Sun Ra and the Outer Space Visual Communicator #MusicMonday
Sun Ra is one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th Century. New archival material has been released of Sun Ra and his Arkestra playing with the Outer Space Visual Communicator. Invented in the late 70s by Bill Sebastian, the OVC is a kind of light color organ that lets you paint with lights on an enormous structure over the band.
The completed video was not released for 37 years, as I could not tolerate the loss of dynamic range in the transition to video. The OVC worked from the scotopic range (where there isnt enough light to see color) all the way to 15,000 watts of intense colors. We staged the performances to capture this range – even covering up the exit lights in the theaters to achieve total environmental darkness. This palette was lost in the transition to video, so it was hard to look at the tapes. Eventually, I felt like we should give some hint of what it was like for people who never had the opportunity to see the live show. We had tapes of the concerts from two nights, but most of them were too degraded after all the years in storage.
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