Boomkat Product Review:
If yr looking for a way to penetrate Sun Ra's intimidating catalog, "Lanquidity" is a succinct, precious wormhole that gives a taste of the jazz pioneer's astral weirdness without letting it overwhelm. Transformative shit, really.
Released in a tiny edition back in 1978, "Lanquidity" is Sun Ra's attempt at cultural reconciliation. It's the ultimate flex, finding the Arkestra alien absorbing contemporary pop elements (disco, funk, soul) into his canon, before spitting them out as further cosmic strings in his pan-universal bow. The playability of "Lanquidity" has given it legs: before its reissue in 2000, the album had hardly been heard, but was spoken about in hushed tones. A couple of decades later, it's an established classic, putting Sun Ra's talent into full view and quieting some of the sprawling galaxy-brain oddness that alienates some listeners.
Recorded by Philly Jazz boss Tom Buchler (who penned enlightening liner notes about the recording experience), "Lanquidity" has Sun Ra fronting a band of over fourteen players, including Marshall Allen on alto sax and John Gilmore on tenor. Intriguingly, he also ropes in not one but two guitarists, giving the album its "Bitches Brew"-adjacent fusion fuzz, but it's the overdubbing of disembodied voices and layers of Arp and Minimoog that puts these tracks into a category all of their own. The mood Sun Ra creates is truly planetary (just flick to the album's terrifyingly tripped 'There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)' for proof) and while he certainly makes concessions with his stylistic choices, the pop shell is merely a Trojan horse for his vanguard forms.