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Intrinsic energies of mythic worlds! Pathways was originally issued on LP in 1975 as part of Sun Ra’s ill-fated and short-lived ABC/Impulse! partnership. This Modern Harmonic edition has been exquisitely mastered from the four-track session reel. The Impulse! LP was formatted as “Quad Compatible”—short for “quadraphonic”—which you could enjoy if you had four speakers, a custom quad cartridge/stylus, and a quad decoder integrated into your ’70s hi-fi. (None of this technology ever achieved wide consumer acceptance. “Back to Stereo,” if you call that progress.) Ra’s original LP liner notes expressed his disdain for the past and his vision towards the future. But the future here rendered by Ra seems more dystopian than utopian. Imagine this album as an aural Science Fiction novel, analogous to the contemporaneous writings of Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Samuel R. Delany, and others who dwelled in unknown worlds where confusion and chaos often reign. A cybernetical soundscape for time travel through an inscrutable cosmos.
These 1975 guided improvisations are imbued with an underlying violence, alternate twists, bank turns, headchoppers, loops, rolls, sidewinders and drops. It’s a dark & glorious journey, and features the debut of the complete version of “Extension Out”!