ScienSonic Laboratories releases historic large ensemble recording, made on the 50th anniversary of Sun Ra's classic Heliocentric Worlds
The Heliosonic Tone-tette featuring Sun Ra Arkestra members Marshall Allen and Danny Ray Thompson plus Scott Robinson, Philip Harper, Frank Lacy, Tim Newman, Pat O'Leary, JD Parran, Yosvany Terry and Matt Wilson
Now, fifty years later, ScienSonic Laboratories has created Heliosonic Toneways, Vol. 1, an historic new recording in the intrepid spirit of the original Heliocentric Worlds. On April 20, 2015, original participant Marshall Allen (now 93 and still highly active as leader of the Arkestra) and longtime Arkestra member Danny Thompson joined an incredible cast of some of New York's most creative musicians at the behest of ScienSonic's founder, multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson.
Along with trombonist Frank Lacy, trumpeter Philip Harper, bassist Pat O'Leary, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, bass trombonist Tim Newman, drummer Matt Wilson and bass clarinetist JD Parran, Robinson and the Arkestra vets reentered the orbit of that landmark recording created a half-century earlier.
One of the unique facets of Heliocentric Worlds was the album's use of an expanded palette unprecedented in even the most experimental jazz, incorporating such unusual instruments as timpani, piccolo, and the haunting bass marimba. Some months later, Volume Two followed with the addition of chromatic sets of "tuned bongos" and the eerie, electronic Clavioline. The distinctive aural environment of these two recordings, along with an offbeat musical methodology which blurs the lines between composition and improvisation, makes for utterly singular music which truly lives up to the admonition on the back of the original LP jackets: "YOU NEVER HEARD SUCH SOUNDS IN YOUR LIFE."
Robinson's ScienSonic Laboratories was the most fitting locale in which to record these extraordinary sessions; his converted garage houses one of the world's most extensive collections of obscure musical instruments, the fruits of years spent combing flea markets and junk shops. Among the lab's treasures is the original bass marimba that Sun Ra played on Heliocentric Worlds, heard here in the hands of Scott Robinson and Marshall Allen himself.
The results include Marshall Allen's first-ever recordings on piano and bass marimba, in addition to his customary alto sax and EVI. It was captured in a marathon session, resulting in enough material for two releases - look out for Volume Two in 2018. Despite many setbacks including pouring rain, technical difficulties, and long delays in the mixing process, the results of this massive effort can finally be heard.
This is startling and unforgettable music, captured with extraordinary clarity and sonic detail - music that could only have taken place at ScienSonic Laboratories, with these musicians, these sounds. This is music that takes you somewhere... somewhere utterly unfamiliar, yet strangely inviting. Or, as Sun Ra used to say, "Somewhere there." From an audiophile standpoint, Alderson calls it "the best recording I have ever made." And while it is unlike any other Laboratory production to date, this music certainly lives up to the ScienSonic motto, "Worlds of Tomorrow Through Sound."
Please visit www.sciensonic.net to learn more about our previous releases with Julian Thayer, Marshall Allen, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Grimes and more. Become a Laboratory Member!