After reigniting its seven-decade career in 2020 with Swirling, Sun Ra Arkestra is back with another new studio album, Living Sky, out on October 7th via Omni Sound. Led by 98-year-old Marshall Allen, who took over the group after leader Sun Ra‘s death in 1993, Sun Ra Arkestra previewed the LP with the lead single, “Somebody Else’s Idea”.
Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia in a single day on June 15th, 2021, Living Sky features 19 musicians including a string section. The album was commissioned by Ahmet Ulug, whose history with the Arkestra dates back to the 1980s when he saw the group in Philadelphia and New York and into the next decade when he promoted the group’s 1990 Istanbul show. After briefly retiring from the music industry, Ulug returned to found Omni Sound, inspired by a note Ra left him during the trip to Istanbul, “Omniverse is the totality of all universes and you are welcome to be citizens of Omniverse.”
Ulug reached out to Allen last year to commission the new album, requesting music “Spiritual and hypnotic and to that effect down tempo, melodic and grooving…….from the kora to EVI; ancient to the future. Music that is accessible and healing in the Covid era.”
The album’s lead single is an instrumental re-imagining of “Somebody Else’s Idea”, originally recorded in 1955 and again in 1970 for a proper release on 1971’s My Brother The Wind, Vol II. In the absence of vocals, the composition becomes a regal trance that marches along its 6:21 minute runtime.
“’Somebody Else’s Idea’ is an affirmation that the world I live in is a world that I can change,” says baritone saxophonist Knoel Scott. “The first part of change is not accepting the status, the so called status quo, in rejecting the status quo, I free myself to the possibilities which range amongst the infinite. It is our desire. There are those who listen to our music also embrace the possibilities which range beyond the limits of the impossible.”
Listen to “Somebody Else’s Idea”, the lead single from the forthcoming Sun Ra Arkestra album Living Sky, and click here to pre-order the album.
Sun Ra Arkestra – “Somebody Else’s Idea”
Living Sky Tracklist
1. Chopin (Frédéric Chopin)
2. Somebody Else’s Idea (Sun Ra)
3. Day of the Living Sky (Marshall Allen)
4. Marshall’s Groove (Marshall Allen)
5. Night of the Living Sky (Sun Ra)
6. Firefly (Marshall Allen)
7. Wish Upon A Star (Leigh Harline)