Sun Ra albums by the intergalactic ship-load get remastered, and iTunes is the place!

Sun Ra albums by the intergalactic ship-load get remastered, and iTunes is the place!

Whoa, apparently last week marked the 100th birthday (or… at least, the 100th anniversary of his arrival on planet Earth) of far-out alien free jazz arkestra leader known to the Earth-tongue as Sun Ra. And if you just so happened to be sitting there wondering what to get for that interstellar astro-man in your life who’s already got it all, be advised that the Sun Ra Music Archive (yes, that’s a thing) has chosen to mark the occasion by embarking on an “extensive and exclusive Mastered for iTunes reissue program.”

Sweet! Wait, what does that mean? Welp, basically, the standard format for CD mastering right now is 16-bit, but these masters started with the original 24-bit transfers from the analog master tapes to ensure that the audio fidelity more closely resembles what it actually sounded like coming off of whatever space-age mixing desk Sun Ra was sitting in front of when he cooked these things up. If you’re still confused about bits and stuff, you can read more about the format here. But truly, it doesn’t matter. Just know that it’s better and you’re a Philistine if you can’t hear the difference.

Anyhow, Sun Ra’s catalog is, like outer space itself, impossibly huge (he independently released hundreds of albums throughout his career in small runs, ya know). But for now, a total of 21 albums have been made available on this far-out format, via the Enterplanetary Koncepts label. And even if “24 bits” means jack to you, these reissues include tons of ancillary shit to make their digital purchase worth your while, including “material culled from session and rehearsal tapes, and production and album masters,” as well as a “significant amount of previously unreleased material, some stereo mixes of tracks previously available only in mono, and complete versions of tracks which had been edited for the original LPs.”

Each release also comes with its very own shiny PDF booklet, which have all been “researched and written by [Irwin] Chusid (author of Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music)” and give some background on the story behind each record “without arcane technical details.” Sweet! Collectors of expanded-edition reissues HATE pouring over minutiae!

Currently available in the iTunes Store from Enterplanetary Koncepts:

Supersonic Jazz (1957)
Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth (1958)
Angels and Demons At Play (1965)
Interstellar Low Ways (1966)
Jazz in Silhouette (1959)
Nubians of Plutonia (1966)
Sound Sun Pleasure (1970)
We Travel the Spaceways (1967)
Fate in a Pleasant Mood (1965)
Holiday for Soul Dance (1970)
Bad and Beautiful (1972)
The Invisible Shield (1974)
When Sun Comes Out (1963)
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy (1967)
Monorails and Satellites, Vol. 1 (1968)
Other Planes of There (1966)
The Magic City (1966)
Strange Strings (1967)
Atlantis (1969)
Astro Black (1972)
Universe in Blue (1972)

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