Sun Ra - Crystal Spears LPModern Harmonic
Jagged spears of crystal thrust into the brain (or is it the heart?) elicit an agonizing howl, a cry, and a scream. Thus opens Sun Ra’s 1973 adventure-mystery Crystal Spears. After a few minutes of a cathartic brawl between Minimoog and Yamaha combo organ, percussionists Atakatune and Odun enter while drummer Clifford Jarvis provides tonal textures, not rhythm, from the kit. Marshall Allen saunters in with a rather plaintive oboe, under which Ra later overdubbed (a rarity on an Arkestra recording!) a marimba. But this momentary gentleness is soon disrupted by roaring electronic keyboards over waves of rollicking marimba devilishly chattering below the fray.
Crystal Spears, intended for release in 1975 by ABC/Impulse! and assigned catalog # AS-9297, was ultimately rejected by the label. Ra and business manager Alton Abraham retained the rights, rechristened the album Crystal Clear and assigned Saturn Records catalog # 562—but never got around to issuing it. The first three tracks on this album were mastered from that tape, a 1/4-inch four-track (15 IPS) brand favored by home recording enthusiasts—and generally disfavored by pro engineers. The sessions took place at Variety Recording Studio in New York on February 3, 1973, a month before the Ark returned on March 8 to record another Impulse-rejected album, Cymbals/Symbols (also available in a remastered edition from Modern Harmonic).