Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Skies of America

I had a cluster of Cluster albums to listen to today - that was the plan at least, but following my last post, I wound up at Skyscraper City, an online community engaged in all things urban - architecture, urban planning, transport and so on. Well worth a visit. And as I was poring over fantastic pictures of the Chicago and the Manhattan skylines, I had the idea to dig out Ornette Coleman's 1972 third stream orchestral work Skies of America. The album has long been considered something of a misfire, or at best an oddity - the story goes that Ornette had to make some compromises to the work due to the involvement the London Symphony Orchestra, but I find that neither here nor there - I like the work for what it is, and it moves with a tidal force of power. Some passages remind me of Peter Maxwell Davies' feverish music for The Devils and Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother suite. This was a particularly hot period for Ornette - he had previously cut the Science Fiction record and had done some arrangements on Alice Coltrane's brilliant Universal Consciousness. If you haven't heard this one, be sure to check it out...

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