Harte Recordings is proud to announce the release of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of SUN RA's Space Is The Place. This limited edition release will include a hardcover book, a DVD of the film with new producer commentary, and a CD of the soundtrack. It was forty years ago when SUN RA's galactic-sploitation epic Space Is The Place was released to theaters around the USA. For the first time, Earthlings were able to look into the reality of SUN RA; jazzman, alien, legend spaceman. Space Is The Place is a movie beyond explanation, and yet it still remains one of the craziest, psychedelic, music-powered head-twisting fest ever to hit the theaters.
Science fiction, blaxploitation, and musical elements combine in the entertaining and enlightening Space Is the Place. Like the 1972 album of the same name, this film features jazz legend Sun Ra playing around on the space organ along with June Tyson's vocal chants to create the band's unique African percussion-filled jazz improvisations. While the concert performances alone are well-documented, the strange nonlinear story is both compelling and hilarious. It's like a head movie for Black Panther politics, concluding with a live concert finale and somehow incorporating action movie elements. Sun Ra positions himself as something of a freak in '70s urban black culture, in this case as an alien who crash-lands in Oakland, CA. He sits coolly back and watches all the madness around him, playing a Seventh Seal-like game with the pimped-out Overseer (Raymond Johnson) while frantic Jimmy Rey (Christopher Brooks) tries to make sense of it all. The randomness of the narrative gives it an open-ended documentary feel, capturing the normal lives of city dwellers in sharp contrast to the freaked-out optimism of Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra. He communicates his philosophies directly by simply driving around the ghetto in crazy futuristic Egyptian pharaoh-style costumes or literally taking applications at the Outer Spaceways Employment Agency. For jazz fans and/or those looking for a good head trip, Space Is the Place offers an originality that is refreshingly humorous; it's also an added bonus that it contains some of the most vivid and experimental live performances of Sun Ra's career.
A no-budget cross between Super Fly and Star Wars.... This is... art at its most radically trippy. (A)