Sun Ra Music Archive Launches Centennial iTunes Reissue Program Today

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Sun Ra

May 20, 2014, marks the centennial of music legend Sun Ra’s arrival on planet Earth (he left in 1993). To commemorate the astonishing and prolific legacy of this unique artist, the Sun Ra Music Archive has embarked on an extensive and exclusive Mastered for iTunes reissue program. The Mastered for iTunes format exceeds the standard 16-bit sound quality of CDs, starting with 24-bit transfers from the analog master tapes.

The Sun Ra Mastered for iTunes releases include material culled from session and rehearsal tapes, and production and album masters. The series includes 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. Many of these tapes, and the records that were made from them, are high-quality lo-fi, having been recorded in studios, nightclubs, and ad hoc rehearsal spaces. The setup often consisted of just one or two mics, an open reel tape deck, and a primitive mixing console. The tapes reveal weird transient sounds—musicians bumping mics, a cough, dropped equipment, fingernails clicking on keyboards, accidental percussion, the studio phone ringing during a solo. These were not recorded with a Miles Davis budget in a Dave Brubeck studio. You’ve heard of “garage rock”? This is “garage jazz.” Yet with 24-bit transfers and meticulous restoration, these historic recordings have never sounded better.

Peep the catalog here.

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