track title.
Unbeknownst to me at the time the station was playing a track called ‘Springtime Again’ which, for me, transcended both time and space. This track was off the Sun Ra album ‘Sleeping Beauty’ which was released in 1979 and is unlike any other Sun Ra album I have experienced. It ebbs and flows with gentle restraint, beauty, subtle moodiness and multi-instrumental layered complexity. Yet, at the same time, has a funky groove due to the electric piano, vibraphone and organ. Think Duke Ellington meets Disco, for a broad descriptive brush stroke. Very different compared to Sun Ra albums of this time period. Twenty-seven musicians, playing everything from electric guitar, tenor sax, flute, french Horn, bassoon and big weighty electric bass, weave through time and space creating a complex album of enjoyable textures.
That was three weeks ago. After scoping the net to find a vinyl pressing, I finally found a reissue from Art Yard [UK Art Yard LP003], from Music Stack. This is one killer album all around, with excellent pressing quality and artwork. Basically, Music Stack allows a super convenient portal to look into the stock of thousands of websites around the world who may have rare and out of print vinyl (or CD’s). This LP was sourced from a seller in New Zealand, for example.
Have you had a musical experience, that made you stop, sit up, and listen? Basically caused you to feverishly seek that particular song? Where do you normally hear about new (relative term, of course) and exciting music?