Alien Unity: Sun Ra and Towson-Glen Arm

Sun Ra with his homemade sun gong in Berkeley, Ca.; December 1968 (Photo ©Baron Wolman)

Sun Ra with his homemade sun gong in Berkeley, Ca.; December 1968 (Photo ©Baron Wolman)

The cosmic composer/myth-science prophet Sun Ra was Towson-Glen Arm’s main artistic influence. Though he wasn’t every TGA kid’s idol, Sun Ra commanded an unequalled level of respect and curiosity from the scene as a whole.

Born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A. May 22, 1914 (died May 30th, 1993), the artist took the Sun Ra name in the 1950’s at which time he lived and worked in Chicago. Eventually Ra relocated to New York City in the early 60’s where he stayed for about a decade before finally settling in Philadelphia, all the while releasing scores of excellent records and traveling across the world to share his message of beatific alien unity. Through his many moves and phases, audiences from all over were enchanted as Sun Ra led the perpetually evolving Arkrestra in creations of kaleidoscopic spectacle, interstellar poetry, and harmonius exotica.

Sun Ra’s ouvre was accessible yet anomolous, playful yet aggressively obtuse, moody and mysterious yet romantic and hopeful – a majestic omniform vividly reflected in Towson-Glen Arm’s protean aesthetic. Moreover, the sheer sense of adventure embodied by Sun Ra inspired the TGA kids to dive head first into the overgrowth of art’s most transcendant frontiers.


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