Sun Ra Arkestra detail their first new album in 20 years

Bandleader Marshall Allen calls ‘Swirling’ “beta music for a better world.”

Experimental space-jazz icons Sun Ra Arkestra will end their 20-year absence from full-length studio recordings with the release of the album Swirling later this year.

The influential ensemble announced the LP in late June with a revamped version of “Seductive Fantasy.” Now they’ve released “Angels and Demons at Play,” a jaunty seven-minute reimagination of a ’60s Sun Ra Arkestra song that offers a glimpse into the new recordings laid down at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Soundworks studio.

Swirling has been described by the group as a celebration of their late founding father Sun Ra’s legacy and includes performances from two members who have since passed, Danny Ray Thompson and Atakatune.

“We truly hope that this recording brings much joy to a planet which is so deeply in need of a spirit sound and vibration,” saxophonist Knoel Scott shared in a statement. “We hope it contributes to a change in the ominous direction of man’s journey through the cosmos.” “This new release is the Arkestra’s love offering to the world,” bandleader Marshall Allen added. “Beta music for a better world.”

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Swirling offers new arrangements of Sun Ra Arkestra classics including “Satellites are Spinning,” “Door of the Cosmos” and “Rocket No 9.” There are also brand-new tracks, “Darkness” and “Swirling,” the latter a composition by Allen.

Swirling will arrive via Strut Records on October 9. Listen to “Angels and Demons at Play” below:

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